Question: How are our actions in life connected with the spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: If you are speaking about the material life that is being led, then I wish you to know that it is a half-animal life; not a full-animal life, but a half-animal life. The complete or full animal life we can see all around us — the monkeys, donkeys, dogs and cats and the destructive animals like the foxes and wolves. But we ourselves are half-animals. How? Every day, consciously or unconsciously, we are cherishing jealousy, doubt and destructive forces in our minds. This makes us half-animal from the spiritual point of view. An ordinary man, in comparison to a spiritual man, is a half-animal. When an animal stands in front of a human being, the man feels that he is far superior to the animal because he has a developed mind and a developed soul. That is why he feels superior. Similarly when a spiritual man stands in front of an ordinary man, he feels himself to be superior because he is crying for Light, Peace and Bliss, he is crying for inseparable oneness, conscious oneness with God.

When ordinary persons are constantly fighting in their minds and when jealousy, doubt, obscurity (which is darkness), impurity and imperfection loom large in their everyday life, day in and day out, then they are half-animal, from the spiritual point of view.

But again, when a spiritual person sees someone quarrelling and fighting all the time, he does not look down upon that person. An ordinary person when he sees a real animal, like an elephant or a tiger will immediately think, “Oh, here is a real animal! Thank goodness that I am a human being. You remain in your own life. I am so proud that I am not acting like you!” But a spiritual person, when he sees someone below his standard of consciousness, does not lord it over that person. On the contrary, he tries to help that person to kindle the flame of aspiration inside him.

Now in answering your question, if you are following the inner or spiritual life, then your activities can be motivated from this inner life. Each thought gives rise to action. If you are leading a spiritual life, then at every moment, God comes first in your life. To an ordinary person, God does not come first. Prosperity, power, importance, fame and other things come first. But a spiritual person immediately says, “God has to come first; the inner life has to come first.” From within we come without. An ordinary person usually feels that we should go from outside to inside. But this is impossible. “As we sow, so we reap”. We sow a seed and it germinates. Then it grows into a huge banyan tree. So our inner life must come first because everything in our outer life, whether or not it is spiritual, is a result and an embodiment of whatever is in the inner life. A spiritual person feels that the inner life is of paramount importance and that it has to come first. An ordinary person feels, “No, the spiritual life is vague and meaningless. Let us enjoy life. Let us possess and be possessed. Let us enjoy the world and let the world enjoy us. There is no bridge between the spiritual life and the ordinary life.” But a spiritual person sincerely cries and says, “Let me realise the Truth in its own way and then bring down the Truth into my outer life.” The Truth is within, and then it has to be felt and expressed outwardly also. Truth is universal, it is true, but only if we go deep within do we first get a glimpse of it.

So in our day-to-day life, if we can meditate for ten or fifteen minutes a day, we can enter into the source of life, eternal life. From there, we have to enter into the fleeting life of fifty, sixty or seventy years, which is our life-span. Every day, consciously, let us offer our spiritual breath, our divine breath, to the Inner Pilot. Then let us try to grow into the perfect image of God in our inner life. Then from this inner life, we have to come forward to the outer life.

Let us not attempt to govern our inner life only with outer capacity. Outer capacity means possession. By possessing something or someone, if we feel that we will be able to govern our inner existence, it is impossible. Inner existence is always flooded with light, delight and inseparable oneness with the cosmos, with the universe, and with the transcendental Supreme.

Coming back to your question, I wish to say that the more we follow the inner life, the more meaningful will be the outer life. Otherwise the outer achievement without the core, that is to say, without the inner life, will have no meaning. Nothing will satisfy you or me or anybody on earth except the inner life. The inner life is the life of the soul, where reality and divinity are constantly growing. So please follow the inner life and the inner life will guide you, inspire you, instruct you on how you can be divinely and supremely successful in your outer life.