Question: How can we protect ourselves from unaspiring people that we're constantly thrown in contact with and make them feel our aspiration, even though they may be almost hostile in their attitude?

Sri Chinmoy: When we are truly sincere we come to realise at one point that we have an inner urge to help people, or to let others see that we have discovered something divine. First we want to show the world that we have aspiration, tremendous aspiration. Then we feel that they should have it too. We have changed our lives. They should also change their lives. It is for their good that we are mixing with them.

If we sincerely do not want to be affected by our unaspiring neighbours, then our own aspiration will protect us. But we have to have a constant and humble desire to inspire them or to influence them divinely. We must not feel that we are so divine because we are praying and meditating and they are undivine because they are still sleeping. If we feel that others are full of undivine forces, evil forces, what is the next step? We will begin to show off. We will try to make them notice that we are doing something magnificent, something superior.

We have to live with ordinary people as well as with those who are aspiring. The world is very vast. We have to move around: we have to mix with others. We should mix with the spiritual world as much as possible in order to gain inner strength and to share our inspiration and at the same time to be inspired. But when we mix with the ordinary world we must also be ready not only to offer but also to receive inspiration.

You may ask how we can be inspired by someone who is inferior to us in the field of spirituality. We can. When I was a runner, I happened to be the best runner in the community where I lived. But I used to get inspiration during the time of practice from runners who were far inferior to me. Just because they were running with me, I used to get inspiration. They were also, according to their standard, trying their best to improve their capacity. In the spiritual life also, we are running towards our goal and those who are behind us are running towards their goal. The goal is the same. The very fact that they are running can inspire us to some extent. In the spiritual life, you should mix with sincere people. If they don't become disciples of your Master, you are still bound to get inspiration and aspiration from their own effort to reach the goal in their own way. But if someone is really undivine, even hostile, then we should not try to mix with him or influence him. His undivine forces will try to devour our divine forces. When we are forced to mix with people like this, in rare cases when there is some real necessity for it, then we should just bring our own inner purity and divinity to the fore as much as possible. Our own divine consciousness will be our best protection at that time.