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Athletic Spiritual Leader, Sri Chinmoy

By Moral Intelligence, Passion, Uncategorized No Comments

Sri Chinmoy with Nelson Mandella

Sri Chinmoy wit Nelson Mandella


NYTimes October 13th, 2007

Sri Chinmoy, the genial Indian-born spiritual leader who used strenuous exercise and art to spread his message of world harmony and inner peace, died Thursday at his home in Jamaica, Queens, where he ran a meditation center. He was 76.

The cause was a heart attack, said representatives of his organization, the Sri Chinmoy Center.

Mr. Chinmoy spread his philosophy through his own way of life, exercising and creating art and music. He drew attention by power-lifting pickup trucks and public figures like Muhammad Ali and Sting. He said he had drawn 16 million “peace birds.”

He slept only 90 minutes a day, he said, and when he was not traveling to perform in concerts and spread his message, spent the rest of the time meditating, playing music, exercising and making art.

His followers said he had written 1,500 books, 115,000 poems and 20,000 songs, created 200,000 paintings and had given almost 800 peace concerts.

Drawing upon Hindu principles, Mr. Chinmoy advocated a spiritual path to God through prayer and meditation. He emphasized "love, devotion and surrender" and recommended that his disciples nurture their spirituality by taking on seemingly impossible physical challenges.

“His life was all about challenging yourself and being the best you can be,” said Carl Lewis, the Olympic sprinter, a friend of Mr. Chinmoy’s. “He told his disciples to go out and meet a challenge you don’t think you can do.”

“He’s the reason I plan on running the New York marathon when I’m 50,” Mr. Lewis said in a telephone interview yesterday.

In the 1970’s, Mr. Chinmoy was a guru to several prominent musicians, including the guitarist John McLaughlin, who for a time ran the Mahavishnu Orchestra, a name given it by Mr. Chinmoy, as well as the bandleader Carlos Santana, the singer Roberta Flack and the saxophonist Clarence Clemons.

Mr. Chinmoy gathered with his disciples at a private clay tennis court off 164th Street that doubled as a verdant meditation site known as Aspiration Ground. He built a worldwide network of meditation centers and had more than 7,000 disciples.

Yesterday at the compound, Mr. Chinmoy’s followers — dressed in their traditional white attire — lined up at an altar where he lay in an open coffin. Memorial services are planned throughout the weekend.

Sri Chinmoy Kumar Ghose was born a Hindu in 1931 in what is now Bangladesh. From the age of 12, he lived in an ashram. He said he idolized the track star Jesse Owens.

Mr. Chinmoy immigrated to New York in 1964 to work as a clerk at the Indian Consulate. He opened a meditation center in Queens with a philosophy of celibacy, vegetarianism and meditation and attracted hundreds of followers, many settling near his two-story home on 149th Street.

To achieve spiritual enlightenment, he advocated extreme physical activity, including weight lifting, distance running and swimming.

Disciples put his philosophy of self-transcendence into practice by undertaking challenges like swimming the English Channel or running ultra-marathons, including an annual 3,100-mile race run every year over a two-month period in Queens.

After a knee injury ended his own running, in his 60s, Mr. Chinmoy began lifting weights and within several years could shoulder-press more than 7,000 pounds on a special lifting apparatus. He publicly lifted heavy objects including airplanes, schoolhouses and pickup trucks, to help increase awareness of the need for humanitarian aid.

He also lifted more than 8,000 people since 1988, including world peace figures like Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. He hoisted the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Eddie Murphy, Susan Sarandon, Yoko Ono and Richard Gere. Mr. Chinmoy lifted 20 Nobel laureates and a team of sumo wrestlers. He lifted Sid Caesar and a (reformed) headhunter from Borneo, and picked up Representative Gary L. Ackerman, a Democrat, and Representative Benjamin Gilman, a Republican at the same time.

“I thought it was some magician’s trick, but it wasn’t,” Mr. Ackerman said yesterday. “He was running extreme marathons before people even knew what extreme sports were. When you were around him, you had the sudden realization you were in the presence of somebody very, very holy and very devout.”

Yesterday, hundreds of his disciples gathered at the tennis court. Many, like Mr. Lewis, had flown in from places around the world. There were condolence letters faxed from world figures, including former Vice President Al Gore and Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, who met and corresponded with Mr. Chinmoy frequently.

Mr. Gorbachev wrote that Mr. Chinmoy’s passing was “a loss for the whole world” and that “in our hearts, he will forever remain a man who dedicated his whole life to peace.”

The (Sometimes Destructive) Power of Praise

By Moral Intelligence, Values, Vision No Comments


"I praise loudly, I blame softly."

– Catherine the Great

 Power of Praise

By Michael Masterson

The rabbi at JC’s wedding was a friendly looking fellow, and his sermon was a friendly compromise between "Lessons From the Torah" and "Daytime-TV Platitudes." He talked about the usual things – the purpose of marriage, its historic underpinnings, and its potential in the postmodern world of multiculturalism and ecumenicalism. These topics he dispatched with relative ease.

When it came time to give the Big Advice about how to get along for the long run, he had this to say:

"If I could say only one thing to you… if I were restricted to a single piece of advice about your future… it would be this: Praise.

"Make it a habit to praise each other, to compliment your partner freely and often when he or she does something that pleases you.

"It is astonishing how powerful simple praise can be. It can motivate the lethargic, stimulate deep affection, and unlock doors that have been bolted shut for ages. Praise can brighten your spirit, cheer up those you love, and make the days that come smoother, happier, and more successful for you.

"There is not enough praise in the world and far too much criticism. Praise your partner every chance you get, and you will have a happier, healthier, and more spiritually fulfilled relationship, now and forever."

I was moved by what the rabbi said, and wondered if this advice would apply in the world of business.

Certainly, there are plenty of business gurus who would agree. "Shower your employees with praise, and they’ll sparkle with good ideas and productivity," they might say.

But when I discussed it with KY, she made a very good point. "There is a big difference between spousal relationships and most work relationships," she said. "The first type is one of equals. The second type is hierarchical."

Very true.

In business, we use praise to encourage desired results. And so, it has pragmatic (or manipulative, if you prefer) value. Praise can indeed be a great tool for motivating and reinforcing behavior, but it can also be destructive.

For praise to work in a subordinate/superior relationship, it has to come from a person who is respected, be sincerely offered, and be well-deserved. Anything less than that will be seen as shabby – a fawning compliment by an obsequious subordinate or meaningless encouragement from a perennial Pollyanna.

The most powerful praise is, ironically, that which comes from a predominantly critical person. And the withholding of praise can be as much a motivator as its provision.

When praising employees, keep the following in mind:

1. Be careful with your praise (and even more careful with your criticism).

If you give abundant and unregulated praise to your subordinates, it is likely to backfire. They will believe all the hype you are throwing at them. Or they will see you as insincere. Or both.

2. Praise the action rather than the person.

If you praise the person and not the action, you risk spoiling the person and your relationship with him. If you praise the action, the person will get the idea that his future value is based on his actions – as it should be – rather than on his intrinsic worth. In other words, he will realize that his value to the business is based on his performance, not his talents.

Praising the action – the specific behavior – says, "Your value resides in what you do. So long as you do well, you will be valued." This message focuses the employee’s attention where it should be – on his actions and accomplishments. And it acknowledges a very necessary truth: that if he changes his behavior and does not continue to perform, he will become less valuable.

3. Be sincere.

Some managers believe they can criticize effectively simply by starting off with a bit of praise… and then adding a "but." This is a common tactic, but it almost always backfires because the person who is being manipulated sees right through it. Other managers believe they can get an employee to feel good about himself – and repeat the things he is doing well – by jacking up the intensity of their praise. But even with the best of intentions, overblown, effusive praise defeats the purpose. The approval will come across as vacuous – almost worthless.

4. Be fair.

It shouldn’t be your goal to please your employees, but the truth is, employees will often (though not always) like you better if you’ve supported them and given them credit for their accomplishments. And having your employees think of you as a fair manager can benefit you when you’re looking for a promotion or a new job. So praise them generously and publicly when they deserve it. Criticize them carefully and privately when they make mistakes.

5. Be specific.

"Good job" is a compliment your employees will always welcome. But if that’s the way you praise every good deed or job, they’ll start to wonder whether you’re really paying attention. Make it a personal policy to explain exactly what it is about an employee’s behavior or performance that you like and why you like it. This tells the person not only what action or behavior should be repeated in the future but also what goal you are looking for.

Creating an Attractive Universe through Body Mind Spirit Integration

By body mind spirit No Comments
You know, Alan, if it wasn’t for the fact that everyone can think as they please and feel as they choose, with a lifetime of back- to-back manifestation stories, I, too, might even think that life was hard, short, and unfair, instead of easy, breezy, Parcheesi.
When all else seems to fail, Alan, be reminded of life’s magic by the trail you’ve already blazed.
Empirically yours,
 The Universe
Love your way,
Alan Davidson, founder of
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)’
Watch the Body Brilliance Movie
Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.
Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019


Integrating Big Mind: The Voices of Serious and Play

By body mind spirit One Comment
Big Mind Big Heart
Integrating big mind seems rather simple, and I have noticed since that 5 days (Big Mind retreat)
 the absence of a certain quality of weariness, for which I had not words.
As for play, I am more aware of the subtle potential in that particular realm. Ineffable is almost
how I find my ability to express that which I "know". I have some training in play therapy, so I
am aware of how serious play truly is for a child. Perhaps staying in relationship with my little
 heart is what allows for playfullness to emerge in unpredictable and "socially incorrect" behavior,
or simply noticing the impulse and not acting on it, by Choice.                                                                                        
Of course, the subject of being in relationship with ones’ own heart is easy  to disregard, as this is
not generally spoken of, nor evidently even apparently considered by most people, especially
males. From my experience of being human it is essential, and according to my understanding of
traditional Chinese medicine, being centered in ones’ heart is basic to mental and physical health. 
 In my imagination, standing  with "grow" in one hand and "decay" in the other hand, it seems
that in a fully functioning human being the heart is the fulcrum.   That is without valuing grow
over decay—just what is discovered within. 
Maybe Shakespeare alluded to this when he wrote "this above all, to thine own self be true and
 thou can’st be false to any man".   Perhaps he alluded to the fully functioning human being, and
big heart, at the same time, not sure.

"A merry heart doeth good like medicine"  often echoes within, as does "laughter is the best

Well Alan, your book is moving into the read slot as it was placed in a pile and I notice it has been moving up nearer the surface.

Serious/play/play/serious…….hmmmmm this relationship truly intrigues me.
Till we meet again, Ted

“Breath” by poet Mark Strand

By Mental Intelligence No Comments
Poet Mark Strand
When you see them
tell them that I am still here,
that I stand on one leg while the other one dreams,
that this is the only way,
that the lies I tell them are different
from the lies I tell myself,
that by being both here and beyond
I am becoming a horizon,
that as the sun rises and sets I know my place,
that breath is what saves me,
that even the forced syllables of decline are breath,
that if the body is a coffin it is also a closet of breath,
that breath is a mirror clouded by words,
that breath is all that survives the cry for help
as it enters the stranger’s ear
and stays long after the word is gone,
that breath is the beginning again, that from it
all resistance falls away, as meaning falls
away from life, or darkness falls from light,
that breath is what I give them when I send my love.