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I recently found an article on the BBC website about a 3100 mile race that happens every year. It’s called a run to self-transcendence and as someone that is very intrigued in self-development, I wanted to learn more. And hopefully talk with one of the runners that attempted and, maybe even, completed it. Not only did I manage to find one, he’s also a fellow Irishman. His name is Nirbhasa Magee and his the guest for this episode.
Nirbhasa has been a meditation practitioner since his late teens/early twenties and through his practice, started to go for short runs with friends from the meditation group (Sri Chinmoys) he’s part of. One thing led to another. Before he knew it, he had moved on to marathons, ultramarathons, then 6 and 10 day runs and eventually the 3100 mile race.
In this podcast interview, Nirbhasa tells this story in detail, shares the benefits he’s gained from meditation and running and provides some hugely interesting insights from his journey so far.
Here is a summary and more about Sri Chinmoy (please excuse Typos):
- How Nirbhasa discovered meditation
- The key to a good meditation practice – even if it’s just 5 minutes per day – getting your foot in the door – this is the start of a building a habit
- Always noticing if he missed the daily quotient of peace and joy i.e. a short meditation
- Starting with a book ‘meditate like a master’ (or something of that name!)
- Noticing the difference in the day to day life even if the it wasn’t a ‘great’ meditation
- Finding deeper meaning and a feeling or pull of his being enjoying meditation
- An overview of the mediation practices used early on:
- Meditation Practice – Heart-Centre Mediations – Breathing and feeling the breath is coming from and leaving from the heart centre
- The difference between concentration on the mind and the heart!
- Finding himself coming out of heart-centre mediation with much more kindness on others and yourself
- Techniques are just like a city map – the same with the meditation techniques – you get to know your heart just like a city and after a while you can throw away the maps!
- Over time meditation becomes part of your being
- Reflecting on the changes and impact meditation has on Nirbhasa – not borne out of sadness or loneliness
- The one thing meditation has given him – a sense of fulfilment and purpose – not easily explained but more in a feeling
- Mediation has taught him to cherish the joy of doing things not just the outcomes
- Fitness & Running entered Nirbhasa’s life despite hating running originally
- Mediation helped to be in the right inner space when running – this happened quickly after he started running
- Getting into running longer distances more by chance running with others from the Sri Chinmoy centre
- Getting into the space running the right way – running along ‘eternities road’
- Just doing 1-2 marathons every year initially but becoming more aware of the ultra-running
- Hearing about much longer distances like the 6- & 10-day race and the 3100-mile race
- In 2012, Nirbhasa, stopped in New York, and went to support the 6- and 10-day race. The feeling he had from this gave him the motivation to sign up for it the following year – a huge sense of peace being there – this is something I could do!!!
- The 6- & 10-day races which are based on the most miles done in these days
- How the mind can be limiting which lead Nirbhasa to sign up only to the 6-day race
- The training plan for the 6-day race – having 2 great spiritual experience from the training itself –
- Documentary – Spirit of a Runner on Vimeo – this lead to – The following day – an inner voice, why not move to the 10 day race instead
- A Talk that moved Nirbhasa – from a Sri Chinmoy seminar – learning about her meditation life – “it’s got the stage where I just sort of exist” – this was a statement he didn’t forget – but didn’t know what it meant….Having 3 big projects with work before the race – making the commitment – training was to be priority #1 – this was key! As this went along…put the important things first, everything else gets done! Like being an observer watching things happen! – A huge change
- Dealing with misconceptions – that meditation is not accepting life’s responsibilities – but that is not the case – don’t what meditation is about
- How the attitude of Meditation today is about leading your life….meditation is a key part of helping you be happy to be able to do everything you need to do and still be peaceful and satisfaction
- Running & Training – avoiding injuries – lucky but also being able to connect into the issue and being able to find a workaround to overcome it
- The attitude that you take when training and running is very very important – if you’re not running the for the right reasons…this can lead to injury or overexert!
- There is a link between mental state and at which people suffer – when Nirbhasa runs, he must ensure he’s running from the right attitude – having a childlike consciousness when running!
- The experience doing the 10-day race first time in 2013 – another big revelation doing it – setting a goal of 500 miles as a target – expecting to slow down on day 3 as all others thought – but as the days went on, Nirbhasa kept going and didn’t slow down – having 2-3 cosmic experiencing during the race
- On the last day, after keeping a pace of 60 miles a day, decided to run all night on the last day and doing 91 miles on the last day, 622 miles overall and finishing 4th over
- The power of the mind – overcoming the limiting beliefs
- Meditation is about unlearning!
About the 3100 Mile Race
- 3100-mile race around a single ½ mile block in Queens New York
- The 3100-mile race is the longest of several ultra-marathons and other running races founded by Sri Chinmoy.
- Not being allowed to run this unless you’ve done many multiday races before
- Only deciding to run this after completing the 10 day.
- 60 miles a day is the average to run!
- Deciding to run it for the first time but taking his time to sign up so doing the 10 day race a second time around and doing 702 miles giving him confidence for the 3100
- The training gives confidence more than anything
- In 2015, in June Nirbhasa did his first 3100-mile race
- Trusting the Universe to provide a response – Dealing with major cross roads, putting the questions or issue out there, even by writing a letter, and then meditating. Leaving the decision to God or the Universe to sort out and letting it to see what comes back
- The notion of Spiritual Surrender – an ongoing and evolving process – not something that happens overnight
- The 3100 Documentary including other self-transcendence runs (link to the documentary here)
- It’s a deep dive into Why people run and the spiritual exploration
- The 3100 Run and Become
- Focus on Ash-Pri-han-nal – 14 times now 16 times?
- Yuri – do you have to be a follower of Sri Chinmoy?
- Record time — 40 days – Ashprihanal Aalto has won the race nine times and participated 15 times.
- Shamita – Austrian – dropped out after 1000 miles
- Gyoman-san of the Monks of Hiei, Japan
- Navajo Runner included
- Nirbhasa’s experiences having run this 3 times over the last 5 years
- The physical adjustment taking a few days
- The mental adjustment starting to calm down and a much more natural meditative state comes
- Stages during the race where meditation takes over and some parts of your being is having the time of its life!! That’s what keeps him coming back and get deeper every year
- Comparisons with a silent retreat where the mind starts to calm after a few days
- The race itself is a very safe space of spiritual transformation – with everything being taken care of and you’re running letting off steam and being able to talk and express himself is very important – can share the experiences with different to a silent retreat
- From the 3 races Nirbhasa has completed, what stands out most?
- From the 2019 race, after 35+ days, hitting a heatwave in New York making the heat 41-42 Celsius – Nirbhasa kept running and was so exhausted at the end of that day – leading to heat exhaustion inside his stomach – leading to 6/7 days that lead to walking most of the time!
- This lead to him learning to be happy no matter how he was doing – this is a key lesson – just to be happy no matter what!
- A second heatwave come some days later – leading Nirbhasa to keep pushing forward but getting a recommendation from an Aru Vedic doc and being able to run again an hour later – the benefits of grass in his shoe that helped it cool down
- To learn more about Nirbhasa and Sri Chinmoy check out:
- Video called “Seeker” with Snatak on google the video will come up – check this out
- This year, Nirbhasa after finishing the race, he felt he will do this every year
- Sri Chinmoy links – https://ie.srichinmoycentre.org/
Thanks for listening & please do (if you get this far) share the show with others. It all helps.