Question: In your writings you say that there are different levels of consciousness: the inanimate one of stones, the plant world, the animal kingdom and the human state of existence. They are all progressing towards the divine state. Spiritual seekers try to climb up the progress-tree with spiritual methods such as meditation, but sometimes they fail. What happens to them? What do you advise for those who have difficulty meditating and cannot set aside fifteen minutes per day for their spiritual disciplines?

Sri Chinmoy: People who fail while trying to climb up the progress-tree will not always continue to fail. They will definitely succeed one day, for no soul will remain unrealised and imperfect forever. People who right now cannot meditate and discipline themselves should continue to try, continue to aspire, and one day their efforts will be crowned with success.

Making spiritual progress is like developing a muscle. Slowly and steadily, through regular practice, we develop stronger muscles. That is also the way we develop our inner muscles, which are inspiration, aspiration and dedication.

If I cannot meditate for fifteen minutes, I shall try to meditate for ten minutes. If I cannot meditate for ten minutes, I shall try to meditate for five minutes or three minutes. But I have to start. Then gradually I will increase my inner strength.

It is the same thing with leading a spiritual and disciplined life. To start with, someone can count how many good things he has done and how many bad things he has done in one particular day. Then each day he will try to decrease his bad actions and increase his good actions. Similarly, he must also try each day to be more disciplined in his actions. In this way slowly and steadily he will change his life.

What is most important is to try to develop a genuine hunger for God’s Love, God’s Compassion and God’s Blessings. There are two ways to increase one’s inner hunger. One way is to cry to God like a helpless child crying for his mother. The other way is to offer up one’s actions to God while keeping a cheerful attitude. With both these ways the seeker can make real inner progress.