In 1985, I became the first student of Sri Chinmoy to swim the English Channel. It was a very, very special experience. As I was told later, Guru was sitting at home, meditating for most of the time on my swim, always trying to get information on how I was doing.
I was blessed with an extremely easy swim. When I stepped into the Channel water at Shakespeare Beach at 7 a.m., I was full of confidence that I would make it. After six hours into the swim, when I could see both coasts, I had the firm conviction that on the inner plane, it was already done—it just had to be executed outwardly. I felt carried by a wave of inner joy and bliss most of the time.
After ten hours, the cross-current set in and it was slowly getting dark. Previously I could not imagine swimming in the dark. I would never have dared to get into pitchblack, unknown water at night. Now, with the gradual transition into night, I felt extremely comfortable. I enjoyed the star-strewn sky above me each time I took a breath. And when I looked down into the black water—where earlier I had enjoyed watching the dance of the rays of sunlight—I started to see bright light once again. In the midst of the darkness, Guru's face - his transcendental photograph that we use in our meditations - appeared.
Because of the unpredictable, strong cross-current, I had to swim for five hours more, but it did not matter to me. For those hours, I was swimming into the light of the Transcendental, into Guru's infinite consciousness of light and delight, which was right in front of me like an ever-transcending goal.