Question: Does the spiritual life preclude other kinds of normal activities in life? I mean ... does the spiritual life mean that you have to give up what you happen to be doing at the time, say, being an interior decorator?Sri Chinmoy: Not in the least. The spiritual life, if it is the true spiritual life, will never negate anything. It will always accept. First it will accept, then it will embrace; then it will become one with the activity itself. What for? For its transformation. It identifies itself with the activity in order to transform it. The spiritual life will never reject anything. If it is the true and integral spiritual life, it will accept each and every activity as an opportunity to go to God and manifest God.
You asked about work. Now there are two kinds of work: In the ordinary kind of work, you do something and then immediately you ask for the result. Then when you get the result, you say, "No, perhaps I could have got a better result." There is no end to it. If you want real joy, you will not get it by fulfilling a desire for a particular result. You won't get real joy. But in the second kind of work, in true spiritual work, you do the work but you do not care for the fruit or the result. Only by having the right attitude, will you become a happy person. If you do the work with a divine attitude, then it will not be the result which gives you joy, but the very act.
So within the spiritual life, we can easily house the outer life. But the true spiritual life will never ask the outer life to remain separate. No. What it does is that it enters into the physical life or the outer life and it tries to expedite the movement and progress of the outer life in a divine way.
What do we mean by the spiritual life? We mean that it is a life of inspiration, aspiration and inner communion. When you are able to meditate for a few minutes, the mind does not become a victim to doubts, impure thoughts, and unhealthy ideas. When there is no doubt, you can do some work in a very few minutes. If there is a little shadow of doubt, though, it may take an hour or even a day. So even in your day-to-day activities, the spiritual life is a great help in achieving success. And if you really and truly accept the spiritual life, you will see that in the twinkling of an eye, most of your difficulties not only decrease but disappear. This happens because in your spiritual life there is abundant strength which you don't have in your outer life. This abundant strength, when it comes to the fore, makes the outer life surrender automatically to the inner life. And when it surrenders, it is not from compulsion, but from a spontaneous, inner feeling. It surrenders with joy because it feels that in surrender itself, it gets the full power and total bliss of the inner life.
So to come back to your question, the spiritual life is the greatest help to the outer life. You can say that it is the elder brother of the younger brother. The elder brother will always beckon the younger one. In every way the spiritual life helps the outer life. Unfortunately, people harbour a wrong conception of the spiritual life when they think it means giving up the world. If you give up the world, where are you going to establish God's Truth, God's Kingdom? It is right here on earth that Self-realisation or God-realisation can take place. Not in heaven. Heaven is a state of consciousness. And here, earth is also a state, but it is a physical place where one has to manifest God. And it is through the spiritual life that the synthesis of the spiritual life and the outer life can be made. Again it is only through the spiritual life that God-manifestation can take place on earth.