Question: I am not very sure that I understand what you mean by inner peace or keeping the mind quiet. When I am very close to nature, near the sea or beside flowers or anything that is Nature, I get a feeling of peace. I would like to enjoy this peaceful feeling everywhere, even when I am in places that are not so quiet. But I am not sure that I can ascertain if this is inner peace or whether it is just the atmosphere of the place that gives me this peaceful feeling.

Sri Chinmoy: Your peaceful feeling is altogether a different experience from the inner peace I was speaking of. What is actually happening in your case is that you are identifying your outer mind with Nature. Nature has its own rhythm, its own harmony, its own peace and its own joy. When you are identified, consciously or unconsciously, with universal Nature, it is all vastness and immensity. There you lose your own outer existence, the existence of separateness, the feeling that you are separate from other persons. In that state of unified oneness, you become totally one with universal Nature; you become part and parcel of the vast and the Infinite. There you forget your ordinary life, which is your name, your physical frame and your outer existence. Indeed, this is a wonderful experience! In that state, you do not have to make your mind calm and quiet, for your mind itself is not functioning; you have already become identified with the treasure of universal Nature's consciousness.

In that state, your mind is not responding; you are not talking to anyone. No. You are seeing the trees, you are seeing the ocean; but actually you are not functioning mentally. But you have identified yourself with these natural things, and now what they represent and what they have is being mirrored in your own outer life. So this experience is entirely different from the experience that I was speaking about.

I was speaking about inner peace, which most seekers, at the beginning, do not have. When they seek, they have constant attacks of worries, anxieties, doubts, along with constant normal thoughts. Even when they are not talking to anybody, the mind is responding. But in your experience your mind is not responding to any of the disturbances of the outer world. Your soul has become one with universal Nature. The things which are encompassed by Universal Nature are representing themselves before your mental vision as your very own. At the same time, you become the witness, totally detached, observing things but not responding.

This is a very good experience, a very high experience. You are trying to identify yourself with cosmic Nature. This is very good, but this experience is different from the experience that I was referring to.