Reflections From The World Harmony Run
Fifty-two kilometres we had covered since daybreak, only eight to go...
It was almost sundown before we could see the sprawl of Wellington city revealing itself through each valley and behind every hillcrest, our final destination for the Auckland to Wellington leg of the 2005 World Harmony Run. The runners were tired. Some lay sleeping in the back of the van while others gazed contently out the window. We had come a long way in the last week. Not only the miles we had run but also the inner progress we had made, the team camaraderie we had built, the message of world harmony we had spread, and the realisation of how significant and powerful the World Harmony Run truly is for the world.
Through small towns, along deserted roads, over bridges and alongside state highways we had run. Every step of the way carrying the torch with the burning flame symbolising our hope and aspiration for a peaceful, more harmonious world. Along the way we visited schools and shared our experiences and encounters with millions of children nationwide. Through the streets of Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Taupo and every quaint little town in between we had left our presence... our message… our hope. No matter where we were or who we met the glowing smiles, friendly toots, encouraging cheers and keen runners joining us had the same openhearted enthusiasm everywhere. I recall the warm smiles of the farmers on the roadside as we ran by. The generosity and kindness of the motel owners who were so delighted to support us by having us to stay and the joyful children running with us carrying the torch.
It makes me realise that given the opportunity, people everywhere, from all walks of life are so eager to open their hearts and contribute in their own way towards peace, harmony and oneness. The human heart is hungry for love. Love between countries, religions, and all people. Why do we have to separate, distinguish and exclude? Every single human being has a heart, which will one day, if not already, open to reveal it’s true essence. This thought gives me hope.
It was almost sundown before we could see the sprawl of Wellington city revealing itself through each valley and behind every hillcrest, our final destination for the Auckland to Wellington leg of the 2005 World Harmony Run. The light was now dimming. So too was the pace and energy of the runners. It had been a long day. Eight kilometres still to cover. At this stage of the journey it was easy to find myself lost in a daze of recollections of the experience this far. It is difficult to describe how moving it is to be part of a team carrying a message of hope, promise, friendship and goodwill to people far and wide. My mind wanders back to the sparkle in a child’s eye when we tell them they too can contribute to World Harmony simply by being kind to their friends, sharing, helping and loving.
I notice the steadily decreasing pace of our fearless runner as I drive behind in the support van. Her gaze downward, her stride becoming more of a shuffle. I look over my shoulder at the rest of the team in the back, sleeping, gazing, lost in a weary daze. This was it! The grand finale of the World Harmony Run for 2005, our swan song. The final bound down the home straight and we were all in need of something to give us new life, inspiration and encouragement. At moments in our lives we all need a helping hand occasionally. I switch on the CD player and Sri Chinmoy's World Harmony Run song starts playing. Although we had listened to this song every day, it is a song one never gets weary of. Each time we sing it, it brings a smile to our faces. It gives us all joy and a feeling of hope. Yet this time, the final time, was unique.
The power and depth in Sri Chinmoy’s voice, the joy and brightness in the tune, the significance of the words. The twinkling of the bells lifted our heads and put the sparkle back in our eyes. The beat of the drum renewed the rhythm in the stride of our runner. The words – “Run, run, run, run, run, run, World Harmony Run. We are the oneness and fullness of tomorrows sun”, almost chant-like, gave us strength. I turned the volume right up. Everyone suddenly sat up and started singing to the music. At the top of our lungs, smiles from ear to ear, heads out the windows singing to the world and to our runner up ahead. Her pace doubled. The torch was once again held high. She looked back at us with a huge smile and gave us a thumbs-up. At a time when she needed it most, when we all needed it, this song gave us new life. Sri Chinmoy wrote this song especially for the World Harmony Run and it definitely has something special about it. It did something to us all that day, deep within, which we will never forget.
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