Question: It's sometimes said that America has a big heart. Do you find that Americans live more in the heart than Europeans, for example?

Sri Chinmoy: Aspiration is everywhere, but to be very frank with you, in some countries it is more intense than in others. The difficulty with Europeans, for example, is that most of them are too mental. The mind can be a very good instrument, but right now it is not. The mind that is used now is the physical mind which constantly doubts and suspects. It is very limited and full of darkness. But there is also a higher mind, an illumined mind, an intuitive mind, an overmind. These levels of mind are not being used right now. To bring them into use, first we have to live in the heart and bring light to the mind. My philosophy is psychic — from the heart — so many Europeans find it difficult to appreciate it. But Americans either live more in the heart or more in the vital, so it is not as difficult for them.

The heart is at the centre of the chest, and the vital is just below. The distance is quite short. But the mind is up in the head, so there is a big distance. Naturally, it is easier for the light of the heart to enter into the vital than to enter into the mind. Then again, there are two types of vital: the dynamic vital and the aggressive vital. The American vital is usually dynamic and not aggressive, and this is very fortunate. The dynamic vital is important and helpful in the spiritual life, whereas the aggressive vital is damaging and destructive. In various parts of the world the aggressive vital has come to the fore, but in America I see the dynamic vital most of the time. But even in this respect, Americans are still imperfect. Dynamism and aggression very often mix in the vital. The vital is like a knife. With a knife we can cut a fruit and share it with others and with the same knife we can stab someone. So we have to be very careful that the dynamic vital does not become the aggressive vital.

In America and other places where I have noticed dynamism, I have hope. There are places where there is no dynamism and for their spiritual progress I have very little hope at this time. If we are dynamic, we make progress, we run. If we do not know where our goal is, then we may run from this side to that side, but it is better to move than to remain static. Otherwise, we will make no progress at all. There are many parts of the world where most of the people are wallowing in the pleasures of idleness, lethargy, apathy. This, unfortunately, is India's great problem. But Americans are running. They are not sure of the goal, but they are constantly on the move. They go one way and dash against a wall and get hurt. But then they realise that the goal is not there, so they go another way. If that is also not the proper direction, they get another blow. But they go on. So by trial and error they make progress.

The thing that I deeply appreciate and admire in America is that America does not know how to hesitate or stand still. This is an excellent quality in the spiritual life. Our Goal is not where we are now; our Goal is somewhere ahead of us, so why should we stay in one place? Once we know our Goal, or even if we are not sure of our Goal, still we have to run. God's Compassion will dawn because of our dynamic aspiration, and guide us to our Goal.

Another good quality which I see in Americans is that they can appreciate everything, like children. A child appreciates everything and God also appreciates everything, for God is a divine Child. America has a big heart, a spontaneous heart, a child's heart. America makes mistakes. Who does not make mistakes? But in the matter of the heart's magnanimity and the vital's dynamism, America is very advanced.

Sri Chinmoy, Mind-confusion and heart-illumination, part 2.First published by Agni Press in 1974.

This is the 144th book that Sri Chinmoy has written since he came to the West, in 1964.


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by Sri Chinmoy
From the book Mind-confusion and heart-illumination, part 2, made available to share under a Creative Commons license

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