Question: How can you tell the difference between true intuition and imagination?

Sri Chinmoy: If you soulfully follow a spiritual path for a few months, if your prayer, concentration and meditation are intense, and if you know how to contemplate intensely also, then you will be able to feel inner guidance within you. When you meditate early in the morning, your inner being will tell you what is going to happen, what others are going to think of you. But in order to develop proper intuition, or the intuitive faculty, aspiration has to be very, very sincere and intense. Otherwise, it will be all imagination or mental hallucination.

Try to feel that there is a burning flame inside you which is mounting all the time. In the process of mounting high, higher, highest you will see that it is spreading its divine Light all around. And in this Light you are bound to develop a direct vision of Truth. You will see that the length and breadth of the world — your inner world — has been illumined. In darkness, we do not see anything. Even if you place the most valuable treasure right in front of me, I will not see it, because there is no light. But if the flame of aspiration within me is rising towards the highest and spreading its Light, then I will get an immediate flash of intuition. For in Light there is reality. In Light there is constant divinity. So when you have the flame of aspiration within you, divinity and reality are at your disposal. In this way, you will always feel these flashes of intuition and you will not remain in the world of imagination.

But again, if you imagine something nice about God, do not worry at all. If you imagine that God is all Compassion for you, but you have not yet felt God's compassionate aspect, or if you imagine that God is all Concern and Love for you, but you have not felt God's divine Love and Concern, no harm. Today it may be imagination but tomorrow you will feel it as the truth, because these are all realities. You have not yet felt it, but many spiritual seekers and all spiritual Masters have felt it and realised it.