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Running, but not alone

Mayuri • San Francisco

Guru did a very sweet thing for me one Celebrations during Sports Day. Most events had certain qualifications, but one event was open to everyone—a two-mile race around the quarter-mile track. I ran in it, knowing that I would be one of the last to finish but still wanting to participate. Guru had a small pavilion-like tent set up at the starting/finish line so that he could observe all the races.

We lined up, paused for a brief meditation, and were off. Most of the runners immediately outpaced me as I jogged slowly along. By the time I was about halfway through, the winners were already finishing. At that point the first call for the boy’s javelin competition was announced. Javelin is my favorite track and field event to watch, and I’d noticed that Guru always seemed to go watch it, too. But he stayed in his little tent, just watching the finish line.

Around I ran again—three more laps to go. Each time I passed the finish line I inwardly said “thank you,” and glanced over at Guru.

The bulk of the racers were finishing now. The second call for the javelin event was announced. Still Guru did not move. The boys doing javelin were already taking practice throws. By now the two-mile race was essentially over, and if anyone else was still doing it except for me, they were walking and I couldn’t even tell. Similarly, no one would know that I was still racing; to the casual eye, I was merely taking a slow jog around the track just for exercise.

Two more laps . . . and the announcement came for the actual start of the javelin competition. Guru just sat there. One more lap . . . halfway around it I began to sprint, having left just enough energy for a little kick at the end. In the middle of the field the boys were throwing their javelins. I flew over the finish line and turned with folded hands to mentally say another “thank you” to Guru—and at that exact moment he got up, left his tent, and walked over to watch the javelin competition.

He knew I was still running the race even when everyone else had long since moved on, and stayed to support me right up to the very end. It was a small gesture in the grand scheme of things, but it was an incredibly kind thing for Guru to have done. I was deeply touched by how he had done something so specifically for me, without anyone else even knowing what had just happened. There was an intimate sweetness in it which still makes my heart dance whenever I think about it. It also makes me think about how Guru always did so many things at once, inwardly and outwardly, that we were mostly unaware of.