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Transcending Limitations

Contemporary culture is fascinated with the ability of the human organism to do what seems impossible, as shown by the popularity of Guinness World Records. Every day someone shows us that what we previously thought were our limits are actually only the baselines, offering yet another challenge to be exceeded. In these X-games," moreover, we find that the mind's role is always paramount. Limited beliefs lead to limited results, and vice versa.

Contemporary spiritual teacher, author, and poet Sri Chinmoy believes in inspiring others to transcend the limitations of the mind and therefore the body. Besides having written over 1,300 books, painted over 135,000 pieces of art, and mastering over 100 musical instruments, he has run 22 marathons and lifted over 7,000 pounds in order to show us that we don't aim high enough. Chinmoy's student Ashrita Furman currently holds the Guinness record for having the most world records - seventy-five. Furman's accomplishments include the fastest somersaulting mile (19 minutes); the most water glasses balanced on the chin (20), and the most consecutive jumps on a pogo stick (131,000). While we may laugh at the examples cited, we would be foolish to dismiss what his activities point to. What they tell us about the power of the body-mind is tremendous. One of the most revealing aspects of Furman's work is that he rarely trained for any of his records. Instead, his preparation would mainly consist of several hours or more in a state of meditation during which he would focus his intention on the task ahead. By the time he was ready to jump, or to somersault, or whatever, he was aligned with an unlimited "higher power" from within himself, and convinced that nothing short of death would allow him to give up.*

* "'I am not the body; I am the soul' - Breaking Limits with Sri Chinmoy: An interview with Ashrita Furman by Elizabeth Debold. ." What Is Enlightenment? magazine (Fall-Winter 2002), 65-77.

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