Question: Is there any specific spiritual discipline that we should practise to make progress on our birthday?

Sri Chinmoy: On that day only offer your gratitude every second, every minute, every hour. If you cannot do it every minute, then every hour try to offer gratitude to the Supreme. In the morning, only once, think of the environments where you were brought up, your school, your college and so on, and think of what you could have otherwise become. If you had steered your life-boat the way your school friends who were not spiritual did, then would you have been happy? No. Even if you are making progress very slowly at the present time, you will be so grateful to God that you are still in the boat and heading in the right direction. Your goal is destined. Most of your previous friends have taken another road, the road of desire. Desire is a zigzag road. It goes this side and that side.

If every hour you can offer gratitude, then automatically God will expedite your progress. A birthday is meant for gratitude. Your soul came into the world to do something really great and good for mankind. That opportunity God has given you, and now you are utilising it properly. Because God has given you the opportunity, plus the capacity to fulfil His Dream in and through your life of aspiration and dedication, your gratitude-heart has to come to the fore. Usually, on the physical plane, human beings forget what they have received from God — so much Affection, Blessings, Love and Compassion. The result you will feel only when you look around. It is not that every hour you will think of your unfortunate friends, no. Only once, early in the morning, you will offer your gratitude when you see what you would have been doing if you had not accepted the spiritual life. You have to see your own inner progress, your own inner love, inner awareness and inner awakening. Gratitude will automatically come when you make a comparison with others who are not in the spiritual life.

Gratitude comes either by comparing your life now with what you would have become if you had not accepted the spiritual life or by being aware of the One who gave you the capacity to continue following the spiritual life. There are millions and millions of people on earth who are not aware of God, who do not believe in God, but you are fully aware of God's existence. Now, your goal is to realise God and manifest Him here on earth. You are aware of your goal; you are awakened. For these things, if you can offer gratitude every hour, then it will definitely expedite your inner progress.

There are many, many things you have done which are good, and for that you have to offer gratitude. Again, there are many, many bad things which you have not done. For that also you have to offer gratitude. Just look at your present consciousness. You are on a particular branch of the life-tree. You may not be climbing very fast, but still you are on a branch. There is tremendous opportunity for you to climb up. Here again you can offer gratitude. In so many ways you can offer gratitude to God. For a seeker, a birthday is meant to offer continuous gratitude so that God can be more pleased and God can use the seeker more confidently and proudly.