Question: How can we be sincere with ourselves so we can see more clearly how we are progressing?

Sri Chinmoy: When a child is seven years old, if he does something wrong more than once, he will be aware of it. The first time the child does something wrong, he is not aware of it. But when the child repeats the error, he is bound to know that what he is doing is wrong. Some of you used to tell me that you were not aware of what you were doing. But I know that there is not a single disciple who has never had a good meditation. Suppose somebody has been with me for two years. During these two years, he cannot tell me that he hasn't had one good meditation. He has. If he has had one good, high meditation, then I tell you that in the depth of that meditation, his good qualities and bad qualities have revealed themselves to him. During his days of good meditation, I tell you that the Supreme in him has brought forward his divine qualities and also his undivine qualities. The undivine qualities come forward so that he can see the things that he has to transform. If one has been with me for even two months, his good qualities have come forward and his bad qualities have already started coming forward — not to threaten him, but to be transformed. God is saying "These are the things that you have to transform and these are the things that you can be proud of."

Don't be disappointed or disheartened or discouraged when you see the bad qualities. After they are transformed, they will become one with the good qualities. If you have a good meditation on a certain day, then on that day your good qualities will come forward. Then bad qualities will come forward to let you know that these are the things that you still have to transform and how much farther you have to go before you get to the Goal.

When you have the highest meditation, on the one hand you will feel that you are very near to God. On the other hand you will feel that still you have so much to transform that God knows how many years it will take. There are only two inches between you and God, but these two inches you may see as an endless road.

Sincerity comes from the heart, not from the mind. The mind is tricky; the mind will confuse you. Also, the vital and the heart are unfortunately very close to each other. The vital is near the navel region. From there, vital energy can enter into the heart. So if you feel that you are getting many messages from the heart, then you are probably getting messages from the vital.

The best way to know if you are sincere is to see how much you have surrendered to your inner being. You can know how much you have surrendered by how much cheerfulness you have. But this cannot be false cheerfulness.

When some disciples look at me with sad faces, I tell them, "Please, please, don't be depressed. Smile at me, smile at me." Then they smile at me but I know it is an absolutely false smile. But I feel, "All right, start with false happiness. Instead of showing me a face of low depression, arrogance and other undivine qualities, at least start with a false smile; then one day you will give me a sincere, soulful smile."

If you don't have sincerity, then enter into the spiritual life with curiosity. In a few months time, your curiosity will be transformed into sincerity. How will you recognise sincerity's arrival? You will recognise it very easily if you do not have preconceived ideas of how your life will take shape or form. But if you cherish preconceptions, then automatically many thoughts will come into your mind and you may adopt many foul means to fulfil them. You may even try to fulfil them by devious or hostile means. But when you are fully surrendered, you will not cherish any ideas. You will feel that you can let the Inner Pilot make all your choices for you.

We sometimes become insincere when we try to do something or accomplish something and do not know where the ideas to do these things are coming from. Since we do not know, the best thing is just to wait, wait, wait. Let the ideas come from within. But you will wait for centuries if you feel that you can get the right answer from the mind. The mind has to surrender to the heart. There is no other way.

The surrender of the mind to the heart is not the surrender of a slave to the master. Far from it! The mind has to be wise. The mind has to feel that the heart has something that it does not have, and the moment the mind gets it, it becomes the mind's own wealth. It is like a student who is very smart. He goes to the right teacher who knows the subject. After he has learned from the teacher, then he does not go to him any more. He himself becomes a teacher. The mind should be a student and go to the heart and learn. As the heart gets illumination from the soul, so the mind also can get illumination from the soul through the heart, and then the mind can be independent.