Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Triple Marathon - the inner and the outer runner

This discussion is not a tweet. Are you able to read serious stuff and ponder? Not many people do now-a-days. It is difficult for me to focus long enough to write out my thoughts in enough detail for someone else to enjoy them.

Lots of ideas and factors went in to this 3 day journey, ending in some new understanding of myself and my higher consciousness.

Paul Brunton (philosopher) once wrote, "Every word has therefore two meanings: the external meaning, which is the objective fact or event in external experience, and the internal meaning, which is the idea of that fact or event which is formed in the mind."

This is a race report, but I'd like to focus on the internal meaning, what is in my mind. I'd like to focus on content vs form. I'm not alive on this planet to brag about how I ran 3 marathons in three days. I'm here for some spiritual activity; and everything I experience is for that activity. Don't dumb down the purpose of human life.

Sri Chinmoy taught about the inner runner and the outer runner.  Here The outer runner is what I appear to be doing: suffering through 26 hot miles, 3 days in a row. The inner runner is how I am pushing the spiritual purpose of my life forward.

Paul Brunton said in another place, "The goal towards which man is slowly travelling by successive steps is a threefold one: the fully developed environment, the fully developed intelligence, and the realized soul. The last is the best and the other two are servants of it, for he comes first to a comprehension and then to a realization of himself. ""The purpose of gathering experience (the evolutionary process) is precisely to bring such an awareness (of the realized soul)." I am wanting to express how three days of marathoning is an experience gathering activity.

For everyone, their first marathon is amazing. For me, finishing any marathon is also a journey. Every marathon has its learnings. I've now done 61 of them.

Besides Brunton and Sri Chinmoy, there is something my energy practitioner said the last time we talked. I have talked to her about my continual frustration with enlightenment. I'm frustrated because I haven't had that peak experience that so many spiritual teachers write about in their books; even though I've tried all the methodologies (short of drugs or traumatic brain injury). She discussed with me that realization of my inner essential being (realization of my soul), my quest for consciousness, is in itself The Thing. My Higher Self is The Quest Itself. This 3 day marathon journey was exactly that.

In a 3 day marathon, there is some aspect of my quest for consciousness. I want to discover That.

How difficult it is for me to pause and really dissect the inner experience. I have feelings which are hard to put into words.

Form: I completed 3 marathons in 3 days. The first took 5:59. The second took 5:54. The third took 5:27. These times are my garmin times and do not contain pit stops. They were all on the same course. Okay, done.


The inner experience is about how hard it was to get to the start of day number 3. Wow, that is the gist of it. Enlightenment is about pushing past the ego's shrieks, complaints and barriers. That takes some kind of spiritual effort.

I've been a life long runner. In 2005 or so, I learned about the Sri Chinmoy 3,100 Mile Race. In reading about this race, I learned about the self transcendence aspects of distance running. I tried to enact that possibility. Time and distance are involved; but not necessarily entertainment. Many laps are run. Laps are boring. Laps are perfect place to turn inward and listen. This 3 day marathon was on a 3 mile loop. It was a place to turn inward and listen.

In February of this year, I completed a double marathon. This made it possible to believe my dream of going on a Mainly Marathon vacation could come true. So I signed up for the Texas Threesome as a step along the way.

In the days prior to this race, I could hear my ego grumbling. I live in Houston where the main topic of conversation is traffic. My ego was grumbling about traffic on the trip home from Dallas and traffic around Houston if I left later in the day. This grumbling was bad. It was forcing me to think that maybe I would skip the third day of the race and drive home inthe middle of the night when there wouldn't be any traffic. This is the first ego barrier I had to overcome. I call it an ego barrier meaning it is something I have to spiritually get through in order to achieve conscious awareness of my soul.

Second problem was my ego questioning why I needed to do a third day at all. I mean, if two days are successful, shouldn't I skip the third day and not hurt my body? After all, I am signed up for a triple in July, why not wait until then? Why risk injury now? These fears are another ego barrier. They suggest a lack of understanding about what is going on metaphysically: ie. I hadn't had the experience yet so I didn't know what it was for. I have a habit of quitting difficulties based on my ego's yelling at me. I had to solve this problem spiritually as well.

There were other minor issues like not having enough vacation time at work but needing a day off prior to this adventure to sleep. There is the malaise which occupies every ego. It takes energy to get it out of a rut and go do something.

Day 1

I got my packet on Friday evening. At packet pickup I spoke with a woman who is older than me who finished a 300 mile race over 10 days. She got 5 stress fractures but finished the race even with the severe pain. Ever since, she has had various physical problems. But she mentioned to me she wants to go back to the 300 mile race because it was such an inspirational experience for her. At this event now, she hadn't been able to train, but still walked 5 hours on 2 days to finish 2 half marathons. I have to honor the inner runner, that deep desire this woman displayed.

These races begin at 5 am. It was warm and humid (even though I wasn't in Houston!). I planned to do all the races with 3 minutes run/2 minutes walk. The first day I spent most of the time with a cancer survivor who was finishing his 100th marathon. The survivor part is a new American idolatry; and yes, I buy into it and see the inner runner in it. But as he continued his story I became less impressed. There is some opioid use. It became clear that he had no regular workout routine other than walking marathons. He was killing his inner runner. Finally about mile 17, as I was jogging very slow and listening to his breathing, I blurted out that I thought he should talk to his doctor about that. He was gasping when I was not even near winded. I mean slow jogging for 3 minutes. After that he quit tagging along with me. After he left me, I did speed up some. This makes me wonder if he hadn't been sucking my energy.

But, I finished in my goal time of 6:03 by the course clock which includes the pit stops. All in all, a satisfactory day.

Day 2

Again we are there at 5 am. Lightening in the distance. The race director mentions that we should seek cover if the storm gets close. I don't know any runner which would make the right choice without being told. But, the storm didn't get very close and the rain didn't get hardly more than a sprinkle. I ran mostly alone until about 17 miles. Then my friend Mathew suddenly showed up. I was so happy to see him I tried to hug his sweaty body. Mathew is a 73 year old Indian. I don't know much about him but I enjoy talking to him during races.

It became hot again towards the end of the race. But even so, I had an inkling. I knew at the end of day 2 that I would be back. Despite all my ego's desire to just high tail it back to Houston in the middle of the night and not finish day 3; I knew. Very quiet was that knowing. I finished in 6:01 by the course clock which includes pit stops.

I went back to my hotel room. I realized that I had just finished 2 marathons without any real physical problems. That, in and of itself is amazing. I had no excuse about tomorrow. If I didn't do it, I'd have to make up something to tell others.

I sat there with my Paul Brunton book and tried to listen. I got some intuitive thoughts.

The first thing was to just pretend I am doing a third marathon, but not really commit. So I repaired my tape jobs, rubbed my legs with muscle rub, got my things organized.

Then came a truly monumental thought. "Why don't you let go? Why don't you let the universe worry about Houston traffic?" OMG! Why don't I? The inner experience is about the decision to let some higher consciousness worry about traffic during the drive home. It turns out, I drove home in record time. Many drivers seemed to think 87 mph was a good speed. (more about letting go below)

Next there was another mind altering thought. How would you feel about yourself as you drove past the race site on your way out of town. Wouldn't your ego immediately attack you with tons of thoughts about how stupid you are and what are you going to say to others? The mind altering thought was a decision.. A decision that a DNF (did not finish) would be better than a DNS (did not start). Check out the picture of the shirt I got at an emotional race 3 years ago. My honor was involved. My honor is totally about the inner essence of me, my quest for my higher consciousness. I actually didn't have the energy to make excuses for my sorry self. It would be much easier to run a marathon.

Day 3

Again it is warm and humid with thunder storms around. As I started the race, I realized than nothing hurt. I had no pains of any kind. So, I took off the brakes and began really running. I mean what the heck, its the last day. I kept to the 3x2s, but during the run, I was really running. I felt great! I was making great time.

As I was getting to mile 20, I thought, "You can't tell me I'm not an athlete." What an athlete, 3 days of marathons and still strong! I was in the zone. I never know how or when I'll get in the zone. But when it happens, I fly with no effort at all. I finished in 5:33 by the course clock which includes pit stops.

I had solved my ego problems with spiritual solutions. First, to let go and let something higher be in control of everything. Second to honor my integrity. These decisions tell me about my higher self. They tell me the truth of my being.

Day 3 finisher picture taken with a sweaty cell phone.

The inner experience is about how I feel now: sort of special? Awed at myself. Dis-belief that I ran so well on day 3. How maybe the three days was like being pushed through a birth canal. I was reborn. It is not that I prayed and the universe did what I wanted. It is that I let go of trying to control so I lived in harmony. The miracle was that I ended up at the starting line on the third day only to discover that I was filled with positive energy. I got to the starting line, not by self will, but by letting go. Then I felt guided all day. This is not about God but about a higher consciousness. The quest is about discovering essence not about defining God. So in letting go, I allowed higher consciousness.

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