Question: Many disciples become self-conscious and nervous when called up to meditate in front of you or the other disciples. How can this be controlled?

Sri Chinmoy: I know that most of you are victims to this kind of self-conscious attitude and nervousness. Sometimes when I place my palm on your heads to bless you, I see and realise what nervousness and self-consciousness are.

When you are self-conscious, what happens? You become self-critical. You immediately feel that someone is observing you and you wonder what he is thinking of you. You may think, “Perhaps while looking at me Guru is seeing that early this morning I told a lie. Now my lying consciousness has come to the fore in me, and he has caught me.” Or you may think, “Is Guru observing the good thing that I did early in the morning? Does he know the wonderful thing I did?” Usually, self-consciousness takes a critical form, but it may be also a subtle feeling in which you demand appreciation.

But why should you feel that others are judging you? I am only feeding you with Peace, Light, Delight and Power. Others may judge you according to their light, but they are all fools. They do not know anything about your inner life. When you go to sit down, another person will come up to meditate, and he too will have told a lie or done something bad. You are all in the same boat. The best thing is to play your part with utmost sincerity; neither show off nor criticise yourself, but enter into your present aspiration. Then, when you come up in front of me to meditate, I shall receive only devoted qualities.

Another reason you become nervous is that you enter into the nervousness and uncertainty of others around you. It is like you are all students in front of an examiner. You do not know what question the examiner is going to ask, but you look around to see what page of the textbook the other person is studying. You do not pay attention to your own inner truth, but think that the question will come from the page the other person is reading. “Let me read that particular page,” you say. Then you start to become nervous, not because you are trying to read the same passage he is reading, but because the other person himself is nervous. He is reading a passage, but he also feels that perhaps this is not the right passage. Already he is uncertain, and when you start reading his passage, you enter into his consciousness and take on his uncertainty and fear.

How can you control your nervousness? In your life of aspiration you always have to feel, “If Guru asks me to do something, he has given me the capacity to do it. If he asks me to meditate in front of eighty or a hundred people, then he has definitely given me the capacity to do it well. He is not asking me in order to see how much capacity I have or how much I can show. He has already given me the capacity.” A mother will not put a very heavy burden on the shoulders of a child. The mother knows that the child will not be able to hold it that he will collapse. The mother gives the child only what she knows he can easily carry. Similarly, in the spiritual life, when I ask a disciple to come forward, I have already given him the necessary strength and capacity.

If you identify with me, you will never feel nervous. In my case there is no nervousness; it is all oneness. If I am absolutely one with you, I don’t have to worry about what I am doing, what I am offering, what you are thinking or how I can prove to you that I am sincere. I don’t have to prove to you that I am a spiritual man or a realised soul. Similarly, you don’t have to prove anything either. When you enter into me and become one with me, you enter into Peace, Light and Bliss in boundless measure. So the moment I ask you to come up and meditate, simply try to identify yourself with me. Identification never means imitation. Far from it! I don’t want you to be a carbon copy of me. I want you only to identify yourself with my highest consciousness, since you are crying for the Highest and you feel that the Highest is inside me. If you take that inner feeling as something true, throw yourself — body and soul — into me. Then you will see that there cannot be any self-conscious feeling or nervousness, but only certainty and a flood of reality and divinity.