Beth Day Romulo: How do people learn how to meditate? Does it take discipline or concentration?
Sri Chinmoy: We start with prayer and then we enter into meditation. They are two subjects, but they both lead to the same destination. If we pray very soulfully, with utmost love and devotion, we feel that Somebody is listening to our prayers. We are talking and Somebody is listening. In our prayers we speak to the Heavenly Father above and ask Him to bless us with this or that. So, very often, prayer includes a kind of desire. But the highest prayer is the one that was taught to us by the Saviour: "Let Thy Will be done." That is by far the highest prayer.
Again, there are times in our spiritual life when we feel the necessity of listening to Someone. That is meditation. When we meditate, we feel that God is asking us to do something: "My child, do this for Me. Do this for your own good." God is speaking and we are listening. So this is how prayer and meditation are combined in our life of aspiration. Sometimes we talk and sometimes we listen. In our prayer-life we go to the Father with all our hopes and longings. In our meditation-life we listen to the Messages from our Heavenly Father.
Beth Day Romulo: And it doesn't matter who the Father is and what the context?
Sri Chinmoy: Only that it is our highest. Father and daughter are not two different individuals or entities; we and our highest are one. When we pray, we feel that we are at the foot of the Himalayas and the Person to whom we are praying is at the top, listening to us. But when we meditate, we feel that the Person who is speaking to us is none other than our own highest Self. In meditation we come to realise that we and God are one. The One who is at the peak is coming down to bless us, and it is none other than ourselves. This moment I am at the top of the peak and the next moment I am at the bottom. I climb up the tree and climb down. When I am at the top I pluck the most delicious fruits and bring them down for those who are unable to climb at the moment. This is what meditation does for us.
Beth Day Romulo: So what you are reaching for is actually the best in you?
Sri Chinmoy: What we are reaching for is our own treasure. We have everything that is needed deep inside us — in the inmost recesses of our heart. There is the safe; there is our wealth. When we pray and meditate, God opens the safe and we see our own treasure. This is why we use the term 'self-discovery.' Through God's Grace, we discover the truth about ourselves; we discover our own inner light and divinity.
Beth Day Romulo: So you can go through your life without being able to see your own inner light?
Sri Chinmoy: Once you are in a room that is already lit, you don't need any outer light in order to see. Once you dive deep within your heart and enter into your inner existence, which is flooded with light, you don't need any outer light to see it.