Problems! Problems! Are they really problems? part 2
Part I — Insecurity
Question: How can we rid ourselves of our self-consciousness and our worry about what other people think of us?Sri Chinmoy: Why should you have to think of others or wonder what they are thinking of you? If they feel that you are the worst person on earth, will it harm you? And if they think that you are the best person, will it bring your realisation an inch closer? Let the whole world think ill of you; your God-realisation will not be delayed. Your realisation depends entirely upon your own aspiration.
Remember that all the time you waste in thinking of what others are doing or what they are thinking of you could be used for your own self-discovery. Also, at the time when you are thinking of others, please feel that I am not your Guru. If you are thinking of others out of doubt or fear or jealousy or insecurity, or for any negative reason, imagine at that time that you have changed your Guru; somebody else has become your Guru.
We feel that if somebody appreciates us, we will be inspired, we will be able to go faster. But very often when we receive appreciation, our pride enters, and the ego comes forward. While others are extolling us to the skies, unconsciously they are feeding us to two formidable enemies: our pride and our ego. It may take us years to conquer this ego and pride.
When others admire us we have to be extremely careful. We have to detach ourselves. If we have done something good, we should immediately feel that we are not the doer, but that the Supreme in us has done it. The Supreme always deserves appreciation. If we have done something extraordinary, immediately we must feel, "I am just an instrument. The Supreme in me did it and I have given Him full credit and full responsibility." When others speak ill of us, we must not lose all our inspiration and aspiration and allow depression to enter. At that time also, we have to feel that we are just instruments. We must always try to separate our actions from their results. We must accept the experience, but not claim it as our very own. If we are one with the fruits of the action, then immediately ego or frustration will come forward.
At the end of our life, when we stand before God, He will ask us some questions. At that time, we will have to answer for ourselves. Those other people are not going to answer on our behalf.
The best thing is to think of God always and to feel that He is thinking of you. Feel that you are standing in front of a mirror. Look at yourself and See what is in you. Look at yourself in a mirror and immediately you will see the difference between the life you have left behind and the life you are living now, between how you spent the morning and how you are going to spend the evening. This feeling about yourself will come directly from God. At that time, let the Supreme judge you; let Him think of you.
If you always think of God, God will think of you and appreciate you. In the outer life, when two persons love each other, they are always thinking of each other and of what the other person is thinking of them. In the spiritual life also, cherish only these two thoughts: what God is thinking of you and what you are thinking of Him. Then there will be no time left for you to think of others or to worry about what others are thinking of you.
Question: How can I learn to accept myself and how can I accept the world?Sri Chinmoy: The Lord, who is all-Love, all-Mercy, all-Compassion, all-Power and all-Protection, has accepted you and is utilising you as His chosen instrument. The Infinite has accepted the finite and through the finite the infinite wants to express itself. What better reason do you need to accept yourself? The infinite has accepted you to express itself through you. With deepest joy and pride you should be able to accept yourself.
How can you accept the world? If you see the world as outside you, then this world can never be your world. The world can be yours only when you see it within yourself. When you see the world inside you, then you will automatically accept it as your own possession. If you see the world as outside yourself, then either the world possesses you or you feel that there is a yawning gulf between you and the world.
How can you accept the world? You will be able to accept the world by changing your attitude toward it. Do not believe that the world is going to the dogs, that the world is past perfection. The world carries the Message of God. This world is bound to manifest the Kingdom of Heaven. This world is God's chosen field and He will fulfil Himself here; He will manifest Himself here.
When you bring the outer world inside you, do not expect anything. Do not feel that the world will do something grand or something marvellous for you. If you expect anything, you are bound to be disappointed. If you have to expect something, then expect it from the Supreme in the world, but do not expect anything from the world directly. Your expectation must lie in the Supreme.
Accept the Supreme in man and see more perfection than imperfection in him. Try to see more truth than falsehood in him. See his right side, his positive side, his brighter side. Each individual represents the world. When you are trying to bring the world inside you, do not take it as imperfection, bondage, limitation and death. Take it as something which has infinite possibilities for the Supreme and for yourself.
Part II — Meditation
Question: When I meditate, I start off with a very good meditation, but then I lose it. How can I maintain my good meditation throughout?Sri Chinmoy: This happens to all seekers. You may meditate extremely well for ten minutes and go very high, but then you cannot maintain it, and you come back to the ordinary world again. There are various ways for you to regain and retain that height. In order to have a complete race, you have to start from the beginning. After ten minutes of meditation if you feel that you cannot go any further, relax for two or three minutes and breath deeply; then make a fresh beginning. Think again of the eagerness, enthusiasm and joy that you had before you entered the meditation room. Forget about all you have just received in the meditation. This time meditate for fifteen minutes. Perhaps you will again have the same trouble, and again, you will make a fresh attempt. First you meditated for ten minutes, then for fifteen minutes, and the third time you may meditate well for half an hour. Each time you should feel that the first race was useless because you didn't complete it, so you should make a fresh start. The second time you will go a little farther and the third time farther still. With each new effort you will be developing your inner capacity and gaining strength. After a few months or a few years, you will be able to meditate well from the beginning to the end.
There is another way to maintain your standard. It is through identification with me. Feel that I represent a boat. You have come with your ticket: regularity and aspiration. Throw yourself into the boat. There you can chant or sing or dance or sleep. You have played your part by entering into the boat. Now just stay inside the boat and the boat will carry you. Enter into my heart, my divine heart. Enter and identify yourself with me. If you can identify yourself with me for two hours, you will be able to enjoy your deepest meditation. My lowest meditation is higher than your highest meditation. So if you enter into my consciousness, my meditation will take you high, higher, highest. I will never fail in my meditation. For two hours it does not cease at all. Your meditation may go up and then fall, and when it drops you feel totally flat. But if you identify yourself with me, you will go up with me and you will never fall. In this way you can maintain your highest meditation.
Question: I was given a mantra and I've been using it an my meditation for a number of years. Now, having become your disciple, I'm trying to put it aside, but I'm having difficulty. What do you suggest?Sri Chinmoy: Just because you have become my disciple you don't have to give up the mantra, if it does not interfere with your present spiritual life. You can take it as a preliminary course. No matter which mantra you have it embodies the Supreme, and we are all manifestations of the Supreme. You have a mantra right now, but you have come to the realisation that you need a few things more in order to reach the Highest, so you have come to me. But if you get your proper mantra from a really great spiritual Master, by just repeating that mantra soulfully and sincerely, you can realise God. In India many people have realised God by using a mantra: 'Rama' or 'Krishna'. But they didn't get the mantra from a book or from a friend. When a real Master gives the mantra, the moment he gives it, his soul-power enters into the disciple. The soul-power is like a seed, and the disciple has to water it through conscious and constant aspiration. If the disciple has the capacity to water the seed, it will germinate and grow into a plant and then into a huge tree. But if the disciple does not have that kind of faith he may need more than a mantra from his Master.
An aspirant may feel that just by eating one particular food he is not satisfied. He may feel satisfied only when there are various types of food placed in front of him. Then he feels that the meal is complete. Similarly, in the spiritual life you may want a few things in addition to the mantra. But you have to know whether you have received the mantra from a real spiritual Master or just an ordinary teacher or whether you got it from a book. Wherever you got it, if the mantra that you have does not interfere with your spiritual life, then I will be the last person to tell you to give it up. But if you feel that right now it does interfere and you are unable to get rid of it, then I wish to say that giving it up is just a matter of time.
I have quite a few disciples who were initiated previously by other spiritual Masters and some of them had the same difficulty that you are going through. Eventually they gave up their mantra because they felt that it stood in the way of their deeper, higher meditation. But you may feel that, on the contrary, it adds to your aspiration or gives you some inspiration. Then you should repeat the mantra at the beginning of your meditation. Sometimes I tell disciples to do Hatha Yoga exercises for ten or fifteen minutes before they enter into deep meditation. So you can also repeat your mantra. After all, each mantra is a manifestation of the Lord Supreme. You have to see if it interferes with your present spiritual path or not. If it does not interfere, then please continue.
Question: When I am meditating I have moments of doubt. When I want to stop meditating I feel pain. What is wrong?Sri Chinmoy: When you meditate please do not have any preconceived ideas as to whether you will receive pain or joy. Do not act like a beggar. Feel that you are doing the right thing when you meditate, and when you have to come out of meditation feel that it is the proper time for your meditation to end. When you are going high, higher, highest, there is no reason to doubt yourself. While you are climbing up a tree, you know that you are climbing and you don't doubt your action. When you are sure that you are climbing to the highest, then there is nothing to doubt. Again, when you have to come out of your meditation, there is no reason to feel sorry. If you want to remain at the top of the tree and eat mangoes to your heart's content and not bring them down to distribute to mankind, to your brothers and sisters who are hungry, you are making a mistake. You should not be miserly with the fruits of your meditation.
Question: Master, I never seem to be able to distribute enough.Sri Chinmoy: Right now you do not have that much to distribute. Your Inner Pilot is satisfied with your climbing and with your distribution. It is a form of ego on your part to be dissatisfied with what you are able to give. If you give according to your capacity, God is satisfied. If you give your child a dime, you won't expect him to give a dollar to somebody else. God knows the amount of Peace, Light and Bliss He has given you. If you distribute that, He will definitely give you more the next time. You will never run short. The amount that you receive and give may be not according to your minds satisfaction, but God sees your capacity and how much your vessel can hold. As your vessel expands, naturally He will be able to pour in more Peace and Light. Only then you will be able to offer more to others.
Question: Why is it that sometimes when I sit down to meditate it is very spontaneous, but other times it is so difficult to get into a meditation state?Sri Chinmoy: Even in the outer life we can not eat most delicious food every day. In the spiritual life also, especially in the beginning, it is next to impossible to have a successful meditation every day. Even an advanced seeker sometimes sees that there are deserts in his spiritual life. Even some spiritual masters have experienced this before their own realisation. If spiritual masters have gone through this, for beginners in the spiritual life to have this kind of experience is not at all abnormal.
Material food is necessary. But spiritual food is more important to an aspirant. Now, how is it that every day we can not meditate well? It is because early each morning we do not renew our love, our devotion, our surrender to the Supreme in our Guru. Every day we eat spiritual food, but while eating we often do not offer even one second of our deepest gratitude to the Inner Pilot. We offer gratitude only when we feel we are getting something most significant. But we should know a divine secret: that the very act of praying or meditating or concentrating is a sign of divine Grace. Early in the morning, before we start our meditation, we can offer our gratitude in the form of love, devotion and surrender to the Guru, the Supreme, the Inner Pilot, because He is giving us the aspiration to meditate. Aspiration has to come first. When we offer our gratitude for the aspiration that we have already received, the aspiration that we get is the result. And every day we have to renew our love, devotion and surrender. Then we will not have to suffer from having a poor meditation even one day. And finally the time will come when we will be able to meditate spontaneously at any time. After some time, after a few years, we will become one with the consciousness of meditation. At that time the very consciousness of meditation will be pleased with us and will take care of our outer and inner life.
Question: When I have a high meditation, I get a restless feeling and feel heat in my head. Then I can't fall asleep at night.Sri Chinmoy: The first gift of a high meditation will not be heat in your head. Nothing will affect you. If you have a very good, high meditation, then restlessness is bound to disappear and peace will come. Although this is dynamic peace, it will never make you feel restless or prevent you from sleeping. In fact, in India we advise people to meditate before they go to bed. Meditation itself will help you enter into a very peaceful world.
What you are doing while you are meditating is pulling down spiritual force beyond your capacity. You are straining, which is very bad. You are trying to exert dynamic effort, but it is becoming aggressive movement instead.
Question: Sometimes when I get into meditation I feel peace and light all around me. Then someone calls me from the kitchen or some other place and I have to stop my meditation. Then I feel frustrated.Sri Chinmoy: If somebody calls you during your meditation, do not be upset. Feel that the experience that you had a few moments ago was most sublime. Then, if you can bring this peace, love or light to the person who has called you or distracted you, you will see, instead of frustration, the extension of the light you have received. Then you will feel more joy because of the expansion of your achievement.
What you are doing is separating your life of meditation from the world of reality. Instead, try to feel that you are bringing the flow of your meditation into the new situation which is the cause of the disturbance. By extending your meditation in this way, you will see it inside the situation also. Meditation is not only in silence but also in the hustle and bustle of the world. You will find that you can be happy there also.
MistakesQuestion: How can we best learn from the mistakes we make in our everyday lives?
Sri Chinmoy: What are mistakes after all? The very idea of a mistake being shameful or unmentionable creates a wrong vibration in the cosmos. If we think a mistake is something that will inevitably be followed by punishment, then we are totally wrong. First, let us take mistakes as failures. What are failures? Failures are the pillars of success. Failures are God's experiences in us. God is experiencing Himself in us and through us, and He is carrying us toward the ultimate Goal which is perfect Perfection. Second, let us take mistakes as half truths. If we take a mistake as something abominable or unpardonable, then the mistake can never be rectified or remoulded into truth. But if we consider a mistake as an imperfect truth or an infinitesimal truth, if we see in a mistake an iota of truth, then we can feel that the mistake can be rectified and transformed into truth.
When we confess a mistake, what do we actually do? We immediately identify ourselves with our largest part, the all-covering, all embracing part which includes the world and the entire humanity. At that time we can feel that our so-called mistake is not a mistake; it is an imperfection; it is a game of imperfection that we have played unconsciously and unintentionally. The moment we have enough courage to confess our mistake, God's adamantine Protection runs toward us. His Protection shelters us. His Protection immediately becomes our haven. But what do we usually do? We separate ourselves from the mistake as if it were something dirty, ugly and obscene. Instead, let us take each mistake as a lump of clay. This lump of clay can be shaped and moulded into something useful. Then, if we have wisdom and light enough, we can use it for a good purpose.
Each mistake, instead of being taken as a curse, can be taken as a blessing. Of course, we shall not commit any mistake consciously or deliberately. But if a mistake takes place in our inner nature, in our vital nature, in our physical nature, or in our physical mind, then immediately we should be ready to confess it. In our free and humble confession is our immediate emancipation. Otherwise, we shall simply be crushed by the mountain of our mistakes.
NervousnessQuestion: When you ask us to come up and meditate in front of the other disciples, 1 become very nervous and can't meditate well.
Sri Chinmoy: You have felt that my consciousness has reached the Highest. That is why you have come to me for spiritual guidance. I gave away all my nervousness during my youth when I was a champion athlete. Now if you enter into me, you will find only Peace, Light and Bliss in boundless measure. Where these qualities are there can be no nervousness. When I ask you to come up and meditate, just try to identify with me. Identification doesn't mean imitation; far from it. I don't want your life to be a carbon copy of mine. You are crying for the Highest. If you accept your inner feeling as something true, then just throw yourself, body and soul, into me, into my consciousness. You will see that nervousness or a self-conscious feeling cannot exist there. Inside my consciousness is all certainty and a flood of reality.
Part III — Lack of progress
Question: What advice do you have for a seeker who feels that he is not making progress?Sri Chinmoy: If the seeker has a Master, then he has to go to the Master, who is his spiritual doctor. If you are sick, you go to your own doctor. He knows you because he has treated you quite a few times. He knows all the symptoms of your sickness, and he knows you much better than other doctors do, for others have not treated you. So the best thing you can do at that time is to ask your own teacher.
If you don't have a teacher and you don't want a teacher, if you want to make progress all by yourself, I wish to say that your progress is bound to be very slow. It is not that if you pray to God all by yourself you will not realise Him; the first person on earth who realised God didn't have a human being as his Guru. But if he had had, he would have realised God much sooner. You may as well be wise. You are in need of inner wisdom and there is some-body who has it. There is nothing wrong in taking his help.
The real spiritual Master will never claim a monopoly on illumination. He always says that each seeker has a treasure deep inside him. The key to this treasure is inside his heart, but the key has unfortunately been lost. The Master shows the disciple where the key is hidden and how to unlock his inner treasure. Once he has the key, the seeker easily discovers the treasure inside himself. Whose treasure is it? It is the disciple's. The Master has no claim on it whatsoever. If I had something and I lost it, if somebody comes and tells me that he will be able to help me find it, if I am wise, I will immediately take his help. Once I have found it, I will claim it as my very own. And if I am divine, I will offer him my gratitude.
We have to learn the difference between a school teacher and a spiritual teacher. The school teacher gives marks. If you do well in your studies, he will pass you: If you don't do well, he will fail you. He will pass you or fail you according to your merit. But a spiritual teacher will not do that. He is like a private tutor. He will teach you carefully, lovingly, personally, so that you can pass the examination and leave the school of ignorance. He will not give you marks; he will just teach you with utmost concern so that you can pass your examination.
If you have a teacher, please go to your teacher. He is absolutely the right person to help you with your spiritual progress. If you do not have a teacher, then you should find one in whom you can have implicit faith. If you say you don't want to have one, then I advise you to mix with the disciples of some Masters. If you don't follow their path, no harm. You will get some help from them, although you will not get abundant help or infinite help. But if you want to make a little more progress, you can mix with sincere spiritual people, no matter which path they belong to. Their own aspiration will inspire you and kindle the flame of aspiration within you.
Question: Sometimes I feel that I'm not only making no progress, but actually going backwards in my spiritual life.Sri Chinmoy: Unfortunately, some people run a little, then they become tired. In fact, they become so tired that they allow ignorance to pull them backwards. Once you have started to run on the spiritual path, if you grow tired and give up the spiritual life, you will not be able to remain in one place. The forces of ignorance will just attack you mercilessly and pull you back into the sea of ignorance. But the path of the soul's evolution goes only one way. The progress that you have made during your life of aspiration will not be lost. The ignorance of the physical world and the vital world covers the soul to such an extent that the soul finds it extremely difficult to cast off its heavy load of darkness and ignorance. The soul becomes covered with a dense veil of ignorance, but once the veil is removed again, all the soul's wisdom gained in its short-lived life of aspiration comes to the fore. The soul always keeps the quintessence of its previous progressive experiences. Then again, in the process of inner evolution, the soul carries forward the mind, vital and body along with it to a more illumining and more fulfilling state of consciousness. On rare occasions human souls enter once more into an animal incarnation, but this happens very seldom, and usually only after the first or second human incarnation, when the undivine, undeveloped vital still wants to enjoy the world of passion. For a few months a human soul may go back into the animal kingdom again before it returns to the human kingdom permanently. But we are not of that low animal standard.
You have the capacity in run. You don't have to crawl; you don't have to stumble; you don't have to walk. What you need is obedience. If there is inner obedience, then there is nothing that we cannot do, absolutely nothing. But almost everybody is lacking inner obedience. Our path is the path of love, devotion and surrender. Unfortunately, even before love can grow, what is necessary is obedience. This obedience must be based on inner faith. Otherwise, why should you obey me rather than some body else? Why have you come to me? Because you have some faith in me. If you cultivate that faith, you will soon grow into obedience. When you do what I ask, the result comes in the form of either success or failure. You have to offer both at the Feet of the Supreme. But if you don't play your part, then the Supreme has every right to feel that you have deceived Him and deserted Him. He must not be deceived; He must not be deserted. It is only your disobedience, your ignorance, which keeps you from fulfilling your role and making the utmost progress.
Question: Since I started meditating, I feel that I have become more vulnerable to wrong forces. How can I protect myself?Sri Chinmoy: This means that the meditation that you are doing is not right. If you are meditating properly, it is impossible for you to become more vulnerable to hostile forces. You may be attacked more often for a while, but the right kind of meditation will only strengthen your inner being and increase your inner light. If your meditation is correct, you will be able to conquer all the forces that are standing in your way. But to have the proper meditation either you have to learn very slowly from within or you have to get instruction from a spiritual Master.
At this point in your spiritual development, if you try to meditate for four hours, all the forces will attack you. To meditate for a long period of time one needs abundant will power and inner strength. But if one really has the inner strength to meditate correctly, naturally he will be able to defeat any forces that may threaten or frighten him. Real meditation brings peace, strength and joy. Joy and peace are like two divine soldiers who will fight against ignorance for you. If you meditate properly, there will be many inner warriors to fight for you, and all these undivine forces are bound to be conquered.
RestlessnessQuestion: I have been trying to meditate for some months, but I have had two problems. One is restlessness and the other is depression.
Sri Chinmoy: Restlessness can be in the mind, in the vital, in the gross physical and to a certain extent in the heart. In your case, restlessness is present because the mind is not consciously becoming one with the soul's light. The soul is crying to offer light to the mind but the mind is rejecting it consciously and deliberately. The physical mind does not want to meditate to overcome restlessness. What you need is the illumined mind or the mind that has been consciously purified by the soul's light.
In your case, depression occurs for two reasons. The first is that when you have a good, sound meditation, the ordinary vital, the vital which cries for outer satisfaction and outer achievements, feels that it is going to starve and die. The calmness you receive in meditation is like poison to the restless vital. So it invites depression because it feels that its very existence is threatened. The second reason why you are depressed is that when the heart brings the message from the soul that you have promised to reach the ultimate Goal in this life or the next life, you allow yourself to feel that the Goal is very far from where you are now. In the far distant future you see all sunshine, but when you observe your present situation you feel that it is all darkness and foul, inclement weather. Since you can see no connecting link between the possibility of the golden future and the reality of the present, naturally depression starts.
The best thing you can do right now is to meditate regularly early in the morning without expecting anything from your meditation. If you offer a child your love, concern and affection, you do not expect anything from him. Try to feel that your meditation is like a child right now. Give what you have-love and conscious concern -to this child and don't expect anything in return. Then at the right time, when the child grows up, the wealth of meditation will flow to the fore like a gushing spring.
SelfishnessQuestion: I feel that I am very selfish. What actually is selfishness?
Sri Chinmoy: Selfishness is something that does not allow us to expand. We can expand ourselves only by entering into something that is really vast. By thinking of selfishness or knowing what it is, we cannot conquer selfishness. Let us think of widening some aspect of our consciousness. If we think of joy, we will see that it will spread, because the very nature of joy is to spread. One cannot hold back divine joy; it has to expand and expand. When we think of light, we cannot be bound, although now selfishness is binding us. Pleasure and selfishness are destructive powers inside us. When we are selfish and do not want to share with others, at that time we are binding ourselves. The real joy which comes from the heart only gets its fulfilment by expanding, spreading and sharing. When you feel that you are being selfish, please try to find something within you which can be expanded or extended. Immediately you will see that it is the feeling of oneness. Why are you selfish? Just because you have not yet established your conscious oneness with someone. If you feel your oneness with someone, immediately you will be ready to give him all that you yourself have.
Right now you experience selfishness toward your friends, relatives and acquaintances. You are sincere enough to admit that you are selfish, but if you think that your friends and relatives are not selfish, it is not true. If you go deep within, you will see that there are many people on earth who are more selfish than you. If you can feel on the strength of your aspiration and meditation that your friends and neighbours are all inside you and you are inside them, then you will have established a feeling of divine oneness. In oneness there cannot be any selfishness. Who will play the role of selfishness when you feel that you and he and she are all one?
When you meditate daily, feel that you are like a bird spreading its wings little by little. When your wings are fully spread you are ready to fly. And when you are soaring with the whole sky before you, flying with your wings spread wide open over the whole world, then you cannot be selfish because the world belongs to you. The wider you can spread your consciousness, the sooner your selfishness will disappear. In order to spread your consciousness-wings, you have to do only one thing: meditate regularly, sincerely and devotedly. Meditation is the only answer. You may read hundreds of books full of all kinds of ideas on how to conquer your selfishness, but you will never be able to conquer it with books. Only if you meditate will you be able to find the way which will be most effective for you.
Part IV — Sleep
Question: I meditate at night from 10:00 to 10:30. I would like to know if it is a good idea to go to sleep right after my evening meditation?Sri Chinmoy: Immediately after a half hour of meditation it is not good to go to sleep. You should remain awake for five or ten minutes. This will give you time to consciously assimilate the benefits of your meditation. If you do go right to sleep, you may get pain in your back, or your mind may become tense. Let the body slowly, slowly move from the world of meditation into the world of sleep; then go to bed.
Question: Sometimes when I meditate I feel as though I am being drained of energy, and I go into a type of sleep that is hard to come out of.Sri Chinmoy: You are relaxing too much. It is not good to be tense when you meditate, but you are going to the opposite extreme. When you meditate you have to make a conscious effort. This does not mean an aggressive effort. But in your case, while you are meditating you are unconsciously enjoying a kind of lethargy in your being.
When you meditate please feel that there is someone who is watching you. That person is not a detective. He is only watching how sincerely and devotedly you are praying and meditating. When we perform, if there is an audience, we tend to do our best, or at least try to offer all our capacity. But when we see that there is nobody looking, we often just waste time. You have to realise that God is watching you, observing you. You have to feel that He is giving you marks. This is absolutely true. He is very impartial. You may not see Him, but He is watching you at every second. But the Supreme is not an inspector. He gives you the mark that you deserve and then, like a private tutor, He tells you how you can raise your grade.
Question: When I go to sleep at night I feel a pressure to remain in meditation longer, and when I sleep my dreams tell me to wake up and meditate. If I ignore them, the next dream says that my higher self is very unhappy.Sri Chinmoy: No matter what your dreams say, in your particular case you need a minimum of seven hours of sleep in order for your body and mind to get enough rest. If you let your dreams make you feel that when you are sleeping you are wasting your precious time, then when you are meditating, the light of your inner voice will tell you that your health is suffering because you are not taking the necessary rest. At the present stage of your spiritual evolution you need seven hours of sleep. But the hostile forces like to create problems for us. According to them, no matter what we do, we are always doing something wrong. You have to be firm about this. You must tell them, "What I am doing is right for me and I don't want to hear anything else." If you want to meditate more, you will have to begin your meditation earlier, rather than continuing it later and taking the time away from your necessary rest.
Question: I always expect that the light will subside when I want to withdraw from meditation; but it doesn't, and that is why I want to continue meditating instead of going to sleep.Sri Chinmoy: What you are calling light is not real light; it is false light it is your mental conception of light. Real light will fill you with dynamic energy. It will bring you out of ignorance. If you are really receiving so much light during your meditation then you will be divinely energised and your body will not need as much sleep as I see you do need.
Part V — Negative thoughts
Question: You have suggested that we think of people's divine qualities rather than their negative ones, but I haven't been able to do this successfully.Sri Chinmoy: I am most proud of you for your sincerity. Here is something that will help you. If people have good qualities, feel that you have those qualities more than they have, only right now those qualities have not come forward or perhaps the Supreme is not utilising those divine qualities in you right now. If you do not see good qualities in your own outer life, you should feel that you have them but the time has not yet come for those qualities to come forward.
But if you feel that someone else's bad qualities are entering into you instead of their good qualities, then immediately you can use two weapons. The weapon of compassion makes you see their bad qualities as a heavy load on their shoulders. You will think, "I am running the fastest and I shall reach my goal, but see what a heavy load this poor fellow has on his shoulders! I pity him. But I have my own goal to reach, and when the time comes he will also reach his goal." In that way we can sympathise with him.
Our other weapon is to think, "I have no time to waste in contemplating all his bad qualities. My time is very precious. If I spend time thinking of this or that person, I am a fool. By thinking of them or being jealous of them I will never reach my goal. I will be running toward a new, self-created goal, which is all wrong."
We run the fastest when we don't look to this side or that side. If we let ourselves become distracted by thinking of the person who is either beside us or behind us but not at the goal itself, we will fail to reach the goal. We are running toward the goal for peace, light and bliss. Since we cannot get these things from the imperfect person we are thinking of, why should we waste our time thinking of him? Always think of the goal and your problem will be solved.
Question: Is there ever a time when negative thoughts stop coming into one's mind?Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. That time is bound to come. In the meantime you must try not to think negatively. Do not think, "I am a sinner of the first water; I will never be able to realise God. My inner life will never be inundated with infinite Light and Bliss." You should think positively: "I am God's chosen child. He will make me a perfect image of Himself. He will proclaim His Message in me and through me. I will be His chosen instrument, a perfect channel of God." With these positive thoughts you will soon succeed.
We have to know what we want. We want God the omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. If we are approaching Him through love, devotion and surrender, we shall eventually become one with Him positively, convincingly and most fulfillingly. We can consciously make ourselves feel that we are God's child and that we have within us everything that He has: His infinite Treasure of Peace, Bliss and Power is inside us. We have only to uncover it. These positive ideas will put a definite end to our negative thoughts.
In India there was a great spiritual Master named Sri Ramakrishna, who used to say, "If you say you are a thief and a sinner, then you will forever remain a thief and a sinner. But if you say, 'I have repeated God's Name, I am God's child,' then how can you continue to do wrong?" Nothing on earth or in Heaven can hold you back if you have faith in your Source. The highest aspiration of your inner divinity will carry you toward the goal.
Positive thoughts are needed at every moment of your existence in order to destroy your negative thoughts. Then, when the flame of aspiration climbs high, higher, highest, you will see that you possess a purifying fire that will burn away all your negative thoughts. From now on try to climb high and dive deep into your inner being and from there bring your adamantine willpower to the fore. Once you attack your negative thoughts with your inner will, the will of the soul, all negative and destructive thoughts can easily be annihilated.
Question: You have said something to the effect that if we hate our unruly thoughts, it will get us nowhere. I don't understand that.Sri Chinmoy: If you hate these thoughts, you are feeding their desire for attention and importance and they will constantly come and bother you. Either you have to transform them or you have to feel that they are not part and parcel of your life. If ignorance and darkness are not totally transformed, they will always remain your enemies. But by hating ignorance or darkness, you can never transform them. If you do not have the capacity to transform them right now, you can save the situation by feeling that you don't belong to them and they don't belong to you. If you continually hate your enemy, your enemy will not leave you alone. He will constantly come and attack you.
Hating will never bring you nearer to your goal. You have to either transform or reject ignorance, the enemy. You can do it if you try!
Question: When I am trying to meditate, my mind is always thinking about my studies. How can I stop this?Sri Chinmoy: You have to feel that if you meditate properly, it will help you in your studies also. Studies are necessary for you right now, so do not separate your studies from your meditation. Suppose you have to learn a short poem. It may require twenty minutes to learn it. But if you meditate on the poem or on God for two or three minutes, you will be able to learn it in a much shorter time. In this way you will always get help in your studies from real meditation.
Meditation is the medicine which can cure everything. Meditation is an additional help in everything. You don't have to meditate for two hours and then study for five minutes. On the contrary, you can meditate for five minutes and then study for two hours. If you meditate for five minutes before you study, the strength the power, the intensity of your meditation will help you in your studies and in all your mental activities.
You will be able to silence your mind if you feel that you have to do first things first. First comes God, not your books. If you think of God first, you will see that the God you invoked during your meditation will help you in your studies. God is everywhere, but you have to touch His Feet before you touch His Head. In your studies also, first touch the source, then climb up the tree. God is the root and source of your activities. When you invoke or enter into His divine Consciousness before studying, you will see that your mental capacities will also be lifted up.
Part VI — Poems from the first edition
Let them dieO sweet Lord,
Let my depression-night die
In its first moment
O eternal Lord,
Let my frustration-sea die
In its first moment
O beloved Lord,
Let my destruction-tornado die
In its first moment
Learn to shut the doorLearn to shut the door.
Fear will not frighten you.
Learn to shut the door.
Doubt will not blight you.
Learn to shut the door.
Jealousy will not strangle you.
Learn to open the door.
Courage will beautify you.
Learn to open the door.
Faith will glorify you.
Learn to open the door.
Oneness will immortalise you.
There is a cure.
I am not sure
There is a cure.
I am sure
There is no cure.
Backward and doomedMind, my mind,
Backward to your long-forgotten impurity..
Doomed your life-success
Vital, my vital,
Backward to the beast..
Doomed your life-progress
Body, my body,
Backward to the stone-life..
Doomed your life-dreams
Their incapacityI do not fly with fear,
Fear dies on the way.
I do not sing with doubt,
Doubt forgets the tune.
I do not dance with anxiety,
Anxiety has lost its innocent charm.
I touchedI touched
The tail of jealousy.
It threw at me
A garland of curses.
The eyes of doubt.
They gave me
A glass of venom-water.
The heart of fear.
It presented me
The soul of faith.
It offered me
God's Garland of Roses.
Look, foolish ones!Mind, my foolish mind,
The age of anxiety
Heart, my tiny heart,
The age of insecurity
Vital, my blind vital,
The age of impurity
Body, my poor body,
The age of inferiority