Question: How can I acquire lasting inner joy?1

Sri Chinmoy: You can acquire lasting inner joy through constant, unconditional self-giving. Each time you give something of yourself unconditionally, God immediately gives you in return something of His own. If you give to humanity what you have — just a little concern or love — immediately and spontaneously something divine will enter into you. Suppose you give five dollars to a human being. Naturally you expect something in return, if only a smile or a 'thank you'. Give and take is the law of life on earth. But when you give unconditionally, you have to feel that your task is to give the person five dollars because you have received an inner command. As soon as you have given, your role is over and the transaction is complete. That is the divine way of giving.

Inside the particular person you gave the money to is Someone called God, and in some way God will immediately give you joy by expanding your heart, your consciousness, your aspiration. But if you expect to get something from the other person, you are the real loser. God simply says, "All right, since you want to settle your own account, I will not be involved. You gave him five dollars and he will give you something in return. The shopkeeper and the customer are there; it is a business deal. They do not need Me in their business." If you behave in this way, you will never get real, abiding joy. Even if, after you do someone a favour, that person gives you something in return that is far beyond your imagination, still you will not get abiding joy. But if you just give what you feel from within, whether it is money or love or concern or anything else that is yours, then God immediately will give you His Love, His Pride and His boundless Peace, Light and Bliss.

Unfortunately, in today's world we do not do anything unconditionally. We do not even meditate unconditionally. When we sit down to meditate, we expect a little light or a little joy. But are we beggars? The Supreme is our Father and Mother; He is everything to us. If He inwardly asks us to think of Him and meditate on Him, we should do it out of our boundless love for Him, and not expect anything in return. What happens after that is entirely up to Him. The inner cry that makes us want to pray and meditate has come directly from Him. If He has given us the capacity to pray and meditate, will He not also give us the capacity to receive His Light and Bliss? Giving is a kind of capacity and receiving is also a kind of capacity. He will automatically give us this capacity if we do not expect or demand anything from Him.

We make our lives miserable because of what we expect from relatives, from friends, from associates and from others. Even when we expect something from ourselves, which we think we can legitimately expect, we are disappointed. Not only are we disappointed but also our expectation ruins the divine nature of our selfless actions. The moment we expect something from someone, consciously or unconsciously we push or pull beyond our capacity. Then we enter into terrible confusion. But if we love the reality and divinity in ourselves and in others, then the Supreme in that reality and divinity will give us much more than we expect.

No human being on earth can give us lasting joy; it is only the Supreme within us who can inundate us with lasting peace and bliss. We simply have to play our role, and the Supreme will offer us abiding joy in His own Way. We do not know what His Way is, so let us leave it up to Him to do as He pleases with us and for us.

  1. MUN 371. 22 February 1974.