Meditation and self-discovery

The highest illumination is Self-discovery. This Self-discovery comes when we feel the need of the highest, deepest and all-transforming Reality in us. The all-transforming Reality is God the Wisdom, God the Compassion, God the Concern. If we go deep, deeper, deepest, to the inmost recesses of our heart we see God the eternal Concern, and in His Concern we see God the infinite Compassion. God’s Compassion and God’s Concern can never be separated.

What is the connecting link between our existence and God’s Existence? The connecting link is our meditation. When we meditate on God we have to feel that this is the only language that we can use in order to speak to God. Then we see to our surprise that God also has the same language. He does not have a different language from ours. He also uses the same language, which is meditation. When we meditate we speak to Him. When He meditates, which He always does, He speaks to us. Meditation is the common language of man and God.

Our illumination starts the day we feel the necessity of constant meditation. Meditation has to be practised not only daily and regularly, but constantly. Inner meditation can take place at every moment. What is this inner meditation? It is the inner sacrifice. When we meditate inwardly, we are trying to sacrifice something. What is that something? It is the imperfection in us, which comes from ignorance. When we are ready to sacrifice our imperfection and ignorance, we feel that our vessel is totally empty. Now it has to be filled again. Ignorance is replaced with knowledge, and imperfection with perfection. By whom? By God.

Here we are all seekers, seekers of the infinite Truth. Here and now let us try to enter into the life of Reality, with our proper understanding of Truth. The Truth tells us: “Start where you are. If you have desire, start with your desire. If you have aspiration, start with your aspiration. But start! Do not wait. The Hour has struck; now it is up to you either in walk, march, run or fly.” God is ready. Now we also have to be ready.

Everything is reciprocal. God gives us, in infinite measure, what we give Him in infinitesimal measure. If we give Him an iota of love, He gives us in infinite measure His infinite Love. Again, when we go deep within we see that God is far above this reciprocal attitude. He does everything unconditionally in us and for us. He knows we are helpless, if not hopeless. He knows that He is the Doer, He is the Action and He is the Fruit thereof. He is the Player, He is the Game, He is the Result. But if we can consciously become one with His universal Will, then we will become a conscious instrument of His. Now we are His possession, but if we can become one with Him we will also grow into the Possessor Himself. This is what we mean by the highest illumination: when Possessor and possession become totally and inseparably one.

Question: Please tell me if I am right. Meditation is the easiest thing in the world when we think of the Supreme with devotion, surrender and pure love.

Sri Chinmoy: You are absolutely right. Meditation is the easiest thing on earth because our inner divinity not only has the capacity to meditate, but practises meditation at every moment. So when you are identified with your inner divinity, you will see that meditation is being constantly done for you. Then meditation is very, very easy. Otherwise, it is most difficult, for during your meditation the mind will think, “I am allowing a stranger to enter into me.” The vital will say, “I am entering into an alien world.” The physical will say, “I am not a fool. I still want to enjoy the world. I don’t need Heaven.” All this happens when you are not identified with your inmost divinity. But if you are identified, you can truthfully and spontaneously say that meditation is the easiest thing in the world because in meditation reality grows and the life of creation flows.

Question: How can I purify my mind so that I can have a good meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: In your case, the best thing to do is to feel every day for a few minutes that you have no mind. Say, “I have no mind, I have no mind. What I have is the heart.” Then after some time, say, “No, I don’t have the heart. What I have is the soul.”

When you say, “I have no mind,” this does not mean that you are becoming an animal again. Far from it. You are only saying, “I don’t care for this mind, which is bringing me so much impurity and torturing me so much.” When you say, “I have the heart,” you feel that the heart has some purity. But when you say, “I have the soul,” you are flooded with purity. Then, after some time, you have to go deeper and farther and not only say, “I have the soul,” but also “I am the soul.” The moment you say, “I am the soul,” and you meditate on this truth, at that time your soul’s infinite purity will come up and enter into the heart. Then from the heart, the infinite purity will enter into the mind. In this way you will purify your mind and your heart and you will have a wonderful meditation every day.

You have to know that the mind is almost always impure. It always brings in dark and bad thoughts. Even when it is not doing this, it is still a victim to doubt, jealousy, hypocrisy and fear. All negative things attack the mind first. You may reject them for a minute, but the next minute they will knock at your door again. This is the mind. But the heart is much, much purer. Even if you have fear or jealousy in the heart, the good qualities of the heart still come forward. Affection, love, devotion, surrender and other divine qualities are already in the heart. That is why the heart is much purer than the mind.

But again, the heart is not totally pure because the vital is around the heart. The lower vital, situated near the navel, tends to come up and touch the heart centre. It makes the heart impure by its influence and proximity. The heart is not like the mind, which is always opening its door to impure ideas. The heart is far better than the mind. But the best is the soul. In it there is no impurity: It is all purity, light, bliss and divinity.

Question: Could you explain what inner hunger is?

Sri Chinmoy: If you are dissatisfied or frustrated, if you feel that you have not achieved something that you wanted to achieve, this does not necessarily mean that you have inner hunger. But suppose you feel that within there is something vast, something luminous, something fulfilling, something positive which you don’t have right now. You think that inside you there is peace, but you do not have access to it. If you think that you have something inside you that is divine, and that you need this very thing, that means that aspiration is there. Hunger comes from your spiritual need. If you need something and you know where that thing exists, then you will try to get it. When you have this hunger, the next thing is to satisfy it.

If you enter into the spiritual life because of frustration, dissatisfaction or despair, you may not remain in the spiritual life. Today you are dissatisfied with someone or something, and tomorrow you will say, “No, let me try it again. Perhaps this time I will get satisfaction.” Here you are trying to do something in a human way. You have failed, and that is why you are dissatisfied, but tomorrow you may try again in a human way. But after a while, you will see that only dissatisfaction and frustration comes from desire. If you do not fulfil your desire, you are disappointed. Or even if you get the thing you wanted beyond your prayer, beyond your necessity, still you will not be satisfied. In desire life there is no satisfaction. Then you say, “No, I am not going to desire anything in a human way. I came from the Vast and I just want to enter into the infinite Vast.” This is aspiration.

When you aspire, you try to enter into the vast ocean of Peace, Light and Bliss. But when you desire, you try only to possess the object of your desire. When you aspire, you just jump into the reality and feel that that reality is yours. It is because of things like fear and doubt that you don’t dare accept the reality as your own.

Each individual has his own need. You need God right now; you want to have true accomplishment, true fulfilment in your life, so you want to go to the Source. But somebody else might need something totally different. If you need God, naturally He will give Himself to you. And if somebody else needs something else, God will give him that particular thing. But when God is asked for some material object, only God knows whether He will give it or not, because only God knows whether it is something that the person really needs. If a person gets the thing he is crying for, it may only increase his desire. Again, if he does not get it, he will be frustrated and displeased with God. But God has to decide whether it is best that he get the thing or not. In your case, since you are a sincere seeker, if you pray to God or meditate on God for Peace, light or Bliss, even if He does not grant it to you the way you want, you will still be satisfied, for you will still have inner joy and inner peace. You will simply say, “He knows best. Perhaps I am not ready. That is why He is not giving me what I asked for. But He will give it to me the day I am ready.”

In the life of aspiration it is not actually your achievement that gives you satisfaction. It is your aspiration. The aspiration itself is your satisfaction.

In the spiritual life we do not progress by hook or crook. Spirituality cannot be achieved by pulling or by pushing; it is something spontaneous. I cannot thrust the spiritual life upon you and I cannot take your spiritual life or inner cry from you. But if you have something spiritual in you, I can inspire you. If you have one spiritual coin, then through my inspiration you can get millions of spiritual dollars. But to start with you have to have a little flame.

There are many who are fast asleep. For them spirituality is out of the question. No matter how sincerely we try, we cannot awaken them. You are on a spiritual path; that means that you are already up and awake. But if you try to pull down spiritual Light, you are making a mistake. Only when this Light comes on its own, when on the strength of your aspiration you bring it, can you receive it. Otherwise, when the Light descends, if you don’t have enough receptivity, the vessel will only break.

How can you receive this Light from above? For that you need constant practice. If you practise daily, without fail you will expand your consciousness. An unaspiring person has a consciousness which is earth-bound; it does not expand at all, but is limited, very limited. But when you aspire, your consciousness expands and your receptivity increases. So if you pray or meditate, then you can easily hold the Light and Peace that descends.

Question: I am looking for more joy in my life, but I don’t feel confident about jumping into meditation to get it.

Sri Chinmoy: When life is not giving you joy but you feel that you want joy, that means you are hungry. In the spiritual life when you are hungry you will eat spiritual food. When you are not hungry you will not eat. Now, for fifteen or twenty years you did not sincerely and intensely care for the spiritual life. Since you have not meditated intensely for so many years, if you jump all at once into the sea of spirituality you won’t be able to swim. You cannot change your nature overnight. It has to be done slowly, steadily, gradually. First move around in the water; then gradually you will learn how to swim. Then there will come a time when you will be able to swim well. But since you have inner hunger, that means you are ready to start swimming.

Question: Is it wrong to expect some result from our meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: After you pray and meditate you may think that you must get something from God. You have had a good, good meditation, so you are expecting a little bit of Peace or Light. When you expect, the force of your expectation creates an unconscious pull, an inner pull. You are trying to give something — your love, your devotion, your surrender — and at the same time you are trying to achieve something. But when you think of achieving while you are giving, you don’t get any joy. You get the greatest joy only when you do not try to achieve something while you are giving.

The moment you have meditated well, try to feel that that is already your achievement. If you have meditated well, the Supreme is pleased but you also have to feel that the Supreme will give you the result in His own way. Otherwise, what you expect may not be God’s Will,

A real aspirant, when he starts meditating, will not cry for the result: he will cry for self-offering during his highest meditation. If he cries for the result, mentally he is imagining something. Even if he imagines some spiritual entity, there is a subtle demand for a result, and his meditation will be lower than if he had meditated only in pure self-offering.

Question: Why doesn’t God make all our meditations equally good?

Sri Chinmoy: You don’t have a good meditation every day, in spite of your best intentions. Some days you get up and meditate early in the morning at your proper time but real meditation does not come. Then, instead of cursing yourself or cursing your Master, you should simply say: “Oh, perhaps this is what the Supreme wants. Perhaps the Supreme wants me to have this experience.” You must feel this consciously. You are trying your best to meditate well, but unfortunately your meditation is not at all satisfactory. So you have to feel, “I am trying my best. Now it is up to Him to give me the best meditation or the worst meditation.” But please remember that your own aspiration and your will to meditate regularly and punctually at a particular hour are still of greatest importance. You know that it is a necessity for the body to eat, but you can’t eat the most delicious food every day. Your wife may cook extremely well, but if she does not give you the most delicious food every day, what will you do? Should you get angry? No! At that time you feel that she had something more important to do for you than cook. Similarly, you should feel that if the Supreme has not given you a good meditation on a particular day, He is thinking of doing something very great for you in some other way. Instead of getting angry with Him, have faith in Him and feel that He is giving you some different experiences.

In your wife’s case, her whole existence is inside you. If she cannot give you most delicious food, she will do something else to please you, to make you happy. In God’s case, if God does not give you a good meditation today, He will give you something else which is equally important or more important. A person we love has every right to please us in various ways; otherwise we become bored. Today, through meditation, God is pleasing you, tomorrow, through dedication, he will please you, and the day after tomorrow, He will please you in still another way. He wants to fulfil Himself in and through you every day. But He has every right to change His means of doing it. If you have a fixed menu and say, “This meal is good; I will eat it every day,” after a few days you will be sick of it. It is the same thing with divine food. There should always be variety.

Question: Is there anything specific I can do to have a good meditation every day?

Sri Chinmoy: Please feel that there is only one person on earth whom we can call our Dearest, and that person is God. God has to be our Dearest to the end of our lives and throughout Eternity. If we do not know what Eternity is, we can be forgiven. But we know what our life span is. So, if everyday we can renew our love of God and our faith in God, then I tell you that every day we are bound to do the best meditation.

Why do people fail to have their best meditation everyday? The main reason is that they fail to renew their love for God, their faith in God, their surrender to God. Love, devotion, surrender — this is the way. Each morning we have to first inscribe in our heart with golden letters the words ‘love, devotion, surrender’. Every day when we start meditating we have to feel that with our whole heart we are offering ourselves to God. The day we entered the spiritual life, we offered our existence to God, it is true. But that offering was not complete and unconditional. And even today’s offering is not complete. But tomorrow, or in the near or distant future, this offering is bound to be complete.

You have to offer your whole existence to the Supreme as if you are placing a flower on a shrine. You have to feel that your limbs, hands and feet are like the petals of a flower. When you feel that your whole body has become a rose or a lotus, then offer it to the Supreme. If some of you do not use the term ‘Supreme’, then offer it to God, or to Christ or to anybody whom you call your Beloved, whom you regard as your Highest, your Supreme.

In the spiritual world it is obligatory to keep the colours blue, gold and green inside us. When we have blue, we enter into Infinity; when we have gold we enter into a higher realisation and manifestation, and when we have green, we enter into a valiant new life. Therefore, every day we try to wear these colours within. When we are wearing them we will see that our love, devotion, surrender and all other divine qualities are bound to come to the fore. And then we will become the heart’s flower, the flower of inner beauty, the flower of inner divinity, the flower of transcendental reality.

This advice is bound to bring you the message of spiritual progress and inner success. Please invoke your divine qualities every day, early in the morning, and you will see that there can be no dry deserts in your inner life.

Question: I’m not as receptive as I would like to be. Why is this?

Sri Chinmoy: Our receptivity is lessened by the hostile forces that attack us. They can attack us just because our consecration to the Supreme is not yet complete. Sometimes the aspirant’s mind revolts, sometimes the vital revolts and sometimes the physical or even the subtle physical revolts. If there is any such opening, the hostile forces can attack us.

There is also another reason why we are not receptive. Until we are really sure of what we actually want, the life of desire or the life of aspiration, then the hostile forces will stand between our desire and our aspiration. Aspiration brings us to the goal, to the reality, but desire immediately makes friends with our enemies. Hostile forces are always on the alert; they try to divide us. They want to separate our aspiration from our desire. Then what do they do? They bring in desire and try to kill aspiration. Very often they succeed. But a spiritually alert person will take aspiration and enter into desire in order to transform it. If desire enters into aspiration, aspiration is ruined. If aspiration enters into desire, the desire is transformed.

In your case, if you become a victim of hostile attacks, these attacks come primarily for two reasons. The first reason is that your physical is mercilessly revolting against the heart’s psychic aspiration. You can’t get rid of all your undivine and negative qualities permanently because you are unconsciously cherishing negative thoughts. You still feel that these qualities are fulfilling for your outer life, your vital life. Your inner aspiration is running much faster than your physical capacity or urge. The physical is constantly playing the part of a robber. The soul is gaining something for you and the physical is robbing you and squandering it. When you receive something from the soul, you have to feed yourself with the soul’s light. But that you don’t do. You get the light from the soul and throw it all around. The physical gets light but does not utilise it for its own illumination.

The second reason for these attacks in your case is uncertainty. Whether you are aware of it or not, you are afraid of the Infinite that your highest part wants to enter into fully. On the one hand, you want to dive into the sea of Infinity. On the other hand, you have a feeling of uncertainty. You wonder what you are going to get from the sea of Infinity. You have to know that you are going to get the infinite wealth of the immortal Consciousness which pervades the entire universe. Your soul wants it, but your physical mind is afraid. So long as there is fear, even an iota of fear in you, the hostile forces have the power to attack you mercilessly. If there is no integral acceptance or awareness of one’s own real goal, then the hostile forces are bound to torture one. But if you do not have fear and if you are sure of your goal, then the hostile forces can never attack you. If you can accept Infinity as something which is your own but which you have forgotten about, if you can see that you have always been that Infinity, then fear does not come.

Question: How can I increase my receptivity?

Sri Chinmoy: Everyone has receptivity, but this receptivity can be enlarged. Receptivity is something elastic: It can be expanded like an elastic band through the spiritual Master’s grace. The best way to increase your receptivity is to be like a child. If the mother says to the child, “This is good,” the child has no time to think it is bad. No matter how advanced you are in the spiritual life, you can make the fastest progress by having a childlike attitude, a sincere and genuine childlike feeling. Then, if you want to increase your receptivity, each day before you meditate, offer your deepest gratitude to the Supreme. This is the easiest and most effective way to increase receptivity. Because you are aspiring, you have become something. Then tomorrow, if you have maintained your aspiration, you will go one step further. You never stand in the same place in the spiritual life. Either you go forward, or you go backward. If you have aspiration, then you go forward; if you have desire, if you lead the life of desire, then you go backward. So if you have lived the life of aspiration today, then naturally tomorrow you will be one step ahead. Once you are one step ahead, you have every right and every reason to offer your gratitude to the Supreme. You cannot say, “Oh, I have done it all myself.” If the Supreme did not work in you, you would still be in the life of desire. But you have gone forward, and you have to feel that it is the divine Force, the Supreme, that has helped you to come forward. So you offer your gratitude to Him. Then each time you offer gratitude, you again go forward. And when you go forward, automatically your receptivity increases. Receptivity means what? It means progress. The more you receive, the more you can make progress in the inner world. Again, the more you receive, the more you have the capacity to receive.

Question: If one has all faith in his Master, then what obstructs his receptivity?

Sri Chinmoy: You have to know that if one has all faith in his Master, and here I am using the word ‘all’, then there is every possibility that the person will have receptivity. If one has implicit faith, irrevocable faith, then that person is bound to have receptivity. Of course, faith can either be dull, unprogressive faith, or it can be dynamic faith. If one’s faith is dull, then receptivity is bound to be limited.

Question: How can you stop yourself from worrying about whether you are having a good meditation or not?

Sri Chinmoy: You have to feel that there is nothing to show, and at the same time you have to feel that you cannot fool the person whom you want to show. Sometimes in the ordinary life we show off and feel that the person who is observing us does not actually know that we are deceiving him. But in the spiritual life, you have to feel that when you are meditating in front of your Guru there is nothing for you to show. You have only to be.

If you want to show that you are doing a wonderful meditation so that I will be very pleased, at that moment your own sincerity will go away. You should feel, “I want to be sincerity; I want to be purity; I want to be luminosity; I want to be divinity.” If you mainly want to show that this is what you are, sincerity goes out of you. And the more it goes out of you, the sooner you will be exposed. Occasionally, when you are trying to show what you are, you may actually achieve those qualities, but very often false things will come forward.

As soon as I want to show something to others — for instance, that I can put the shot fourteen metres — then my worries have started. If I keep in mind that I have to throw it fourteen metres, or if I feel that I have to come in first or second or third, then my worries have started. I should instead regard the action as something I am becoming, not as something I am showing. I have thrown; that is my action. And in that action I have become whatever I have done. This is my capacity; this is my achievement; this is my reality; this is what I can do. So also, at the time of meditation, the point is not to show anything outwardly or inwardly, but to become everything. If I want purity, if I want humility, if I want sincerity, if I want divinity, then let me become these things. When I am becoming, then I am fulfilled. I will not be fulfilled in any way by showing what I am.

Question: Could you speak on intensity in prayer?

Sri Chinmoy: When we pray we should always do it most soulfully and intensely. ‘Intensity’ is only a word but we can live it. When we pray we should not bring the mind forward at all. We should not think, “This prayer is a form of desire.” Prayer is not a desire like the desire to make thousands of dollars or to write beautiful poems. No. It is not like that. When the Supreme wants us to pray, we have to do it most soulfully, sincerely and devotedly. Prayer is a kind of aspiration which invokes Infinity’s Compassion-Light to transform our human nature into divine nature. Again, in our prayer we see something most significant. We see God’s Will which is at once our aspiration-height and God’s manifestation-might.

Question: How can I meditate with more intensity?

Sri Chinmoy: You can meditate with more intensity when you have developed real security in your aspiring life. What is real security? Real security is the knowledge that your spiritual father constantly cares for you. Just because I constantly care for you, I am trying to mould you in my own way. My own way means the divine way, the way of the Supreme. If you feel this, then automatically you will have more intensity because an overwhelming love and gratitude will flow constantly from you toward the Supreme in me. And that feeling is your meditation. Also, you have to feel that what I offer you is unconditional. Do not feel, “If I do this, then he will do something for me; if I don’t do this, then he will not show me affection.” You have to feel, “Even if I don’t do anything for him, my Guru will still show me his infinite compassion, infinite love, infinite concern. Even if I don’t meditate at all for one month, he will love me the same way.” If you have that kind of feeling then you will automatically have intensity, because intensity comes when an overwhelming gratitude flows.