Sri Chinmoy: An athlete is already an artist. Art does not mean a piece of paper with a drawing of it. Art means discipline. The supreme art is a disciplined life. He who has disciplined his life is a great discoverer of truth, light, beauty, peace and bliss. In order to become a good athlete, one has to discipline one’s life considerably. One has to get up early in the morning to practise, and one has to practise hard again at noon or in the evening. One cannot become friends with lethargy, indolence and lack of punctuality. So the athlete’s disciplined life is already veritable proof that he is an artist.
An artist is he who has disciplined his life to discover the one Truth that manifests itself in various ways. With this discipline he expresses the beauty of life, reveals the duty of life and brings to the fore the Will of God. So, from the beginning, the artist must have a sense of discipline. The athlete already has a sense of discipline—the discipline of the body. The discipline of the physical consciousness is of paramount importance, for the physical discipline takes a very long time to achieve. Through prayer and meditation we can easily discipline the psychic consciousness, the mental consciousness and the vital consciousness. But it takes a very long time to discipline the physical consciousness, because the physical in us is like a mischievous monkey. It takes a very long time to establish a disciplined peace in our physical consciousness. So the athlete who has achieved this discipline in his outer life is undoubtedly an artist from the spiritual point of view.
Source: Sri Chinmoy, The Outer Running And The Inner Running, Agni Press, 1974