Question: Is there a lesson to be learned when someone deceives us?Sri Chinmoy: You have to know that the life of one who deceives you and your own life are totally different. If somebody brings a snake right in front of you, will you just stay there and say, "Oh, God is here!"? God is in the snake, true. Still one can't stay in front of a snake and not be bitten. When you were of the standard of the snake, you could have stood in front of the snake and not been bitten. But now you have surpassed the snake. You no longer have the standard of a snake, so you have to be very careful.
God is everywhere, but you have to know your standard. If God is in everybody, then why come to the meditation hall? At this time you could have gone to a bar. God is also inside the people who are drinking there. But you don't go there because you know that in comparison this is a better place. So you have to be very wise. Birds of a feather flock together. Now you have entered into the spiritual life. Our standard is much higher, infinitely higher, than those people, so you cannot mix with them. At the same time you should not hate them. It is just that you cannot treasure some of the qualities they have. God is having a particular experience inside them, and God is telling us not to have that same experience.
We can learn from others' deception, and we can learn from our own diligence. When we are alert, we learn a few things, and when we are not alert, we learn a few other things. When we are alert, we don't learn anything from our failures, or so-called trouble. When we are alert and very diligent, we go from light to more light. But when you mix with people who are not aspiring consciously and deliberately, then you enter into ignorance. We are in darkness, and from darkness we try to come to light. From light we can go to more light and abundant light. When we mix with spiritual people, we go from light to higher light. So in the future, only mix with other spiritual seekers.