The inner race

There is great joy in achieving something, doing something and becoming something. If we can do the most difficult things, naturally we achieve the most, offer the most and become the most. The easiest thing on earth is to become jealous of somebody, to feel insecure or depressed, to become proud or undivine. These things anybody can do. But to see God inside someone else is a most difficult thing. The easiest thing everybody can do and almost everybody does it, but the most difficult thing — how many people are doing it or have done it? How many people have realised God since the beginning of creation?

You are wise enough, all of you, to know the value of God-realisation, the most difficult thing to do. That is why you are here. To realise God is like completing the 400-metre dash, whereas to act undivinely or to harbour undivine qualities is like running one metre. The moment you start your journey, you reach your goal. But if you continue running in the 400-metre dash, then immediately one metre goes away, then two, then three, four, five and so on, until you reach your goal. On your way, you leave behind the one metre which was your jealousy. You leave behind the second metre, which perhaps was your insecurity. You leave behind the third metre which was perhaps your pride and vanity; and so on. The moment you reach your goal and become one with the goal, all the metres that you covered on your way are far behind you.

The problem with many seekers is that although they have started their journey, they do not feel the necessity of reaching the goal. They are just taking a morning walk and enjoying fresh air. Only if you feel the necessity of arriving at the goal will you be constantly and dynamically on the move. The goal is four hundred metres away, but after covering one metre, if you feel afraid that you will not reach the goal, if you feel that the goal is quite far away and you decide to give up, then you have to start again from the very beginning. Next week or next year when you want to run again, you have to start back where you began.

In the spiritual life also, if you stop your journey for a sizeable length of time because of jealousy, insecurity or any other undivine reason, you are lost. In the ordinary life, when you stop at a particular place, very often you stay there for a few months or even for a few years. But in the spiritual life it is not like that. If you have made considerable progress in the spiritual life, ignorance becomes terribly afraid of losing you. Then if you stop, ignorance pulls you so hard that you go back farther than your original starting point. Why? Because ignorance is like a tiger. It wants all the time to devour you and it is only waiting for the opportunity. One who has accepted the spiritual life has threatened ignorance; now ignorance is waiting for its revenge.

Ignorance is like somebody who is in charge of a room where you have lived for many years. When you want to come out of that room ignorance stands guard at the door and threatens you. It says, "Where are you going? You have stayed here for so many years. You can't go!" It is threatening and frightening you, but at the same time it is afraid that you will actually come out of the room; it is really afraid that tomorrow you may disappear and rob it of some of its power. Once you are totally out, ignorance knows that it will not be able to catch you and lord it over you again. If you stop fighting and surrender to it for a little while immediately ignorance slams and locks the door and makes everything more secure, so that next time you try to escape you will find it even more difficult.

If ignorance sees that somebody is very weak, it doesn't pay any attention to that person because it knows that he is not going to try to come out. He is so weak and lethargic that it is useless to bother with him. Ignorance knows that as long as he is sleeping, the best thing is not to bother him. But the moment he wakes up, ignorance will try to frighten him because his very awakening frightens ignorance.

Now that you people have entered the spiritual life and are somewhat awakened, please feel that you are threatening to come out of the meshes of ignorance, to come out of the sea of ignorance. That is why ignorance is trying to grab you most powerfully. When you skip your meditation one day, please feel that the strength of ignorance increases. You may think that one day is not important, but you are wrong. When your aspiration falters for one day, your inner strength decreases and the strength of your enemy, ignorance, increases. When you aspire regularly and faithfully, the strength of ignorance decreases. If you can feel this, you will never be careless about your spiritual discipline. You will take your spiritual life seriously and be very, very regular.

Meditation and dedication are of equal importance. Sincere and soulful dedication is in no way inferior to meditation. Again, if you can do good meditation, this is also a form of dedication. They go together, like the obverse and the reverse of the same coin. If you serve your spiritual Master devotedly in the outer world, you are doing the best form of meditation. When you are doing dedicated service, at that time feel that you are meditating on the practical plane, in the physical world. Again, if you meditate most devotedly and soulfully, you are doing dedicated service to his mission by serving God in the inner world.

You people are not sleeping any more. You are awake, but you do not remember that you have a goal, a destination. You have totally forgotten this fact. When you are not running towards the goal, ignorance feels that you are hesitating, faltering, weakening. This is the best time for it to grab you and put you to sleep again. This is what ignorance is trying to do. So please try to be very careful, very brave, very constant in your aspiration. Please meditate regularly and serve the Supreme in humanity regularly. If you do this, you will win the battle against ignorance; you will reach the goal in your inner race.

From:Sri Chinmoy,A hundred years from now, Agni Press, 1974
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