Question: How can spiritual seekers who have ordinary positions at the United Nations most effectively inspire higher-ranking persons who may not be spiritual seekers?1

Sri Chinmoy: Spirituality is a very vast subject. To study this subject properly requires not only an entire lifetime but also quite a few incarnations. So you cannot expect to change the world overnight. To start with, it is advisable to try to inspire only one individual who may not be spiritual rather than trying to deal with a group of people. Let us say that you pray and meditate each day, whereas your boss does not believe in the inner life at all. There are a few things you can do to inspire him and elevate his consciousness. Once a week, for example, you can place a single flower on his desk. Once a week you can also place on his desk a momentous utterance by some world figure. But this utterance has to be most sublime.

Again, you can think about his good qualities. Every individual is bound to have some spiritual qualities — simplicity, sincerity or purity, for example — which we are apt to take for granted. These spiritual qualities are of supreme importance in the inner life. Again, people may have other good qualities in addition to spiritual qualities: punctuality, for instance, and conscious dynamism. Even if someone is not spiritual, he may be consciously dynamic and self-giving in his own way, although it may not be in a spiritual way. It is important to concentrate on someone's good qualities and not on his unaspiring qualities. If you see in him something negative and destructive which is unwilling to change, please do not try to change it. When you point out somebody's defects and shortcomings and try to improve them, you may mean well. But nobody wants to hear about his imperfections, and very often you will only make enemies.

In one way or another, your boss is trying to increase his good qualities and make progress. Any progress that he makes has to come from the inner world. If you can appreciate even one good quality in your boss, you can help him bring this quality to the fore, where it will slowly, steadily and unerringly blossom. Then he will feel something deep within himself that he has not noticed before. This will inspire him to try to bring that quality forward consciously. It is sometimes helpful to appreciate someone's good qualities outwardly, but if you appreciate someone openly, you may be misunderstood. Your boss, for example, my ascribe ulterior motives to your appreciation and think you are just flattering him in order to get a promotion. But if you inwardly appreciate the person's good qualities, you will never get into trouble.

Your inner appreciation, along with your soulful prayers for the conscious awakening of your superior, will definitely help him to become a better human being and a better citizen of the world. Seeing goodness in someone and doing good things for him is the easiest and most effective way to inspire that person to be spiritual.

  1. MUN 132. 7 February 1992.