Question: I know that in the spiritual life I should always feel optimistic, but at times I feel frustrated or sad. When I feel like this, have I failed in some way?

Sri Chinmoy: This experience is not necessarily a failure in God's Eyes, but a delay in our spiritual journey. We should always see light in us, with us and around us because it is in light that consciousness performs its role most satisfactorily. When we are cheerful, when we are optimistic, light can enter into us to stay.

It is true that if suffering and pain are around us and inside us it is very difficult to see the bright side. But I have seen in my own life and in my disciples' lives that the deeper we go, the easier it is for us to remain in light. Suffering, failure and depression do not disturb us when we are in light. If they do appear, we should see them as experiences, not as enemies that want to take us away from the path of realisation. Most of us get a kind of subtle pleasure in suffering and pain. Sometimes we even unconsciously invite suffering in the inner plane. Then, when that suffering manifests on the outer level, we curse God, crying, "Why do I have to suffer so much?" But actually we enjoy our sufferings in a subtle way.

Frustration and depression can never, never help us. When we cry, it must not be from frustration and depression. We must cry from our inmost hearts, with the intense mounting flame of aspiration. This is the cry that takes us to the Highest. Spiritual people must be optimistic because they must have faith in God's Light. We must try to remain in light and not in night or darkness. If we remain in light, then there can be no sense of failure and no frustration.

Life itself is light, but we do not know how to look at life in the right way. The moment we look at life we think that it is something transitory, giving us an experience of frustration. We feel it is like a dream. But if we look at life from a correct angle, we will feel that it is part of the Life eternal. Before birth there is life; in birth, in creation, there is life. After death there is also life, eternal Life. When we feel that there is eternal Life, and that this life on earth is a mere portion of the continuity of eternal Life, then we can have no sense of failure and depression.

It is easy for us to see what is happening in the physical or in the vital. But it is difficult for us to see what is happening in the heart or in the soul. Once we can see this, we see that it is all delight. From delight we came into existence; in delight we grow; and into delight we retire at the end of our life's journey. If we can take our mind off our vital suffering and throw it into the sea of the soul, we shall see there is no more frustration, no more sadness and no more defeat.