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Sri Chinmoy was a world-renowned meditation teacher, artist, poet, author, musician and athlete who inspired countless individuals to look within.
Sri was one of the world’s most well-known and influential meditation teachers. After moving to New York City from his native India in 1964, he quickly helped bring meditation, yoga, and Eastern spirituality to the forefront of American culture. Through the years, Chinmoy inspired thousands of artists, celebrities, religious figures, and politicians. Though he passed away in 2007 at the age of 76, his message of inner contemplation and world peace lives on through his legacy.
Sri Chinmoy’s Peace Run
Sri’s Oneness-Home Peace Run, which was once known as the World Harmony Run, still attracts countless participants every year. The relay is typically biennial and scheduled to travel around the world next year, with events planned to connect numerous countries. In 2013 smaller independent runs were held, including a relay around Iceland and one around the entire continent of Australia. In October of 2013, the Peace Run will hold several events connecting a group of countries in Africa.
The impact of Chinmoy’s writings
It is quite inspiring to learn how Sri Chinmoy’s poetry has been appearing all over the web years after his death. At present, YouTube is simply flooded with fan-made videos that make use of his poetry, his wisdom, and his music. This occurrence is a true testament to the moving effect of Chinmoy’s writing.
Sri and the Olympic games
Sri was the subject of a stirring video that was used as a side event at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. This short film highlighted Chinmoy’s support of the Olympics, as he believed that the games could be used as an instrument of peace. These special competitions have the power to bring together athletes and fans from all over the world in a spirit of oneness. Few other events have such extraordinary potential to foster understanding.
Chinmoy was a renowned spiritual master from India who became famous in America for teaching meditation. In addition, he was a very accomplished poet, athlete, musician, artist, and author. This extraordinary gentleman believed that meditation, prayer, and acts of selflessness could help one to achieve spiritual enlightenment.
Organizing public events on peace
Sri Chinmoy was also well-known for organizing many public events centered on the subjects of world harmony and inner peace. These events often included concerts, races, art exhibits and group meditation.
Chinmoy’s unique view of meditation
Throughout his life, Chinmoy held a very unique view of meditation. He believed that the practice should be accessible to all individuals, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or locale. He also felt that meditation should be very dynamic. Most of his practices centered on getting past what he termed “the noise of the mind” and tapping into the spiritual heart, or the “seat of the soul”, which he believed was the source of all forms of creativity and higher capacities.
Remaining open to all religions
Sri believed that individuals from all religious backgrounds should have the opportunity to grow and achieve inner peace through the practice of meditation. Chinmoy’s teachings did not advocate any particular religious view. Instead, he taught his followers how to attain a deepened and more enlightened understanding of their own faith.
Combining Eastern and Western spirituality
In his spiritual teachings, he drew from both Eastern and Western religions and philosophies. An equal admirer of Jesus Christ and the Buddha, he learned to find commonality in faiths from around the world. For Chinmoy, yoga and meditation were not themselves religions but paths to an inner religion.
Chinmoy’s requirements for his students
Although he allowed his students to pursue any sort of religious faith that they felt drawn too, he did ask that they follow certain lifestyle rules. Chinmoy required his followers to eat a vegetarian diet and to stay away from alcohol and recreational drugs. In addition, he encouraged celibacy and to live a completely pure life in order to deepen one’s meditations and spiritual growth.
Receiving nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize
Among Sri Chinmoy’s most noteworthy achievements was receiving nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. In fact, Chinmoy’s core principles of tolerance, open-mindedness, understanding, and multiculturalism garnered quite a bit of attention from the Nobel committee.
Leading group meditations at the United Nations
In 1970, Sri was invited by the United Nations Secretary-General to lead delegates in group meditation at the UN Headquarters in New York. Chinmoy remained a life-long supporter of the United Nations, as he believed that the organization presented the best hope of ushering in global peace.
When Sri Chinmoy was 54-years-old, he began to train in weightlifting. For the next two decades he demonstrated his incredible strength in many public events. Chinmoy lifted animals and even entire groups of people in order to inspire others. By performing feats of strength for captivated audiences, he wanted to prove to the world that one is never too old to accomplish one’s dreams. In the course of his campaign of strength, he managed to lift many well-known celebrities and political figures, such as Nelson Mandela, Sting, Helen Hunt, Desmond Tutu, Roberta Flack, Yoko Ono, Sid Caesar, and Dr. Jane Goodall among others.
When Chinmoy was only a young boy, he began to compose poetry. Most of his earlier works were written in Bengali, which was his native language. As he began to develop a greater understanding of English, he soon incorporated the language into his writing. Chinmoy’s poetry was characterized by his trademark short, thoughtful lines. In many ways, his poems had more in common with aphorisms than with traditional verse. Some scholars actually believe that Chinmoy wrote as many as 120,000 short poems in his lifetime.
Sri Chinmoy was recognized for both his abstract paintings as well as his drawings which were most often of birds, which he said symbolized the freedom of the soul. The sheer volume of his artwork is unprecedented, with hundreds of thousands of paintings and drawings of birds numbering in the millions. His artwork has been featured in such notable venues as the Louvre in Paris, the United Nations in New York, the UNESCO offices in Paris, the Mall Gallery in London, John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Museum of Modern Art in St. Petersburg.
Holding the first Peace Run in New York City
In 1987, Sri held his first Peace Run in New York City. This international torch relay, which began at the World Trade Center, served to raise public awareness of the need for world peace. The first Peace Run invited the attention of countless spectators and celebrity supporters. The legendary composer Narada Michael Walden even wrote the official theme song for the event, which was recorded by the late Whitney Houston.
The health benefits of meditation
Chinmoy taught that meditation was the key to inner peace and a greater sense of spiritual enlightenment. Although millions of individuals worldwide have discovered the spiritual benefits of deep contemplation, meditation also comes with a variety of health benefits.
Lowering blood pressure
In several well-documented studies, meditation is shown to lower blood pressure. The calming effect of sitting quietly and engaging in deep, controlled breathing can slow the heart rate and help one to relax. With this in mind, any individual who takes prescription medication for hypertension may want to talk to their doctor about the benefits of practicing daily meditation.
Meditation relieves stress
One of the greatest benefits of regularly engaging in meditation is that doing so can help one to relax. Nothing can ease the mind after a long, stressful day at work like sitting quietly and thinking about absolutely nothing. In addition, meditation can also prove useful as a form of therapy. In fact, many individuals who suffer from depression, anxiety, or emotional disorders are able to achieve a sense of tranquility by meditating on a regular basis.
Chinmoy’s book Sport & Meditation
In his bestselling book entitled Sport & Meditation, Sri explains that though many top athletes thoroughly devote themselves to intense physical training, they often neglect the spiritual aspect of their sport. He describes how incorporating meditation into training and competition, an athlete can unlock hidden capacities that can both enhance performance as well as provide more satisfaction and growth in the face of both victory and defeat.
The effects of meditation on compassion
In addition to bringing about a profound sense of inner peace, meditation is also shown to make some individuals more compassionate. In a recent article that appeared in the New York Times highlighting meditation’s relationship to empathy, one cannot help but think of Chinmoy’s teachings.
Sri Chinmoy inspired thousands of individuals throughout the course of his life, and he continued to do so even after his passing in 2007. Ever a source of fascination, Chinmoy has been the subject of numerous biographies and books on the benefits of meditation. Most recently, some of his writings were collected into a seminal volume entitled Sport & Meditation: the Inner Dimension of Sport. In this inspiring work, Chinmoy explains how meditation can help athletes to address the important spiritual needs that physical training may not have the potential to satisfy. The work is peppered with first hand testimonials from world class athletes like Carl Lewis, Bill Pearl, Tegla Laroupe, Tatyana Lebedeva, and Paul Tergat. This helpful resource is sure to inspire countless athletes now and for many years to come.
The award-winning documentary Challenging Impossibility
Sri was recently the subject of a stirring documentary entitled Challenging Impossibility. This inspiring film made its debut at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival in New York. To date, Challenging Impossibility has appeared in more than 70 film festivals around the globe and has received countless awards. The success of this film will continue to be a true testament to Sri Chinmoy’s captivating effect on his followers and individuals world-wide.
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