Question: When people have an unproductive or negative thought pattern that goes around and around inside their head, and they have been caught by it for many years, how can they get rid of it?

Sri Chinmoy: They have to feel they are not the best. They are not the tallest, they are not the most beautiful. Again, they are not the ugliest, either. In every way they have to consciously develop humility, for humility takes away all maladies. And they have to feel they are at the mercy of the forces. If they think they can control their life, if they think they are self-sufficient, they are totally mistaken. They are not at the mercy of God; they are at the mercy of the undivine forces. Each and every self-sufficient person will eventually have a most miserable life. When they finally cry to God, God will say, “If you have been self-sufficient all along, then why do you need My help now?”

Ordinary people get married and have children. They feel that once they are married and have a few children, they will be self-sufficient. On the contrary, they are creating more bondage in their lives because their children are depending on them and they are depending on their children. Ordinary people depend on their children and the children depend on their parents. So when do they have time to depend on God? But spiritual people, especially those who are single, have that golden opportunity. They feel that they are depending on God and God is depending on them.

Ordinary people, unaspiring people, people who have families, never think that they have to depend on God. They will only cry to God when somebody in the family is sick. Single people who are spiritual, who do not have that burden, automatically pray to God or cry to God. Their connection with God is well established. This moment they may not like God, but the next moment they like God once again. They have to like God. Again and again they come back to God. They may get angry with God for ten days, so they will stop praying and meditating. But then, although they do not know how or why, again they will start praying and meditating. Will unaspiring people do that? Month after month, year after year, they do not care for God. Spiritual people have walked for years along the right road. All of a sudden they may take a detour on a side street, but after a few days they come back.

When wrong forces attack some individuals and they become a slave to those wrong forces, always they have to feel that they are not self-sufficient. Wrong thoughts are making them feel that they are self-sufficient: “You do not need anybody else. You do not need a Master. You do not need friends. You can do everything all by yourself.” All by ourselves we cannot live on earth. If I can do everything all by myself, then why do I go out to eat? Why do I go to a shop to buy food and other things?

Is there anybody who can say at every moment, “I do not depend on anybody”? Do I not depend on water? Let me see if I can live without water. Do I not depend on air? Let me see if I can live without air. How stupid I would be to say, “I do not need anything or anybody!” If I do not need anybody, then let me just keep my door closed and see what happens.

So many things we need in life, but we do not value them. And the things that we need most, like water and air, we value the least. How many people consciously value water? Water is life. We have to drink it. But just because we are getting water here, there, everywhere, we feel that water has no value. We feel that milk is valuable, milk is nutritious, milk is sweet. We think, “If I do not drink water, nothing will happen.” But let us just try for a few days and see what happens.

Only humility saves us at every moment. My humility tells me that I need you. Again, you have to have the same type of humility to say that you need me. We need equal humility. My humility tells me that I depend on you because there are so many things I need from you. Your humility will say that you also need quite a few things from me. Then God comes into the picture. God created you and God created me. God gave you certain qualities and capacities which He did not give me, and vice versa. Therefore, I need you and you also need me.

Nobody is self-sufficient. At every moment you are depending on something, only you are not aware of it. You feel that if you have money-power you can get whatever you need. True, you may have money-power, but who has the material things to give you joy? Again, this is where God comes into the picture. God gave you the capacities that I need from you, and God gave me the capacities that you need from me. If you pray to God, then God will make you happy so that you will give me what I need and make me happy. And if I pray to God, God will do the same. He will give me the capacity to do something that will make me happy, and then He will tell me to give what I have to you.

Each individual is a divine instrument. Just because you are a divine instrument, you have to feel that you belong to a family, and that family is run by a higher force, by God. Again, if a God-given capacity is not used, tomorrow God takes away that capacity. God has given you so many capacities. If you do not use them, or if you misuse them, the Giver takes them away.

Can you possess anything permanently? Eventually it disappears. Are you as strong as you were when you were fifteen years old? At age fifteen, you had your life, you had your hands, you had your legs. Then how is it that you could not keep those possessions of yours at the same standard? Previously I was the Ashram champion in running, and now I am lame. Who gave me the capacity to run? Did I give myself the capacity in India? No! God Himself gave me the capacity, and He also took it away. Here is the proof that today He can give and tomorrow He can take away that very capacity.

Lord Krishna gave Arjuna the capacity to do everything. In the Kurukshetra battle, Arjuna was the supreme hero. Then, when Sri Krishna left the body, Arjuna was so miserable! He could not fight against anyone, even simple people. He became absolutely cowardly. He could not lift up his own weapon, Gandiva, which he had previously used to destroy his enemies.

It is the same with me. I used to throw the shotput quite far. Now even to lift the sixteen-pound shot is a most difficult task. Who gave me the capacity? Did I give myself the capacity forty years ago? No, it was somebody else: God, my own Highest. When we realise this, humility comes into our life.

We have to feel that somebody gave us everything, and somebody can take it away. The person who gave it can easily take it away. He may say, “Now it is not necessary for you to have this any more.” We can be happy only if we say to God, “You gave me something when You felt that I needed it. Now You have taken it away again because You feel it is no longer necessary. I know that You will give me some capacity in another field which is better.”

In my case, some capacities He gave and some He took away. A few capacities He has kept in me. I have become an artist. I have become a composer, I have become a singer, I have become a musician. The capacity to write poems I had in India, and even now He has kept that capacity in me. But in a few years He may say, “Meditate, meditate! Forget about writing!” Like that, a day came when Sri Aurobindo gave up writing, dictating and all other activities only to meditate.

The only thing that will fulfil us every day, every hour, every minute, every second is obedience. If you have obedience to God or your Master, then life is smooth sailing. There is nothing that God or a spiritual Master cannot accomplish in and through a disciple if that disciple is obedient to the Master on a daily basis. Otherwise, no matter how great the disciple thinks he is, his life will end in a most miserable way. When disciples are disobedient to their Master, I tell you with all my God-realisation-authority, their lives will end in a most miserable way. If people have not accepted the spiritual life, then God alone knows their fate. I do not know about people who are not on my path. I know nothing about their fate and I do not want to know. But in the case of people who are on my path I do know, because I am supposed to know about the future of my disciples.

Again, I always say, “Do not think of the future.” Once you have a Master, place your past, present and future at the Master’s feet. You are a fool if you cannot have implicit faith in your Master. If you have to remain self-sufficient, if you say, “Oh, if I do not earn money today, tomorrow how will I manage?” that is the human, mental approach. If you have faith in your Master, if you love him, you do not have to worry about tomorrow, because he created yesterday, he created today and he will also create tomorrow. Yesterday he took care of you. Today he is taking care of you. Will he not take care of you tomorrow?

The Lord Buddha said only to think of this moment. We do not know what is going to happen even the next moment. Forget about death and the afterlife. Only think that this moment God has given to you for you to do the needful. When God gives you the next moment, He will again act in and through you. For a spiritual person to think of the future and wonder, “Oh, what will happen? What will happen?” is a great insult to the soul.

Let us say that a father has lots of money and his son is very dear to him. If the son says, “O my God, what will happen to me when my father dies?” the father will say, “You fool! Have you no faith in me? To whom shall I give my money-power? I am so affectionate towards you, I am so loving towards you. I am giving you everything, so why do you have to worry about what I shall give you after my death? Where is your love for me? My love, my affection, my compassion, my fondness I am pouring into you. All along I have been giving and giving you everything. Can you not have faith that I will put money in my will for you to receive after my death?” If the son says, “No, Father will find somebody else,” then his faith in the father and his love for the father are completely gone. He should not think of the future at all. So, do not think of tomorrow. Today’s problems are enough to shoulder. Do not bring tomorrow’s imaginary problems into today.