Talk by: Sri Chinmoy on Self transcendence
Dear sisters and brothers, dear seekers of the highest Transcendental Truth, I wish to give a short talk on self transcendence.
We are all seekers who wish to transcend our present realities. Why do we want to transcend? We want to transcend because the life of ignorance, bondage, imperfection and death cannot satisfy us. We want to achieve something. We want to grow into something which is eternal; we want to grow into the very image of Immortality.
Right in front of us there are two worlds: the world of desire and the world of aspiration. When our life belongs to the desire world, we feel that satisfaction is always a far cry. When our life belongs to the aspiration world, we feel that satisfaction is our birthright. The life of desire is a life of self chosen bondage. The life of aspiration is a life of God chosen transcendence.
In our life of self transcendence, from the lower we grow into the higher. The lower is transformed into the higher, the less perfect is transformed into the more perfect. Things that have to be rejected, we reject; things that have to be transformed, we transform; things that have to be transcended, we transcend. This process of transcendence is beyond the thinking of the mental man. It finds its existence in the self giving of the psychic man. The psychic man becomes part and parcel of reality by identifying with reality itself. The thinking man, the doubting man, finds it extremely difficult or impossible to identify himself with that reality.
In our ordinary life we deal with constant possibility, and at the end of our efforts we meet with either success or failure. But in the spiritual life, we do not care for failure or success; we care only for progress. In this way, possibility is transformed into inevitability.
A seeker of the Highest Truth, the moment he enters into the spiritual life, feels that he has transcended his life of conscious impurity and obscurity. The life of desire he has transcended; now he is living the life of aspiration. At every moment he has the golden opportunity to go high, higher, highest on the strength of his inner mounting cry. Each time our aspiration, our mounting cry, touches the highest pinnacle, it is fired again. The goal that it touches need not and cannot be the ultimate Goal, for today’s goal is tomorrow’s starting point. Again, tomorrow’s goal will be the starting point for the day after tomorrow. There is no end to our realisation. There is no end to our self transcendence. Our aspiration ascends, our realisation transcends, our satisfaction dawns, finally our God smiles. With our inner cry we ascend to God’s descending Smile. When we feed our inner cry, and when we become our inner cry, at that time our song of realisation and transcendence begins.
In order to transcend, two things are of paramount importance: our personal effort and God’s Grace. By personal effort alone, we cannot transcend ourselves. Again, God’s Grace will not do anything unless and until we are receptive. If we can receive God’s Grace and properly use it, then only can we reach the Highest. A sincere seeker is transcending his previous reality at every moment. When he transcends, he does not reject anything. The sincere seeker accepts the world as his very own. Like a potter who accepts clay and moulds it into some thing beautiful, a spiritual seeker accepts the life of ignorance and tries to transform it with his inner wisdom light.
In our deepest philosophy, we consider past achievements of no value. We say the past is dust. The past has given us what it has to offer, but it has not given us what we need: liberation, realisation, salvation and perfection. So it is today, it is in the immediacy of the present, that we have to grow into the spiritual life. Since most of us are beginners in the spiritual life we try to meditate for five minutes, ten minutes, half an hour, or an hour a day, and to keep our best consciousness always to the fore. If we can meditate an hour a day, we try to extend the effects of this meditation throughout the whole day. As soon as a child throws a ball, its momentum keeps it going, and it covers a considerable distance. So also our soulful prayer and meditation, even if it only lasts half an hour, projects our aspiring consciousness into the heart of each day and enters into all our multifarious activities as they unfold hour by hour.
As in the world of desire we want to grow and expand, so also do we want to grow and expand in the spiritual life. In the beginning we want an iota of Light, then we wish to have abundant Light, and then infinite Light. But there is a great difference between the expansion of our earthly desires and the expansion of our divine aspiration. When we possess mortal life, the desire life, we are not actually satisfied. Even when our desires are fulfilled, we discover that we have new desires, and there is no abiding satisfaction. We have always the same hunger, the same unsaturated, unfulfilled hunger. But in the spiritual life, when we get an iota of Peace, Light and Bliss-although our ultimate aim is to have these in infinite measure-even an iota gives us a sense of satisfaction. And, in the long run, at God’s choice Hour, we do get Peace, Light and Bliss in infinite measure. Each time we are divinely satisfied and fulfilled, we transcend our earthbound reality and enter into the Heaven free Reality.
The motto of this state is “Agriculture and commerce.” The spiritual seeker is a farmer. He cultivates his heart here in this world and receives from above, like falling rain, the divine Grace. At the time when the seeker develops one pointed devotion to the Inner Pilot, he collects the bumper crop of realisation. It is like an exchange of natural capacities. The seeker identifies himself with the consciousness of earth, increasing his receptivity through surrender. And at the same time he invokes the transcendental consciousness from above. When the earth consciousness and the Transcendental Consciousness meet, when earth’s surrender and Heaven’s Grace join together, at that time realisation dawns in the seeker’s aspiring life. There is a royal road that leads to self transcendence. That road is our surrender, our conscious, unconditional surrender to the Will of the Absolute Supreme.
By: Sri Chinmoy
February 21st, 1974
University of Tennessee