Question: If I am compelled to adopt a sport which gives me less joy, can my inner progress be as great?

Sri Chinmoy: Your inner progress will always remain the same if you have a good attitude and the right approach to the goal. Because of some injuries or owing to circumstances, let us say that you cannot do the particular thing you want and you have to do something else. At this time you have to know whether you are doing this new thing to please yourself or to please God. If you are doing it to please yourself, then you may feel miserable, for you may feel that the old world which you were compelled to give up has given you so much joy, whereas you will not be able to derive the same kind of joy from your present life.

In my case, for instance, I have been running all my life and have derived tremendous joy from my running life. This new life — bodybuilding — is something totally new to me. I have had to say good-bye to my old, long-established friend and to make somebody else my close and intimate friend. Now, if I approach weightlifting thinking that I have discarded an old friend and am now trying to make a new friend, then naturally I will feel miserable. But there is another approach. I can feel that my old friend has played his role in my outer life, and now I have a new friend who is encouraging me and whom I am encouraging. That does not mean I will have nothing to do with my old friend. No! Still he is deep inside my heart, and whatever joy I got from him or gave to him I still have with me. I am full of love for my old friend and I am full of gratitude to him. But in the outer life, my old friend is unable to help me in any way, and I am unable to help him at the present moment.

With my new friend, which is weightlifting, I now have to establish the same kind of friendship. If I can have the same goodwill towards my new friend, and if my new friend can have the same goodwill towards me, then I will make the same progress. Inside the new friend also, I have to feel my inner Guide. Twenty years ago my Inner Pilot asked me to run, and I did it. Now, some unhappy injury is preventing me from running, but these are only outer circumstances. Even while I was in the prime of my running career, if my Inner Pilot had asked me to give up running and do weightlifting, if I had done it cheerfully, then as a seeker I would have made the same progress by doing weightlifting as I made through running. If He wants me to change my career or to change my way of life and to enter into a new field, then I can make the best progress by doing so cheerfully. A seeker can get lasting joy and make the fastest progress no matter what he does if he is doing it because he wants to please God, his Inner Pilot.

If a seeker wants to make progress, he has to identify himself cheerfully with the thing that he is practising, and he has to remember all the time that it is not personal success or personal glory but oneness-joy and oneness-peace that he is aiming at. Since his goal is certain, his approach to the goal should be sincere and direct, and he should throw himself into each activity soulfully, enthusiastically and unconditionally.

Sri Chinmoy, Aspiration-body, illumination-soul, part 1.First published by Agni Press in 1993.

This is the 933rd book that Sri Chinmoy has written since he came to the West, in 1964.

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by Sri Chinmoy
From the book Aspiration-body, illumination-soul, part 1, made available to share under a Creative Commons license

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