#87 My awesome guest this week is Sanjay Rawal, a film director and the man behind his latest documentary 3100 Run and Become
It’s safe to say I am not much of a runner, and rest assured you don’t need to be to enjoy this podcast. This episode goes waaaaay beyond running and what was shared was quite mind-blowing.
In a nutshell, Sanjay’s latest film is 3100: Run and Become gives us a behind-the-scenes look into the most elusive and elite multi-day race in the world, the Self Transcendence 3100 Mile Race.
3100 Race Facts:
- Held annually.
- 1 x sidewalk block (0.56 miles)
- Queens, NYC
- Requires 59 miles a day
- 52 straight days over Summer.
- Promises personal expansion and discovery a deeper sense of self.
The act of running to transform oneself is as old as time. Ancient man and woman ran not just for survival, but to connect with Nature and the Divine. The film also explores the historic and current relationship between running and spirituality through intimate visits with the Marathon Monks of Japan’s Mt. Hiei; the persistence hunters of Africa’s Kalahari tribe; and Arizona’s Navajo Nation. Enjoy!
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Guy: Hi, I’m Guy Lawrence and you are listening to the Guy Lawrence podcast. If you’re enjoying this content and you want to find out more and join me and come further down the rabbit hole, make sure you head back to the guylawrence.com.au. Awesome guys. Enjoy the show.
Guy: Sanjay, welcome to the podcast
Sanjay: Guy, I’m so honored to be on your show.
Guy: It’s fantastic. And I got to ask you, if you were on an airplane and you sat next to a stranger and they asked you what you did for a living, what would you say?
Sanjay: I would say I’m a documentary filmmaker, um, but I still don’t feel comfortable saying that. I am.
Guy: And the next question I’d have to ask you as well, what kind of documentaries do you make?
Sanjay: They’ve been all over the place. Like my first film was on farm labor. Uh, my second film, 3,100 run & become was on the ancestral traditional outlandishly long, uh, runs in the world. Um, a film I’m working on right now as in the native American food system. So I guess it’s like food and running. Then just food. And my following film is going to be about running. So I guess there is a pattern.
Guy: Yeah, fair enough. And it’s really interesting. Like honestly, I’m having a podcast, um, I get a lot of people making suggestions for guests coming through, you know, regular listeners. I get people, um, approaching me a lot, you know, trying to say, can I come on and pitch an idea and that when your email landed instantly I was like, oh my God, this looks amazing. This is so fascinating. I deeply mean that. It was just, um, I’d never even heard of the race or the run, which I’d love to ask you, you know, 3,100 run & become, so there’s two questions. That land for me instantly was, well, what the hell is that? And then the second question would probably, why make that movie?
Sanjay: So, you know, it’s really good timing here in the states, it’s August 4th. And for the listeners that are watching on Youtube, the reason why I’m all glistening and sweaty is I just came back from the race course. So the 3,100 mile race was started in 1997 by an Indian spiritual teacher named Sri Chinmoy. People have to do 60 miles a day, a little less than a hundred kilometers a day for 52 days in order to make it within the window. It’s effectively 5,000 kilometers. So the, the, the, the course is actually a half mile, a slightly less than a kilometer long loop around a high school in New York City. It’s in the summer. So it seems like the worst location possible for an ultra endurance event because you’re in the summer heat, you’re on a sidewalk, there’s no gorgeous scenery. But that said, there’s plenty of people in the states that have run from San Francisco to New York.
Sanjay: And for those in the US that’s like, you know that if you go from San Francisco East, you have to cross one, two, three gigantic mountain ranges and people tend to have to run on roads and it’s hard to get into a meditative flow. But in the 3,100 mile race, every half mile, people have access to water, to food, to aid, and there’s no street traffic. So it tends to draw eight to 15 people from around the world every year that are really looking for an opportunity to use running to transform their lives over those 52 days. And somehow I met, from what I’ve heard, it works.
Guy: I was going to say, well, the next question I got to ask you is like, how does that confirmation take place? What transformation are these runners looking for to do? I mean, it’s a long, long run. I mean, it’s, it sounds, it sounds crazy when you first hear it.
Sanjay: It’s true. So that’s why in our movie 3,100 run and become, we actually take viewers to three parts of the world to. The southwestern area of the United States to the Navajo nation. Uh, we spent time in the Kalahari desert in Botswana and in the highlands of Japan, outside Kyoto with three totally distinct communities that hadbeen running for enlightenment for hundreds, if not like the bushmen over a hundred thousand years. Um, in a nutshell, the Navajo for example, believe that running is a prayer. When you run your feet are praying to mother earth, you’re breathing in father sky. You’re asking them for their blessings to become a better person. Running seems to be humanity’s first religion. You know, before we had anything organized and when we were required to hunt for our food, doing long persistence hunts, chasing animals through the Savannah, you know, we used, we developed a kind of cosmology around running and it was pretty quick that people realized that running is a way energetically to connect yourself, not only with the outer world with mother Earth, but with, you know, meditative states deep within you. And the 3,100 is just a manifestation of that ancient reality.
Guy: Wow. And then so you’re, you’re, you’re literally learning, I’m guessing, uh, transcend all the pain, all the difficulties and almost rise above everything that’s coming there in being in those states.
Sanjay: That’s exactly it. You know, you can’t learn that during this race. And the, the, the best type of training is to come to the starting line. Understanding how to minimize your problems and not minimizing it with mind over matter because that kind of, that doesn’t really work. Like you have to transform the pain into joy. Um, you have to be pulling joy from deep within yourself in order to really, like you said, transcend that idea of suffering.
Guy: Wow. And, and I’m guessing as well, right? Once you do a race like that, some of the problems that you have on a daily basis and normal life could seem quite trivial and small after an experience like that.
Sanjay: Yeah, you’re right. And you know, I don’t, I’m not saying this from a scientific standpoint, but you know, after a couple of days of fasting, for example, people find kind of a, uh, a flush of energy and you know, obviously now the science says that comes from burning fat and ketones in a different metabolic process. You know, I’ve seen through this race, which has been going on for 23 years now, that there’s a state in the human in human physiology where if you’re running at a very low Arabic output, like these winters are running pretty slow. I mean, they do 60 to 70 miles, about a hundred to 115 kilometers a day across 18 hours. So it’s a mix of jogging, some running, some walking, but they enter into this physiological or metabolic state where recovery is happening through activity. At the same time, like they’re able, like you said, the mind melts, you know, after a few days when the mind realizes that it has to be out on that course for you know, 45, 50 more days. It kind of gives up resistance the way you’re trying to make your mind, uh, disappear in meditation. And when that resistance disappears, then the running itself becomes a meditation.
Guy: Incredible as anyone run it more than once. Oh, so
Sanjay: two days ago, the main character in my film, which we shot in 2016 a a finished paper boy and then to Ashbury Handle Alto, uh, in my movie we show him finishing for the 14th edition for the 14th time. And just a couple of days ago, he finished the race for a record setting 15th time. And I just came back from the course, which is about a mile away from me in the borough of Queens. And a a Slovakian gentleman, um, who has toed the line who started the race 15 times finished today for the sixth time. And that, and that’s really what got me to make this movie. When I first moved to New York, it was the summer when they started this race. And having been a miler and a track guy, I thought that distance was crazy. And it was only after I saw these people return year after year that I realized it’s an experience of transformation and nothing else.
Guy: Incredible. So what inspires, so us three chimney in my set up, the, the original race in 96 was that you said in 97 97. So what inspired him to do that? And could you tell us a little bit about story?
Sanjay: So he, he was born in east India in the early thirties and he spent his childhood and teenage years in an Ashram in south India called the Sri Aurobindo Osher. And he came to New York in 1964. Um, and really quickly started a kind of a, a larger kind of global mission with meditation centers all over the place. But in his youth, he was a decathlete and di his, the path that he was on, you know, really connected the, uh, the idea of inner peace and outer strength that you could have a strong mind and a strong meditative life from combining those pursuits with physical fitness. Um, and, you know, he was a musician. He was a, a very, uh, uh, practiced meditator. Um, but in the 70s, having, you know, lived in New York City, he became one of the central spiritual figures at the heart of the running boom. So you name it, like everyone from, you know, from Ozzy Stars like Rob de Castella, um, to, to American marathoners like bill Rogers and Norwegian stars.
Sanjay: Like, what a wait, all kind of, you know, we’re in his million. And in 1977 and 1978, when the New York City Marathon started really gaining traction, um, the organizers would have three each in my open the marathon with a moment of meditation and his philosophy, you know, really looked at running not just as a metaphoric way to like run towards nirvana or run towards the divine, you know, he felt this kind of traditional ancestral connection as humans. Um, that running really could help us connect our minds, um, our hearts and our bodies with a much larger, uh, energy on mother earth.
Guy: Yeah. Right. And um, now I do believe he was your mentor as well.
Sanjay: Yeah, yeah. I came across this philosophy when I was in college in California, but after I graduated I moved to New York City to kind of, you know, look at, look at his path is like a graduate school for the inner life. And you know, he was having us run races every weekend. He had a, a pretty organized marathon team that, you know, was organizing six day races, 10 day races, marathons, runs for peace. But in that summer that I moved here in 1997, that was the first edition of the 20 of the 30, 3,100 mile race. And now 22 years later, this summer is the 23rd edition. Um, and we’re getting close to the last couple of days as a Kiwi woman that’s set to finish on the last day, uh, Tuesday, August 6th, um, and the afternoon, you know, really kind of cutting it down to the wire. But you know, there’s been a lot of folks that, you know, tend to come out to the race to really get mmm. Uh, take a couple of breaths of the experience of self-transcendence that these runners are having.
Guy: Yeah. Right. And so what attracted you to running in the first place? Like, and w was three a running mental or was that, was it all, was it more than that?
Sanjay: So I actually was a, I ran in high school and in college, but you know, by the time I was 18, 19, I was burned out of school. I was burned out of running so competitively and I was really desperate to like have answers to life, uh, which I, you know, which none of us really get from an academic setting. And so sweet to him. I was a traditional group and I went to meditation classes taught by his students. Um, and it wasn’t really until I met him and moved to New York that I realized that his path wasn’t just about the inner life. It was really about the synthesis between the inner life and the outer life. And to have a really strong inner life in this day and age, you know, you had to include your body in your and your hearts aspirations. You know, you had to create goals for your body and not just goals of like hardly goals of like looking beautiful, but giving your body experiences of the, the self transcendence of the progress that when we make it, you know, that, you know, if we make that kind of progress in the inner life, you know, we become happy.
Sanjay: Um, and it was spreading that sense of happiness to the body. You started as, as, as my meditation teacher. Then I realized that his path, you know, included encompass so much more than just that. Yeah. And have you on your own personal journey. Um, there’s a couple of things. One thing is like, have you experienced that self-transcendence yourself, that experience to embody that?
Sanjay: So I, I, I, I can say that, you know, embarrassingly, despite having been a student of his, when he was on earth, you know, 13, 14 years and having run a lot, then I never had the experience of self transcendence. You know, I, I w came from such a competitive background that it was really, I mean, it was impossible for me and in that age, you know, that that era to like separate performance, um, from, from my own journey. And it wasn’t until I started making this film in 2015 and I met Sean Martin and Navajo Ultra Marathoner, then met some of the Kalahari bushmen and some of the running monks of Japan that I realized like, you know, self-transcendence is effectively, it’s joy plus exertion. You know, you can’t start, you can’t have an experience of self-transcendence unless you’re approaching the activity from, from the frame of mind of happiness and trying to find happiness that can only be measured by, you know, by trying to enjoy each moment.
Sanjay: For me happiness that or at least a limited sense of happiness only came if I want to race or like place for a second or third. Um, so it wasn’t until the last few years that I understood what self-transcendence was and then, yeah, I had a couple of experiences, you know, that lasted 24 30 hours and really long races. That just blew my mind. I was effectively, and I’m saying this as having meditated, not for 25 years. I was effectively in my highest meditation. Like when you sit in silence forever, I was in that highest state of meditation and I was running and it literally lasted an on, on the last occasion. It lasted about 22 hours. I was in six day race. Um, and I couldn’t shake it and that’s when I realized the truth of this idea of self-transcendence through running.
Guy: Yeah. Amazing. Amazing. Under two skew think as well, we can get caught up chasing that experience and actually miss the joy along the way.
Sanjay: Yeah. So like when I started thinking about like practical bits of advice that I wish I’d like absorbed years ago, um, you know, when we do, you know, you’re, you’re a great athlete. Like when we do any type of sporting activity, whether it’s yoga or whether it’s running, you know, very rarely are we actually present. Um, it’s obviously much easier in yoga than it is maybe in running or skiing or, uh, you know, or cycling. Um, many times when we’re working out, even at the gym, it’s like [inaudible] in our minds, the activity is over. Before we start, we’re thinking about how many miles we’re going to do, how many sets we’re going to do. Um, you’re just ticking off boxes. The joy comes from finishing a set, finishing a mile. Um, we’re often plugged into like an iPhone and you know, really looking to push through the hour or two that we’ve allotted.
Sanjay: And I, I’ve learned like I don’t run with music anymore and I literally try to just listen to my feet. Yeah. Effectively on mother earth and the Navajo medicine man said mother earth is under the sidewalk too. So like, don’t worry if you can’t run in canyons. So I tried to literally listen to my feet and I try to consciously understand that I’m breathing in nature. Um, you know, we tend to think of ourselves as totally dissociated from nature unless we’re in some kind of like outdoor cathedral, like a gorgeous park or like at the ocean. But mother earth is everywhere. Obviously air is nature, you know, sound is nature, sky is nature. And as long as those are around you, first of all, it means you’re alive. But as long as those things are around you, you can be conscious of your relationship there. So my path and running now is literally trying to find joy in the moments. Um, and I still race a lot and I found a big, much more present in my training, makes the races actually enjoyable. Whereas prior, you know, races were horrible and the only joy came from finishing.
Guy: Yeah. Yeah. That’s great advice. That’s amazing. I want to raise, um, cause I remember I had some bullet points and I saw one saying about the marathon monks and they said the real life hunger games. I was like, Oh, what the hell is that about? And then I started looking into it and that just blew my mind. So I thought you gotta gotta talk about these guys a little bit, if that’s okay.
Sanjay: I mean we were really lucky in making 3,100 run and become, you know, obviously about the race in New York is pretty accessible, but you know, no one had filmed the Navajo ultra marathoners. Nobody recently had hunted with the Kalahari bushmen and there’s an elusive sect of Buddhist monks outside, uh, the kind of ancient, um, city of Kyoto, kind of like the, the spiritual center of Japan. And for the last 5,000 years, they choose one aspirin every seven or eight years to do a thousand days of running. Now everybody has to put their math hats on for a second. Those thousand days are split up into 1,000 day cycles. Um, and so some years they just do one cycle of a hundred days. Some years they do two cycles. Each day of each cycle has a set mileage. So in cycle one, two and three, the set mileage is around 11.2 11.6 miles per day.
Sanjay: And that’s around a mountain loop through the forest. A single track trail that, you know, it has an elevation change of about a thousand meters, but by the time they get to the seventh and eighth and ninth cycles, they’re doing 35 miles a day, which is effectively about 58 kilometers a day. Um, in the last cycle they’re doing 56 miles a day, which is effectively about 92 kilometers a day. And here’s the kicker. Um, if they don’t finish their mileage on it any single day, they are required to take their lives. I mean, that’s a, a pretty heavy responsibility. At the same time, you know, to a lesser degree, like, like the 3,100, you know, if you don’t toe the starting line already with the capacity to find joy and use joy to propel you, you’re not gonna make it. And it’s not like the marathon monks as they’re kind of affection affectionately are colloquially known.
Sanjay: Um, nobody there is thinking about this consequences at all. You know, they’re using this as an experience of bliss. Um, but they told me when I asked, you know, what, what’s the, the, the, the continued purpose of this, this final condition? They said, you know, they said, if we didn’t have this type of ultimate condition, who knows, you know, now 5,000 years into the practice, maybe it would have gone from, you know, a thousand days to 700 days to 600 days. You know, maybe somebody failed on the 300th day and we would have said like, oh, give him a mulligan. You know, give them a pass and everybody gets a pass. And you know, the, the actual effort becomes diluted. Um, no, granted, no one has taken their lives in the last 150 or 200 years. Um, they’re much, much more selective about the people that they, that they allow to do this undertaking. But it’s heavy. You know, it’s like, it’s literally, you know, a prayerful trek every day for hours with the ultimate purpose of spiritual enlightenment. That’s one serious commitment. It’s incredible. Yeah. Yeah. I’m, I’m so, I’m so glad that like a 3,100 mile runners don’t have to like, you know, string themselves up or stab themselves in the gut if they don’t fit. If it’s Haley violence. This blew my mind when I heard that. And was there an element of fasting that was involved? Yeah.
Sanjay: Good. Good members after the sixth cycle, you know, with enough time to rest a, the aspirant has to fast for eight and a half days. No. You know, for a lot of people, you know, eight and a half days, you know, it’s not a big deal. We’ve all done juice fast or even water fast. But this is no sleep for eight and a half days. No Water for eight. And a half days, no water, no water. And they have to sit and chant 24 hours a day. Um, and there’s monks that are with them sitting next to them helping them chance. But it said that by the eight and a half day or the eighth day, you know, in 12 hours, um, the aspirin can actually hear the ash falling off of incense. And you know, on the, on the kind of more physical side, they can smell food that’s been cooked three or four miles away. Um, they’re given one thimbleful about one ounce of water a day to rinse out their mouth to their cheeks. Don’t stick to their gums permanently. Um, but they’ve got to spit all that water out. Um, and that basically takes them to the edge of the mortal coil. Um, they’re given three, four, five, six months to recover. But apparently after that, once they started getting into the 55, 58 kilometers a day, the 92 kilometers a day, uh, those efforts don’t seem hard at all because they basically conquered the idea of suffering on a physical level.
Guy: Oh my God, that just seems so far removed from my life. It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable. And did you meet people that have completed?
Sanjay: Well, we followed one aspirant in his ninth cycle and the monks there don’t really let anybody follow these aspirants because you know, one slipped move by a camera man, you know, could sprain the ankle of an aspirin and really make kids his journey, literally, you know, life or death. Um, so we got rare permission to spend a lot of time up there and you know, we, we purposely didn’t interact with the aspirin. We just kind of let him do his own thing. But I, I feel by, you know, by, by following him and shooting him in a very cinematic way, we were able to really capture his journey without many words at all.
Guy: What a privilege. Yeah, it really was. Yeah. Incredible. And um, and you mentioned the, the tribe as well. So how did they incorporate running into their hunting?
Sanjay: So, you know, traditionally it’s believed that human beings survived on the Savannah because of two reasons. Number one, you know, when we stood up on two feet, we were the only animals that could run and breathe in different cycles. Like if a quadro pad, you know, extends its legs, it’s automatically inhaling. And when the legs push and come together, it’s automatically exhaling. And so there’s a lot of power from, from that type of breathing. But there’s no endurance at all. I’m pardon me. [inaudible] so [inaudible] said that, you know, we could stand and breathe decoupled, but we could also carry water. You know, what other animal decides a camel. It can carry water there. There are none. Um, so it said that, you know, we evolved and became stronger as, as, as a, as a species by inventing this idea of a persistence hunt, carrying our own water, but chasing large game away from watering holes.
Sanjay: And so that required a deep intimate knowledge of the land. Um, you know, and you chase an animal, it would take off it, you know, 60 k an hour and run like five miles and you track it, um, and then chase it again and chase it again and chase it again until after two days. It’s struggling and suffering from dehydration and you know, with, with no danger to oneself, you could approach the animal and shoot a poison Arrow into it from four or five meters away. Um, that said, you know, we spent time with the Kalahari Bushmen who are, you know, some of the only, uh, people on earth that are still practicing this persistence hunting. And they told us that their strike doesn’t come from any evolutionary advantage. It doesn’t come from, you know, being able to track an animal. It doesn’t come from being able to carry water.
Sanjay: You know, they know that when they move and they run, the power of prayer is what gives them the ultimate advantage over the animal. You know, they say they’re able to read the movements of the animal through intuition, which they glean from mother earth. They’re able to make the final sprints because they’re getting energy from their ancestors and energy from mother earth. That said, the sad reality in which we, we captured in the film is that the government of Botswana has made it illegal for Bushmen to hunt. Um, just like, you know, just like every other Westernized, educated government on earth, there is a very strong anti indigenous bias. Um, and so those, a, the same genocide that went on with the aborigines 150 years ago with native Americans in the United States, you know, 125 years ago is happening right now in Botswana.
Guy: That’s sad. That’s so sad. The M it’s really interested in, it almost starts to make me feel how disconnected on my from nature and everything because of the western lifestyle and technology. And we were so caught up in, in our, in our external worlds constantly. And you think that we’re all stressed and when we never give ourselves the time to be and start to experience these states,
Sanjay: you know, I, I’m, I’m no expert, but what I’ve learned through this movie and I lived in New York City, um, is hmm. Mother Nature is everywhere. Like, like we were saying like we are, we are beings constantly surrounded by nature. We might not be by trees or by like rivers and might not be like harvesting our own food, but you know, we can have a relationship with mother earth if we approach mother earth with utmost humility. And it’s an understanding that it’s like it’s a privilege to be walking on mother earth. It’s a privilege to be breathing in father’s guy and there’s no greater way to amplify that attitude in your life that you experience it while running.
Guy: Yeah. Here’s a question for you. So somebody listening to this go and I love the idea of starting to experience this connection, this even this transcendence, but they don’t run. Do we have to go out there and start running or are there other practices that you would feel would help?
Sanjay: You know, it depends on people’s level of interest or fitness. You know, walking has always been a very important spiritual practice. I mean, if you can imagine how important the idea of pilgrimage was for tens of thousands of years. Even in the more modern Judeo Christian traditions, the idea of walking to holy places, I’m in India, it’s still very much, you know, a part of like regular lifestyle. People make pilgrimages to Mecca. Um, you know, and, and that’s the act of praying with one’s feet. That’s all it is. It’s like, can you find an aspect of your life where you can combine movement and prayer? Um, obviously there are some practices that combined both if done the right way, like, like yoga. Um, but anything can be done with a prayer for consciousness at the same time. It’s like anything where we’re relying on our breath, where you can get your heartbeat up a little bit more than, than arresting heartbeat. Um, and really focus on breath and understanding that you’re breathing in something cosmetic. You’re breathing in an element which connects every single earthly being. Um, and you know, even animals under the sea, you have to, to breathe a form of oxygen. Um, but that, that’s as close to nature as you can get your breathing nature into your lungs.
Guy: Yeah. Beautiful. And I would say to the running, do you have a meditation practice or is that your meditation?
Sanjay: I, I do, I, I do think it’s really, really important to, to understand, you know, what silencing the mind feels like. Um, and that as, as you know, you’re an expert as, as you know, it’s like that’s easy as done when you’re just focusing on that through a daily practice.
Guy: Yeah, totally. Absolutely. Now I ask everyone on the set of questions on the show and I’d love to, um, hear your thoughts and things, but, um, one, the one question is, what’s been the low point in your life that’s later been a blessing? What turned out to be a blessing?
Sanjay: You know, I,
Sanjay: I, I, I hate to put it this way, but I, okay. I, I, I don’t remember low points and I don’t want to remember low points. Like my, my philosophy and this comes from, from my teacher’s reach and why my philosophy is past is dust. You know, like each day is a new beginning and it’s like, I just try to be happy right now. And you know, even if the most kind of like dis obviously as like there, there are things that kind of busted you and in life and you know, it’s not, you’re not always in the best kind of weather or eating the best types of meals inwardly or outwardly. Everyone kind of gets into a zone of darkness. But I don’t want that and I don’t want suffering. I don’t wanna think about suffering. I don’t want to think about past experiences of suffering, you know, like I’m trying to find freedom from that, from the negativity which, which is in me and which is around me.
Sanjay: Um, and to do that, it’s like I strongly feel that anything that’s not illumining anything that’s not fulfilling anything, that when I think of it doesn’t give me joy and happiness. I throw it away. Um, and I, and I did, I did quip before, you know, the, the, the podcast started. But I’ve gained a lot of like insight through mistakes, but I don’t look at mistakes as mistakes. I look at mistakes as experiences. I look at failures literally as opportunities and I can find a sense of victory and all of these experiences. Um, just by changing my attitude towards them.
Guy: Yeah, it’s amazing isn’t it? That the awareness and to have the attitude is key though, right? You know?
Sanjay: Yeah. But I, I see it in running and I see it in the 3,100 mile race. Cause folks there get blisters every day. There’s heat rash and chafing like you wouldn’t believe. And if their minds focused on those problems, um, those problems get amplified. I mean, we know that. It’s like, you know, if you allow yourself to enjoy a moment of suffering, putting on like your Robert Smith cure songs and all that stuff and like wallowing in it, you can’t shake it off. You know, it’s like it just sticks, it grows and it gets magnified. So I see that with running. It’s a metaphor. It’s like you get a blister. Is he going to you, can you take care of it with them? Tape? Yeah. Is it going to kill you? No. Do you have to attend to it yet? But then it’s like you have to like minimize it through joy. And I look at that as, as something I’m trying to practice to the best of my ability and my day to day life.
Guy: Yeah. That’s such a great piece of advice. And Yeah. Do you think suffering is a choice?
Sanjay: Oh, well, you know, it’s, I, I probably would sound like the most arrogant person. Yes. I didn’t really acknowledge the fact that a lot of people have experiences which are deeply bruising, uh, which can affect us on, on BMI, like death, death of loved ones, you know, like just dissolution of, of rural relationships that come in and unplanned, you know, like, uh, you know, unintended way. Like those experiences are brutal and, and I definitely think that, you know, a, a part of it, of a part of a person dies, um, during those really horrific experiences of suffering. But that said, it’s like we don’t make progress through suffering, you know, I guarantee you, like no one has made progress through the act of suffering. It’s like we make progress, but from negative experiences, by moving past the suffering as quickly as we can and moving into that realm of awareness and insight and understanding our relationship with what just happened and, and how we want that event to affect our future. Um, so I, I don’t think sufferings, the answer, I think it’s something that we, that we’re all hit with, um, and some types of suffering are much more difficult to transcend than others. But the goal has to be transcendence.
Guy: Yeah. Beautiful. I love that. And it’s almost been able to take the wisdom from the suffering that you’ve experienced and then applied that into your life to bring more happiness and peace and joy and
Sanjay: yeah. And, and, and like, like folks like you that they coach people through those, those, those types of issues, you know, that really understand, you know, there’s a formula for going beyond and there, there’s a, there’s pathways for like learning to come to terms that they’re suffering and then, you know, not allowing it to affect your sense of satisfaction on a day to day life.
Guy: Yeah. Yeah. Beautiful. Um, what does your morning routine look like?
Sanjay: Uh, you know, I, I usually, you know, get up between, I don’t know, I’m not, I’m not super disciplined, but usually get up around five 45, five 50. Um, I meditate in the morning. I don’t try to set any records in the morning cause I’m not a morning person. So I don’t say like I’ve got to meditate for an hour, I’ve got to meditate for 45 minutes, minutes. I, I meditate for as long as I’m able to be aware and awake cause I do not like going back to sleep after that meditation. So it doesn’t, meditations can be 15 minutes long, they can be 20 minutes long, but they give me the feeling, the refreshing feeling to start the day with a clear mind. Um, and then, you know, I’m, I’m always working on something, whether it’s, it’s a film or whether, you know, I’m helping out at a multi-day long distance race. So there’s always work that pretty much starts at seven, seven 38 in the morning. And, um, I’m lucky enough that I can pretty much set my own schedule. Um, and you know, I tend to work to some capacity probably till eight or nine at night, but in a very healthy way, in a very measured way. I’m with breaks and runs and other things. But, you know, I find that I’m, I’m much more fulfilled when I’ve got a lot of activity going on.
Guy: Yeah. Beautiful, beautiful. Um, if you could have dinner with anyone tonight, from any timeframe, anywhere in the world past, present, who would it be, do you think? And why?
Sanjay: I mean, I love this conversation, so I would actually like to have dinner with you. We’re so far away, it’s all, we’re just hanging out through like, you know, a, a couple of headphone cords. Um, so yeah, that, that’s pretty much my answer. But if you want the kind of more like, like, like imaginative, imaginative one. Oh, you know, the people that I think that I would like to meet, like, like various saints and sages, you know, I think that, that, that I wouldn’t be able to eat dinner. I think I’d like to like meditate with certain people. You know, I like to just bask in the glow. And if they see me just like scarfing down food, which I usually do, they might not want to give me a deeper experience. Um, so yeah, it’s like, I, I’d love to meditate with a bunch of people, you know, Ramana Maharshi, so we are been those three Ramakrishna, a kind of modern Indian sages and saints. Um, and if I had a chance to like eat a bowl of rice and some yogurt with them would, that would be awesome.
Guy: Yeah. Brilliant, brilliant. And A, I, it makes me think in the about that if I had heard that statement maybe 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have connected at all thinking what that why would you want to sit and meditate with someone, you know, like from, from somebody then that wasn’t meditating. You know, it’s such a, um, but now that somebody doesn’t, some, some have quite profound experiences over time. It, it just, it’s just such a great, a great thing to do, you know?
Sanjay: Yeah. I mean I, I live in New York, so it’s like I have access to pretty cool people, pretty great food. Um, I, I would like to run with certain people, but when I, when those wishes have come true, like they’ve dusted me and I haven’t been able to like really enjoy the runs cause I’m so much further behind than they are. I, I choose my activities wisely.
Guy: Yeah, yeah, yeah. No. Brilliant. Um, with everything we covered today, is there anything you’d like to leave the listeners to ponder on?
Sanjay: Oh, you know, it’s, at least for me, living in the states right now, it’s, it’s, it’s really difficult to try to maintain a sense of positivity and, uh, to, with climate change, with all these global issues. Um, it’s, it’s tough to figure out like what the future is going to look like and that that can be worrying. But, you know, I don’t disconnect myself from the world. I’ve pretty up to date on stuff that’s happening. But what I feel is I deem most important thing for me is to be happy. I mean, it, it seems like it’s totally selfish, but I know that when opportunities come to actually be of service to greater, more global issues, if I’m not in a good consciousness, if I’m not in a good friend of mine, you know, I’m not the right person. And that’s, I just try to call it the right, the idea of being the best instrument I can either to help a friend to do something maybe a little bit bigger, um, to work on a bigger, more, you know, impactful documentary project. Um, but I feel like
Guy: it really begins with, with my own level of, of joy in life. Yeah. Wonderful. It’s almost, I, I often think of just trying to be the example of myself that I would want to see in others and the more I allow that to come through me and flow those greater impact that seem to have on and everything around you.
Sanjay: Yeah, that’s a good piece of advice for me. Like I’m, I just came back from, uh, a fellow who finished at 3,100 mile race and I was definitely agitated and squawking at people to get out of his way. So I will take your piece of advice and your, your reflection to hearts.
Guy: So we’re waking, everyone watch the movie. Like how can we go about getting it?
Sanjay: It depends on the country, but in most countries it’s available on Amazon and on iTunes and on Google play kind of a slow rollout. There’s some countries that we haven’t quite hit yet, but that’s because distribution is slow. Um, but stay tuned because we are going to be out everywhere in the next few months.
Guy: Awesome. 3000, 100 and becomes check it out. And you’re on social media as well.
Sanjay: Yeah, I you can follow this number’s race. Um, and all the things that happened at 3,100 film on Instagram, um, or myself at Mr Sanjay are my last, it knows the initial of my last name. Yeah, 10 tend to bounce around. So it’s not necessarily the most epic in terms of like action or like celebrities. But you know, I’ve, I was in Montana last week, I was, you know, on a native American reservation, a you, we spoke before on the sidewalk of Queens today. So it’s a good variation in variety.
Guy: No, totally. I was already saying off air. It was just, I don’t understand. I just started following you on Instagram. I just saw you in this amazing terrain running and I was like, car, where in the world? Dizzy, you know?
Sanjay: Yeah. You know, I don’t get opportunities, you know, I’m, I’m not a kind of sponsored guy. I’m not really into like product placement in my movies. But there was this headphone company called Jaybird and they were organizing a retreat, you know, in this area that was carved by glaciers and the state of Montana on the border of the U S and Canada. And it wasn’t even so much about like getting free product. But yeah, Timothy Olson, one of the best ultra runners, um, rich roll the, the podcasts guy and his wife’s three muddy, who is a Vegan chef, a Knox Robinson, a bunch of really ex selecting people were gathered. And it’s Kinda, it was just kind of embarrassing cause we all stayed in Yurts, you know, and we went on runs, you know, at 8,000, 9,000 feet, you know, 25, three a hundred, 300, 3000 meters. Um, and we just got to experience some of the most gorgeous land that I’ve ever seen. Um, and so that was there and gave me a good breath of fresh air from the sidewalk of Queens.
Guy: Yeah. Brilliant! Well, Sanjay, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today and also thank you for bringing out this, this documentary and bringing this work to the attention
Guy: of people. Cause I had no idea this went on. And, uh.
Sanjay: This whole film has been a great opportunity from meetup to meet with folks like you, connect with folks like you. And I really get a chance to be a part of the lives of the great audiences that, that you’ve cultivated. So thank you.
Guy: You’re welcome. I appreciate it, mate. Thanks.
Sanjay: It’s my pleasure, my honor. Thank you.