“If the aspiration and surrender are total, [protection from a bad atmosphere] is done automatically. But you must see to it that they are total; and besides, as I was saying just now, you become very clearly aware of it, for the moment they are not total, you are no longer happy. You feel uneasy, very miserable, dejected, a bit unhappy: “Things are not quite pleasant today. They are the same as they were yesterday; yesterday they were marvellous, today they are not pleasing!” — Why? Because yesterday you were in a perfect state of surrender, more or less perfect — and today you aren’t any more. So, what was so beautiful yesterday is no longer beautiful today. That joy you had within you, that confidence, the assurance that all will be well and the great Work will be accomplished, that certitude — all this, you see, has become veiled, has been replaced by a kind of doubt and, yes, by a discontent: “Things are not beautiful, the world is nasty, people are not pleasant.” It goes sometimes to this length: “The food is not good, yesterday it was excellent.” It is the same but today it is not good! This is the barometer! You may immediately tell yourself that an insincerity has crept in somewhere. It is very easy to know, you don’t need to be very learned, for, as Sri Aurobindo has said in 'Elements of Yoga: One knows whether one is happy or unhappy, one knows whether one is content or discontented, one doesn’t need to ask oneself, put complicated questions for this, one knows it! — Well, it is very simple.
The moment you feel unhappy, you may write beneath it: “I am not sincere!” These two sentences go together:
“I FEEL UNHAPPY.”
“I AM NOT SINCERE.”
Now, what is it that is wrong? Then one begins to take a look, it is easy to find out...”
- Questions and Answers 1954, p.215