How can we discern whether a cry is coming from our heart or our vital? Sri Chinmoy explains the difference:

“If it comes from the heart, then this inner cry will definitely give you joy. The vital and the heart are very close to one another. So we sometimes mistake the heart for the vital or the vital for the heart. If the cry comes from the vital, then there will be depression in your outer life. But if the cry comes from the heart, if it is a real cry, then this mounting cry itself is joy. When we intensely cry for God in our meditation or in our prayers, we do not have to wait for the results. At that time the cry itself is joy.

“The vital is very tricky. It tries to take the place of the heart. The heart is compassionate. It allows the vital to do this.

“Again, if it is a real cry from the heart, a burning cry, the cry itself has joy; it is joy itself. But many times when we feel that our cry is very deep, it is actually the cry of the vital’s suffering. The vital makes us feel that our cry is coming from the inmost recesses of our heart. In this way, the vital’s cry creates problems. Although the intense cry is there, it is not the intense cry of the heart. The cry of the vital will eventually meet with frustration because it is founded upon expectation. But when we have a very intense inner cry or longing for God, we will find that in our longing we are getting so much joy. Even if God does not come and stand in front of us, we do not mind.”
– Sri Chinmoy