Question: Guru, at times in my meditation I get a feeling of great strength rising from my heart, clear and bright like a sword, and I feel great confidence and assurance. How can I grow more into this feeling?

Sri Chinmoy: You have to know from where this confidence is coming. Is it confidence from the vital, or from the heart and the soul? If you have confidence in your vital before the heart is totally purified and illumined, it will amount to destructive aggression. Many people have confidence: the boxer has confidence, the wrestler has confidence. But in their case their confidence is in their physical and vital power. Their ultimate aim is to injure their opponent. This is not the kind of confidence a spiritual aspirant should have, but it is what happens in the vital. When you draw strength from the vital it is very tricky. The heart is in the chest and the vital is right near the navel. Sometimes strength comes forward from the navel or a little above, and we feel that it is all from the heart, but actually it is coming from the vital.

Thousands of seekers, unfortunately, are victims of attacks from the vital. This vital is the emotional vital. Emotion is around the heart, inside the heart, around the vital and inside the vital. But the emotion inside the heart is pure emotion of infinite and boundless strength, while the emotion around the navel is aggression and attachment. Destructive power is there.

What should we do to purify the vital? We should bring the power of the heart into the navel. Power that comes from the heart or from the soul through the heart can only be used for illumination. Many of you are strong, energetic, dynamic; but this strength that you have is not from the heart. If it were from the heart, you would feel that the whole world, the whole universe was your own. There cannot be any greater power than to feel that the entire universe is yours. But when you get the feeling that you can crush everyone, or that you can fly, or that you can control the world, then you should feel that this power is not from the heart but from the vital.

When some people get a little confidence in their spiritual life, they develop a feeling of superiority which comes from the vital. But when strength comes directly from the heart, it is good. You have to be very careful. If you get strength from the heart, you will immediately feel each individual in God's multiplicity as your own. God is One; again, He is many. When you think of Him as One, He is all yours; when you think of Him as many, in the spread of Infinity, He is also yours. But when strength and power come from the vital, at that time you become the one, and the many are at your feet. When you are in the heart, you may feel that you are the one who is giving the commands, but at the same time you will feel that you are the many who are obeying. You will see that the strength of commanding and the strength of obeying are equally one.

Gradually you have to bring light into the vital. This light can be increased daily like the strength of a muscle. If you feel your Guru's presence and his Compassion, Concern and Pride, then your inner strength and confidence are bound to increase at every moment. Each time you get strength, you have to feel that you have enlarged yourself more into your Guru's liberated, illumined consciousness and feel that you are expanding, spreading, flying like a bird. You must feel strength as the expansion of illumination, not as the power of surpassing others. When confidence comes from the heart, your larger self is expanding and becoming infinite.

You can increase your feeling of confidence and assurance by feeling that I am there, around you, before you, within you, with all these qualities. When you feel infinite Compassion, infinite Love, infinite Joy and infinite Gratitude, your inner strength will increase at every moment.