Question: When we are on the spiritual path, when difficulties and desires come forward is it because the Supreme is bringing them to expedite our spiritual progress, or are these just wrong forces which we have to overcome so that we will run faster?

Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme will not bring extra desires and impurities into our mind or life because we have entered into the life of aspiration and spirituality. It is He who has given us aspiration, so why should He give us desire, which is directly opposite to aspiration? No, He will not deliberately impede our progress in this way. These desires seem suddenly to appear, but they are not really new to us. They existed before in our life, but we did not notice them so much because our life was totally enveloped in myriad desires.

When we become conscious of the divine inner life, when we begin praying and meditating, we realise that desire is a tiger, a ferocious animal which we have been feeding and feeding, and we realise that we must not feed it any more. Then our desires become enraged at us. They say, “All this time you were feeding us and we were most grateful, but now you have started starving us.” Then all the frustrated desires form a league and attack us in every possible way, causing troubles with the family, friends, jobs, emotional relationships and so on.

While we are in the ordinary life there is no intensity. Today we have one desire, tomorrow four and the next day ten or twenty. But we are rarely intense even in trying to achieve and fulfil our own desires. Our desires are mere wishes. We do not have the capacity or the willingness to work to fulfil them. We want to be rich or famous or great or brilliant or beautiful, but far from working to achieve these desires, we will not even pray sincerely for their fulfilment.

When a seeker enters into the spiritual path, if he has not wholeheartedly accepted it, or if he is not far advanced, then during his meditation the same desires may come forward. He will begin to think, “This person is very rich, this person is very beautiful, this person has some good qualities which I do not have.” While he is praying for Peace, Light and Bliss, one part of his being may be consciously and deliberately cherishing the desire to become a multimillionaire. At that time, the intensity of the seeker’s meditation meets with these earthly desires. Then what happens? The intensity enters into the desires and makes them much stronger than they previously were.

Unconsciously or consciously we allow thoughts to come into us, and the intensity of our meditation increases or strengthens them. But the Supreme has not given us these obstacles. He has given us the aspiration to pray for Peace, Light and Bliss. We have associated with desires for many, many years. When we want to break off the connection, these old friends of ours say, “Where are you going? Why should we allow you to go into another room? Are you not satisfied with us? Even if you are not satisfied with us, you have eaten at our table. Now you have to pay the fee. We will not allow you to go.” They will fight with all their strength to bring us back to their domain. With great difficulty we come out of their room and enter into aspiration-room. Then they come and flatter us. They make us feel that we do not need these aspiring qualities; that Peace is unreal, Light is unreal, Bliss is unreal. They say, “Don’t stay there. Come back to us, where everything is real. We shall fulfil you and you shall fulfil us.”

It is through the unillumined mind that desires try to approach us even after we have entered into the life of aspiration. The best thing we can do is never to allow any impurity in the form of desire, doubt, anxiety, jealousy or any unaspiring thoughts to enter our minds during meditation. If a desire comes to us while we are not meditating it is not good to cherish it, but it is infinitely worse to cherish it during meditation. If we cherish desire or any impure thought during meditation, then we are simply strengthening the power of the negative forces and making our own spiritual journey more difficult.

To all seekers I wish to say, at the time of your meditation please be very careful. If you cannot remain in your highest, purest, deepest meditation for more than five minutes, no harm. When the mind begins roaming you can silently recite spiritual poems or chants or sing spiritual songs. But do not allow the mind to enter into desire-land. It is better to build castles in the air where there is only sweetness and imagination, for if you begin cherishing desires, then you will fall.

But when desires come into our life of aspiration, we must not be afraid of them. We must take them as hurdles. It is true that if there are no obstacles or impediments in our way we will run faster. But if there are impediments, each time we cross one hurdle we get additional strength and encouragement to try to cross another one. If we have no hurdles we are fortunate. But if we do have some because of our long association with ignorance, we should feel confident that we will be able to transcend them because we have aspiration, the inner impetus to pass all obstacles and reach the Goal.

If we go deep within, we can see each difficulty as a boon. Formerly we were alone with our difficulties. Now we have become conscious aspirants, so God’s Grace has entered into our lives. God’s Grace is constantly helping the seeker. It stands between the difficulty and the seeker. If one sees millions of difficulties when he sincerely enters into the spiritual life, then he can see them also as millions of blessings, because God’s Grace is in them, illumining them. The sooner difficulties appear before us, the better, because we can surmount them right away. We should not be ungrateful to God, nor should we curse our fate when difficulties appear. We should be grateful that God has brought out all our impurities to be illumined and transcended as soon as possible. We have to face and conquer our enemies either today or tomorrow. If we make ourselves worthy of God’s Compassion and Grace, we will easily be able to overcome our difficulties.

If we find fault with the Supreme’s Law or His way of operating, we are making a mistake. We have to feel that we are lucky that we have entered into the spiritual life. Those who have not launched into the sea of spirituality, who are still wallowing in the pleasures of desire, do not even see the difficulties which surround them. They are totally satisfied with pleasure, which is always followed by frustration. They do not know that there is something else that they need, and that is God’s inner Freedom, inner Light, inner Bliss. Those who are awakened should be pleased that they at least have the ability to see the Goal ahead of them. If there are obstacles in their way, these obstacles cannot prevent them from running toward the Goal.