Question: What does it mean when you have a pain in your chest when you meditate?

Sri Chinmoy: First, you must be sure that there is no physical ailment — nothing wrong with your chest. If you know that there is nothing wrong with you physically, then if you feel pain at the time of meditation, you have to feel that you are not breathing properly when you are meditating. You are breathing in an abnormal way and this abnormal way of breathing comes when you are trying to pull light beyond your capacity. When you do that you have to feel that you are going against the law of your inner necessity. You should never try to pull light into your being. Just open yourself and allow the light to enter into you naturally and also to go back to its own region freely. When you have enough purity and you have one-pointed aspiration for God, for realisation of the highest Truth, then you will see that no matter how much light enters or wants to enter into you, you will have no pain.

Your entire outer existence has to be totally dedicated to the spiritual life. If you really want God for God's sake, then there can be no pain during your meditation. If pain comes, then you have to feel that the vital wants something which is not approved by the soul. Usually we make a deplorable mistake when we say that a particular truth is coming from the soul or the inner being. Our vital is very clever and at times treacherous. In a clever way it makes us feel that the message we are getting in our physical mind is coming directly from the soul, which is not true. In your case sometimes the vital is acting without the approval of the soul. That is to say, the soul wants you to do something but the vital is telling you to do something else. Your physical mind is becoming unconsciously one with the vital. It thinks that the message, the light, the wisdom is coming from the soul — which is not true. Again, I must say that the soul need not offer its messages to your mind through the heart. You can get messages directly through your soul. Many times you have done it. But sometimes you don't listen to these messages. Sometimes you take the messages of the vital as the soul's messages, and sometimes you try to pull beyond your capacity.

What should you do to correct these mistakes? You should try to make your life a life of inner sacrifice. When you feel that you have become sacrifice itself, you will see that the vessel you have inside you is automatically enlarging itself. Then, inside the chest, inside the heart, the soul will be able to bloom like the lotus. When the heart vessel expands, you will feel no pain in your chest, no matter how much light enters.

Again, sometimes real physical pain inside the heart comes from the depth of your soul. This happens when your mission on earth is very high, but in fact you are accomplishing nothing. When the soul's aim is very lofty and sublime but the vital and physical are consciously negating the manifestation of the soul's loftiest aim, then you can feel most intense pain in your heart. At that time you see that there are two opposing parties and you are torn between the progressive soul and the aggressive vital; between the loving heart and the lethargic body. The soul and the heart are on one side, the vital and the physical on the other side, and you become one with the doubting and fearful mind. You do not take any side. Then, you are bound to feel pain inside your heart. This is real psychic pain. Psychic pain is good in a sense because it tells us that we are not fulfilling our inner possibilities. If you can make your outer life more pure and your inner life more secure on the basis of self-awakening and self-enlargement, then you will not experience pain. The psychic pain you have owing to your unconscious or conscious unwillingness will be transformed into sweetest joy and delight. The pain you have due to lack of receptivity will be transformed into boundless receptivity. Sacrifice means oneness — the oneness of the finite with the infinite. So, do not pull — do not push — let your life of inner sacrifice take care of your outer existence. Then there can be no pain anywhere.