Question: How can we tell which is our ego's will and which is the soul's will?

Sri Chinmoy: When it is our ego's will, we try to achieve something by hook or by crook. That is to say, we don't hesitate to employ foul means. We try to do something and then, if we see that we have not succeeded, immediately we try to achieve it by any means at all. That is our ego's will. If we don't achieve our goal even then, we curse the person from whom we expected the thing or we curse the thing which we wanted to achieve and could not achieve.

The soul's will has infinitely more power than the ego's will, but the soul uses its power only because God is inspiring it to achieve something divine. This is what makes the soul's will divine: God's Power is behind it. When we bring the soul's will to the fore, the first thing that we feel is a kind of inner conviction. From deep within we receive the inner conviction that our Inner Pilot wants a certain thing from us. We feel clearly what we want to be or what we want to achieve, plus we feel the inspiration to do the thing. The ego's will, on the other hand, does not offer us this inner assurance. Although we are not convinced inwardly, we try to convince ourselves that we are doing the right thing, even when we are adopting foul means. We try to convince ourselves through our mind, through our vital, through our physical.

When it is the soul's will, we automatically feel not only an inner conviction but also a kind of inner confidence. If God wants us to win, to succeed or to achieve, then we know that He will give indomitable will to the soul. This inner confidence is accompanied by an inner joy, sometimes an inner ecstasy. In the case of the ego, this does not happen. While we are exercising our ego's will, there will often be some fear in it. "Perhaps I will lose the battle. Perhaps my pride will be smashed. Perhaps I will be outdone by the other party." A constant battle is going on. Although we may feel that we are stronger, more powerful, more dynamic, we have no security or confidence. We are afraid that we will be defeated or will not have the capacity to achieve our desire. But the soul's will does not care for success. The soul's will cares only for progress and experience.

When the soul's will power is utilised, it is like a huge wave in the sea. Immediately it inundates the entire consciousness. Once the soul's will is expressed, we are bound to feel that our inner consciousness is inundated with divine energy, inner joy, inner delight, inner power and inner confidence. Everything negative is swept away by the surge of the soul's force. But when we use the ego's will, we feel that we are personally building a palace. We have enormous pride, but also fear that even while building it the palace may crack or collapse. With fear comes doubt. When fear and doubt go together, we see frustration and destruction looming large. But the soul's will is inundated with inner confidence, inner assurance and inner oneness with the Highest. In this inner confidence is true divinity.