Question: How can you tell that you are not just fooling yourself when you follow a spiritual life? How do you know if you are really making progress?

Sri Chinmoy: If you enter into the spiritual life, there comes a time when your inner experiences will prove to you that you are not fooling yourself. Temptation-life will go away, deception-life will go away, insincerity will go away, impurity will go away, anxiety will go away, the life of doubt and self-doubt will go away. So when these things leave you — these friends or enemies or whatever you want to call them — then you will know whether you are fooling yourself or not.

If you see that these forces — fear, doubt, anxiety, worry, temptation and desire-life — are still within you, even though you pray to God, then naturally you are fooling yourself. But if you are living a life of aspiration and every day your desire is decreasing, your anxiety is decreasing, your worries and all other undivine things are leaving you, then naturally you know you are making progress. At that time, you will easily know whether you are fooling yourself or not.