Question: I've found in my search for God that He is all around me and within me. The unity with Him is becoming very understandable. What is puzzling me is the separation. What is the sense of separation?

Sri Chinmoy: If you see and feel Him around you and within you, then how can you have a sense of separation? Inside me is the heart; inside me is the soul. If something is outside my body, then I can have a feeling of separation. But I cannot separate my heart from my body or from myself. Because body and heart are part and parcel of each other and of my life, if I separate the one from the other, then I don't exist at all. If you really feel God within you, then I wish to say that there can be no sense of separation.

What actually happens, let us say, is that this moment you are living in your heart and you feel God's Presence within you and His Presence looms large. But the next moment, perhaps you are living in the physical mind. At that time you doubt your own existence and you doubt the reality that you have just experienced. When you start doubting, the sense of separativity comes into existence. At that time you feel that you are losing something, that you are separated from something. But you don't lose anything. Once you have got something, it is there within you. But if you don't know how to utilise it all the time at your sweet will, then you feel that you have lost it.

When you pray early in the morning, at that time you feel God's Presence within you and around you. Then, when you enter into the hustle and bustle of life, perhaps you forget God's existence. The moment you forget, you feel a sense of separation. But I wish to say that the sense of separation is not actually caused by the absence of God within you. His Presence is there, but ignorance enters into you and veils your consciousness, which a few hours ago early in the morning helped you identify with God and feel your inseparable oneness with Him.

That is why inwardly we try to remain in constant prayer or meditation. Outwardly it is impossible. We have to stay on earth; we have to go to the office, we have to go to school, we have to enter into multifarious activities. But inside our mind, inside our heart, we can do whatever we want. Outwardly we may talk to our friends, and do everything that is necessary in our day-to-day life, but inside we can keep the living Presence of God. Since we have the soul within us, we feel we are divine; since we have the aspiring heart within us, we feel that we are divine. So also, when we go outside and mix with our friends, we have to remember — not out of pride or vanity, but out of sheer necessity — that we are of the Divine and we are for the Divine.

We have to feel not only the divinity in ourselves, but also the divinity in others. For in this way we can feel our oneness with the Supreme in mankind. One way to feel our oneness with others is to feel that we are everything. But then we may come to think that we are superior to everyone, and that will only ruin our purpose. If we feel that only we are divine, that only we possess divinity whereas others possess undivine forces, then immediately there will be a clash. But if we feel, while we are mixing with others, that we are of the Source, then we shall try also to see the Divine in others. If we feel that we are divine and, while talking and mixing with others, if we can see the Divine in them, then our divinity and their divinity will not quarrel or clash. When we feel that we are divine, it is absolutely true. But at the same time we have to feel that others are also divine, equally divine.

Our difficulty is that most of the time we don't have that kind of feeling. While we are praying at home, we see and feel God; God is ours. But the moment we come out of our house and look around at others, we don't try to see God inside them. What we try to see in them is imperfection, something unlike ourselves. After our meditation, we come out of the heart and enter into the mind, or we enter into the vital. Then we try to separate ourselves from others and we see others as undivine. But when we come out into the world, if we can bring with us the divinity that we saw and felt during our meditation at home, and if we try to see the same divinity in others, then there is no feeling of separation. And if we see the same thing in others which we feel inside ourselves, then we shall never miss God's Presence. We shall never lose our feeling of oneness with God.