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When a person becomes conscious of seeking the higher light, divine serendipity makes magic. In 2001, Saranyu Pearson, a homeopathic veterinarian, had just changed jobs, moving to a veterinary clinic across a café owned by students of Sri Chinmoy. She took their free meditation classes—and off she went on her unique spiritual journey of self-discoveries.
Q: How do you incorporate meditation into daily living?
I was lucky to be very excited about this change in my life, and found little difficulty trying meditation early every morning. I was on a high from these morning meditations, which helped sustain my enthusiasm, as they fitted in with my early morning routine at the time. I certainly understand this is not always the case. It has been more difficult over time to maintain this enthusiasm and routine. However, it comes down to disciplining myself (in positive ways to reap the benefits of meditation) and prioritising meditation with the awareness and confidence that my day will be a whole lot easier and happier if I continue with my morning meditation.
Many people think the benefits of meditation have to be immediate; sometimes they are. I’ve learned to understand, too, that these benefits can follow on many days or weeks after meditation has been an essential motivation for continued practice. I am now in the privileged position of meditating more often during my workday — which brings considerable advantage to my skills as a veterinarian. It helps to keep me calm, focused, and open. In addition, it has helped me in communicating with my patients to provide them with relevant treatments so they can benefit in healing and maintaining animal wellness.
Q: How do you follow insights from your meditation?
Meditation or its resulting outcome, inform every important decision and action in a natural way for me. The trick is to allow the mind to trust the process. It’s a two-way conversation with yourself, where the inner advice, direction, or inspiration has its own inner checks and balances, so you know with little doubt what you’re doing is right. (You sure feel it when it’s not, and can make amends.) I often find myself doing things I haven’t planned. These things always turn out good, especially doing for others when they’re needing or hurting most, and I wasn’t outwardly aware of their needs.
The most practical ways I follow insights in my work as a homeopathic veterinarian is to allow and follow my intuition and insights in completely necessary and natural ways. I know this ability definitely comes from my connection to my spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy, from meditating under his guidance. Over time, I’ve found myself spontaneously saying “yes” to invitations and opportunities that “just” happen to come along.
Q: How has your meditation with Sri Chinmoy has deepened over time?
I have sought more opportunity to immerse my being in spiritual pursuits through our Sri Chinmoy Centre activities to access these blessings, as they unfold. For instance, the global Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run and the multiday races organised by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team are unique opportunities to immerse in the highest consciousness, for as long as possible. These are ongoing transformative events increasing my capacities, from deepening my spiritual experiences over time.
I also feel I have changed at many levels of self, with benefits from my meditation practice filtering through my body and my life—providing access to deeper experiences strengthening my entire being, in reaching out to family and community. Over time, I realize my meditation and spiritual practice inform my whole existence in the very best ways, and in ways that I cannot ever imagine not having.
Q: What meaningful changes has meditation made in your outer life?
Meditation sharpens what most people refer to as conscience. This means you don’t need to think as hard using your mind about important decisions, but simply make time to meditate on and ask the question inwardly, then apply the answer outwardly. Of course, it’s not always an immediate answer. This practice has taught me patience.
Meditation expands your awareness, and provides the vision to make changes in your life and for your community. Inspiration from my meditation has resulted in my starting community projects to prepare people for climate change emergencies we’re facing. We grow our own food in back and front yards, and share produce with our neighbours. I teach older women who are not physically active, how to move their bodies better and to run, cycle or walk—instead of driving to the store. I’ve become more confident in advocating for changes in governance to better serve the environment and all living things with whom we share Mother Earth. These are all satisfying experiences brought about through my daily spiritual practice developing over time.
Q: Do you feel your meditation life has opened up new avenues of awareness or transcendence, that satisfy deeply?
I’ve had myriad experiences from over seventeen years of meditating with Sri Chinmoy. Running through these sweet stories is the constant theme of inner joy or satisfaction. In realising these encounters have not been of my own making, but blessings bestowed by a Higher Power.
My experiences run the gamut. Such as the capacity to run a six-day race and feeling happy, with only a practice run of completing my first 24-hour race only the month before. Offering gratitude prayers answered for loved ones in need, from the mundane passing of examinations to life-changing choices of school or vocation.
It has not been easy being a single parent with two, now young adult, children. However, the strength I obtain in all facets of life through my spiritual practices continues to keep our family on track. I see clearly now, my son’s acceptance into an excellent school that perfectly met his needs, was really an act of Grace since we had missed the cutoff date and bypassed the waiting list. My daughter is encouraged to follow her heart in becoming an artist, from trusting the heart’s inner messages. My decision to study further and enhance my veterinary skills was also an inner message that has proven to be life-changing in the best of ways.
I also notice deep spiritual experiences often revolve around death experiences for many people. This is a direct experience of the soul since with death the rest of the body is no longer interfering with the Soul’s Light. Like my Dad appearing after his death to berate me, in jest, for not telling him about my life with Sri Chinmoy, and to thank me for it. My Mum coming to share many special moments of my spiritual life over many weeks, after she died unexpectedly. All of these are deeply personal and soulful experiences that can only be appreciated with an awareness of how natural our soul-connections are between the inner and the outer life - that meditation unfolds profoundly to seekers, simply and sweetly.
My meditation has given me access to communication with souls of people and animals - and the equanimity to accept such experiences as perfectly natural. For example, feeling an inexplicable joy in the unexpected death of my beloved cat that can only be my soul’s joy, since I was left outwardly bereft.
Q: What would you give as an example of your outer self-enhancement enriched by meditation?
I’ve never really thought of myself as possessing outer self-enhancement but I do believe, at my best, look younger than I am! I certainly attract many compliments for my physical sporting abilities. I’ve a very grateful client base genuinely appreciating my advice in caring for their animals and family members. I know not all vets can tell what animals are saying to them.
Perhaps the most significant enhancement is my ability to celebrate simple joys, to appreciate what I have, and to be grateful. Acquiring inner peace through meditation is the alpha and omega of our existence. Without a deep abiding inner peace, there can be nothing else. Whilst far from achieving this goal completely, I do have enough filtering through from my daily meditation practice to give me hope that what I am getting is what I need for now.
What drew me to Sri Chinmoy's path
Nikolaus Drekonja talks about the inner recognition he felt when he first encountered Sri Chinmoy's books, and shares an honest recollection of his first attempts to meditate.
Recently the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run came to Oxford. I helped as a local co-ordinator to arrange a few meetings. I also cycled with the runners around Oxford.
One of the great things about the Peace Run is that you have to expect the unexpected. Even the best-laid plans need to be flexible. When you are on the run, you soon realise you are very much living in the moment.
I cycled up to Kidlington to meet the runners and guide them to their first school in North Oxford. However, they were running late after their first school visit in Stratford-upon-Avon was a great success. To save time, I volunteered to buy lunch in Kidlington. I order three giant pizzas for ten vegetarians and then ran around the Kidlington shops looking for vegan, gluten-free lunch for another two. I don’t know much about the village of Kidlington, but it didn’t seem to have too many gluten-free vegans – I thought this kind of diet was all the rage these days?
Anyway, as I waited for the pizza to be cooked, I scurried from shop to shop, but all I could see is cheese and egg sandwiches. Then, as I’m wrestling with the conundrum of trying to panic-buy a couple of vegan lunches, I start getting rung from hungry people in different vans, asking where lunch was going to be. I’m standing in Costa Coffee shop, trying to find something vegan, at the same time as explaining to my friend Balavan, lunch is probably in Kidlington, but I’m not sure. But it hasn’t really been bought yet, so maybe I could ring him back in a few minutes. But, then within a few minutes, another phone call and there is another change of plan – no time for lunch in Kidlington, everyone just drove to the school in Cutteslowe – it was getting late and just 30 minutes to our first appointment. Divine chaos!
Unfortunately, whilst the runners were four miles away, I was still in Kidlington with three giant pizzas, a packet of crisps (the best I could do for the vegans) and a few egg sandwiches. So I stuff the pizzas inside my fortuitously large bike bag and cycle furiously down a main road to Cutteslowe in north Oxford. Dripping with sweat, I pick out the squashed pizzas to a grateful army of runners. I proffer apologies for the state of lunch, the lateness, the lack of organisation, but everyone takes it in their stride – as if this is a perfectly normal occurrence on the Peace Run. If you’ve been running all morning, it seems you’re not too picky about your pizza being a bit squashed.
The battered pizza, a few Costa egg sandwiches and a pack of crisps is greeted with an unexpected outbreak of sincere and enthusiastic gratitude – I felt slightly embarrassed people were so happy with our lunch offerings – as if I had taken all the runners to the Randolph Hotel for a perfectly manicured English tea and scones. It seems runners on the Peace Run are well trained to roll with the flow and from even the simplest things gain great joy.
After that slightly intense lunch experience, I was somewhat hot and bothered, but as soon I met the runners and they seemed happy with a bit of pizza, my organiser anxieties dissipate, and you just let the Peace Run unfurl its magic. It feels like you have stepped into an indefinable bubble and the whole day and next morning I had an underlying joy, where it was perfectly OK not to worry or plan too much, but see what comes.
The first primary school seemed to really enjoy meeting the runners, and then we were off into town. We stopped at Regent College, an English language school for adults. Despite the fact they were businessmen and teachers, they had a childlike joy in meeting the run and holding the torch. It was great to see serious teachers run up and down the large lawn, to the enthusiastic cheers of watching students. It was a reminder the Peace Run can break down our inhibitions and remind us of a spontaneity that is usually hidden under many layers of outer problems. Not that I joined in the running up and down the lawn – you can have too much joy for one day. I slinked into a comfortable to chair to relax after the morning’s cycle sprint from Kidlington.
After Regent College, I took the runners on a tour of Oxford. I have lived in Oxford for 18 years, but showing visitors around reminds you of how beautiful the town is. The beauty of the architectural tour is also heightened because of the fact Sri Chinmoy visited Oxford nine times, so there are many places where you can point out where Sri Chinmoy gave a lecture, gave a concert or some other meeting. As we meandered through the winding, quiet streets of Oxford, you would turn a corner, and there would be another reminder of a former visit by Sri Chinmoy.
First up was Lady Margaret Hall part of Oxford University. I asked the porter if I could take a few runners into the gardens, and he didn’t seem to mind at all. Lady Margaret Hall was the Oxford college where I studied for four years and in my final year became a disciple of Sri Chinmoy.
As fate would have it, in 2003, Sri Chinmoy visited Lady Margaret Hall in a “Lifting up the World with a Oneness-Heart Award”, where he lifted 20 distinguished university professors. Guru was very happy with this visit and the title of his book “The mind becomes the heart” is symbolic of how the pinnacle of academia accepted the heart of Sri Chinmoy.
Anyway, on this particular day, the college gardens were unusually calm and still (the students weren’t back for a start!). I pointed out the spot where Sri Chinmoy meditated many years ago, and for those brief minutes, it felt like his presence was still very much with us. I hadn’t planned this visit at all, it just seemed to happen and felt one of those perfect moments where the planets align.
As the runners departed for their next location in London, I felt a little sad to be moving back to a more mundane reality. On the Run, so much happens in 24 hours. Thank you to those Peace Runners who give up their time to travel across the world and take part in this great event.
In this short video, Baridhi recounts the first time he met Sri Chinmoy at a concert by the Danube River. The most striking thing Baridhi remembers is the feeling and consciousness of the room during Sri Chinmoy's sitar performance.
A closer relationship with God
Penny talks about how she began meditation out of curiosity and an attempt to still the mind, and how her meditation practise developed into a closer relationship with God.
She also talks about how Sri Chinmoy's philosophy helped her to transcend her perceived limitations in running - to go from struggling in a two-mile race to completing marathons.
Sport and Meditation
The inner dimension of sport...
A spiritual Master and at the same time an avid sportsman, Sri Chinmoy was a pioneer in demonstrating the power of meditation in the sporting world. In 1977, he founded the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, which has put on some of the most boundary-pushing races the running world has ever seen, including the current longest certified road race - the 3100 Mile Self-Transcendence Race.
This book brings together many of Sri Chinmoy's most powerful teachings from 30 years of service to the running community. It is aimed at both elite athletes searching for that extra edge, and ordinary people looking to get more satifaction from their workouts. Sri Chinmoy answers questions both from a deep inner perspective and yet also rooted in the world of practical experience - what are the goals we should be aiming for, how we can strive for and yet be detached from disappointment at the same time, how we can keep our enthusiasm day after day and year after year, and how we can make our sporting activities a source of deep and lasting satisfaction.
In addition, legendary athletes such as 9-time Olympic gold medallist Carl Lewis, Olympic long jump and triple jump champion Tatyana Lebedeva, marathon record-holders Tegla Laroupe and Paul Tergat, and 5-time Mr. Universe Bill Pearl contribute their own inner secrets and spiritual perspective on training and competition.
Getting joy from your spiritual life
Nandita Pollisar has been a student of Sri Chinmoy since the early 1970s. In this video, Nandita talks about the importance of getting joy from the spiritual life, and how the simple act of speaking with friends helps can help get away from the negative thoughts of the mind.With her husband, Nayak, Nandita has helped to run the Seattle Sri Chinmoy Centre since 1974.
Meditation functions with Sri Chinmoy
Kokila Chamberlain talks meditating with Sri Chinmoy in New York, and of what it is like to be in the presence of a genuine spiritual Master. She describes a ‘typical’ meditation function and the spontaneous nature of Sri Chinmoy’s approach. Kokila also explains what drew her to Sri Chinmoy’s Path.
Meditation experience at Aspiration-Ground
Suren remembers the powerful meditations he experienced during functions at 'Aspiration Ground' with Sri Chinmoy. During these evening meditations, groups of singers and musicians would perform the music of Sri Chinmoy; with moments of silence and meditation in between the performances.
My road from meditation to the Olympics
In 2016, Samunnati Nataliya Lehonkova represented the Ukraine in the marathon at the Olympics; she also has won the Dublin, Edinburgh and Los Angeles marathons. Here she is interviewed by her friend and fellow runner Jayasalini Abramovskikh, and talks about how she came to Sri Chinmoy's path as a child, her training schedule and what inspires her to run.