Question: What role does conscious will play in the spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: Conscious will is of paramount importance in the spiritual life. Unconsciously we do many things, good and bad. But when we do them consciously, with conscious will, then we get the effect immediately.

If we use our conscious will, then we shall get up early in the morning, take a shower and pray to God. But if it is unconscious will, we shall keep in the back of our mind the thought that we have to pray, and that is all. Meanwhile, we shall remain lying down. While sleeping, we may repeat God's Name once or twice, and then we shall feel that we have prayed or meditated. But we are lethargic, idle; we will not leave the bed. For one second we shall meditate and for ten minutes we shall sleep. This is called unconscious will.

Conscious will is like an express train. It just starts and then it goes to the destination as fast as possible. Unconscious will stops at many stations before it reaches the destination. Each time it reaches a station, it takes a rest there and relaxes its capacity. Then it has to regain its capacity to go to the next station. This way it takes a very, very long time. People who pray and meditate unconsciously will take thousands and millions of years to realise God.

Conscious will values time. It knows the necessity of time. Conscious will teaches us that time is very precious. If we do not realise God today, then how are we going to reveal and manifest God tomorrow? Therefore we have to realise Him as soon as possible. Again, realisation has no end, revelation has no end, manifestation has no end. So we feel that it is the supreme necessity to realise at least some height and then reveal and manifest that height.