classes ::: chapter, Sri_Aurobindo_or_the_Adventure_of_Consciousness, Satprem, Integral_Yoga,
children :::
branches :::

Instances, Classes, See Also, Object in Names
Definitions, . Quotes . - . Chapters .


object:1.04 - The Silent Mind
class:chapter
book class:Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness
author class:Satprem
subject class:Integral Yoga


Mental Constructions The first stage in Sri Aurobindo's yoga, and the major task that opens the door to many realizations, is mental silence. Why mental silence,
one may ask? Clearly, if we wish to discover a new country within us,
we must first leave the old one behind; everything depends upon our determination in taking this first step. Sometimes it can happen in a flash. Something in us cries out: "Enough of this grinding!" We at once are on our way, walking forth without ever looking back. Others say yes then no; they vacillate endlessly between two worlds. Let us emphasize here that the aim is not to amputate from ourselves any painfully acquired possession in the name of Wisdom-Peace-Serenity (we will also avoid using big and empty words); we are not seeking holiness but youth the eternal youth of an ever-progressing being;
we are not seeking a lesser being but a better being and above all a vaster one: Has it not occurred to you that if they really sought for something cold, dark and gloomy as the supreme good, they would not be sages but asses?28 Sri Aurobindo once humorously remarked.
Actually, one makes all kinds of discoveries when the mental machine stops, and first of all one realizes that if the power to think is a remarkable gift, the power not to think29 is a far greater one yet; let the seeker try it for just a few minutes, and he will soon see what this means! He will realize that he lives in a surreptitious racket, an exhausting and ceaseless whirlwind exclusively filled with his thoughts, his feelings, his impulses, his reactions him, always him,
an oversized gnome intruding into everything, obscuring everything,
hearing and seeing only himself, knowing only himself (if even that!),
whose unchanging themes manage to give the illusion of novelty only through their alternation. In a certain sense we are nothing but a 28
29

Life, Literature and Yoga, 86
The Synthesis of Yoga, 20:302


complex mass of mental, nervous and physical habits held together by a few ruling ideas, desires and associations an amalgam of many small self-repeating forces with a few major vibrations. 30 By the age of eighteen we are set, one might say, with our major vibrations established. Then the deposits of the same perpetual thing with a thousand different faces we call culture or "our" self will ceaselessly settle around this primary structure in ever thicker layers, increasingly refined and polished. We are in fact shut in a construction, which may be like lead, without even a small opening, or as graceful as a minaret;
but whether in a granite skin or a glass statue, we are nonetheless confined, forever buzzing and repetitive. The first task of yoga is to breathe freely, to shatter that mental screen, which allows only one type of vibration to get through, in order to discover the multicolored infinity of vibrations; that is, the world and people as they really are,
and another "self" within ourselves, whose worth is beyond any mental appreciation.

Active Meditation When we sit with our eyes closed to silence the mind, we are at first submerged by a torrent of thoughts; they crop up from every side, like frightened or even aggressive rats. There is only one way to stop this racket: to try and try again, patiently and persistently; above all, we must shift our concentration elsewhere, and not make the mistake of struggling mentally with the mind. All of us have, above the mind or deep inside ourselves, an aspiration, the very thing that has put us on the path in the first place, a yearning of our being, a password that has a special meaning for us; if we cling to that, the work becomes easier,
positively rather than negatively oriented, and the more we repeat our password, the more powerful it becomes. We can also use an image,
for instance that of a vast ocean without a ripple upon which we float,
becoming that tranquil vastness. We thus learn not only silence but expansion of consciousness. Each person must find his own method,
and the less tension he brings to it, the more quickly he will succeed:
One may start a process of one kind or another for the purpose which 30

The Synthesis of Yoga, 20:65


would normally mean a long labour and be seized, even at the outset,
by a rapid intervention or manifestation of Silence with an effect out of all proportion to the means used at the beginning. One commences with a method, but the work it taken up by a Grace from above, from That to which one aspires or an irruption of the infinitudes of the Spirit. It was in this last way that I myself came by the mind's absolute silence, unimaginable to me before I had its actual experience. 31 This is a most important point indeed. For we might think that these yogic experiences are all very nice and interesting, but that they are far beyond our ordinary human grasp; how could we, such as we are, ever get there? Our mistake is in judging with our present self possibilities that belong to another self. By the simple fact of setting out on the path, the yoga automatically awakens a whole range of latent faculties and invisible forces that far exceed the possibilities of our outer being and can do for us things that we are normally incapable of doing: One had to have the passage clear between the outer mind and something in the inner being . . . for they (the Yogic consciousness and its powers) are already there within you,32 and the best way of "clearing"
the passage is to silence the mind. We do not know who we are, and still less what we are capable of.
But exercises of meditation are not the true solution to the problem (though they may be necessary at the beginning to provide an initial momentum), because even if we achieve a relative silence, the moment we set foot outside our room or retreat, we fall right back into the usual turmoil as well as into the familiar separation between inner and outer self, inner life and worldly life. What we need is a total life;
we need to live the truth of our being every day, at every moment, not only on holidays or in solitude, and blissful meditations in pastoral settings simply will not achieve this. We may get incrusted in our spiritual seclusion and find it difficult later on to pour ourselves triumphantly outwards and apply to life our gains in the higher Nature. When we turn to add this external kingdom also to our inner conquests, we shall find ourselves too much accustomed to an activity purely subjective and ineffective on the material plane. There will be 31
32

On Himself, 26:85
Sri Aurobindo Came to Me, 219


an immense difficulty in transforming the outer life and the body. Or we shall find that our action does not correspond with the inner light:
it still follows the old accustomed mistaken paths, still obeys the old normal imperfect influences; the Truth within us continues to be separated by a painful gulf from the ignorant mechanism of our external nature. . . . It is as if we were living in another, a larger and subtler world and had no divine hold, perhaps little hold of any kind,
upon the material and terrestrial experience. 33 The only solution is therefore to practice silencing the mind just where it is seemingly the most difficult: on the street, in the subway, at work, everywhere.
Instead of going through Grand Central Station four times a day like someone hounded and forever in a rush, we can walk there consciously, as a seeker. Instead of living haphazardly, dispersed in a multitude of thoughts, which not only lack any excitement but are also as exhausting as a broken record, we can gather the scattered threads of our consciousness and work on ourselves at every moment. Then life begins to become surprisingly exciting, because the least little circumstance becomes an opportunity for victory; we are focused; we are going somewhere instead of going nowhere.
For yoga is not a way of doing but of being.

The Transition We are thus in search of another country; but, we must admit, between the one we leave behind and the one we have not yet reached, there is a rather uncomfortable no-man's-land. It is a period of trial, whose length depends upon our own determination; but, as we know, from time immemorial, from the Eastern, Egyptian, or Orphic initiations to the quest for the Holy Grail, the story of man's ascent has always been attended by trials. In the past they were mainly romantic. What was so earthshaking, after all, about getting oneself sealed in a sarcophagus while the fifes were playing, or celebrating one's own funeral rites around a pyre? Today the sarcophagi have become public, and some human lives are a kind of burial. It is therefore worthwhile to make 33

The Synthesis of Yoga, 20:86


some effort to get out. When we take a good look around, we see we haven't much to lose by making that effort.
The main difficulty of this transition is the inner void. After living in a condition of mental effervescence, we suddenly feel like a convalescent, rather lost, with strange echoes in our head, as if this world were horribly noisy and tiring. We become extremely sensitive,
with an impression of bumping into everything, into gray or aggressive people, heavy objects, brutal events; the world appears enormously absurd. This is a sure sign of the beginning of interiorization. Yet if we try to go consciously inside ourselves in meditation, we find a similar void, a sort of dark well or amorphous neutrality. If we persist inward, we might even drop off to sleep for a few seconds or minutes, or sometimes even longer. Yet this is no ordinary sleep: we have passed into another consciousness, but there is still no link between the two, and we come out of this state apparently no more enlightened than when we entered it. This transitory condition might easily lead to a sort of absurd nihilism:
nothing outside or inside. Here is where we must be very careful, once we have demolished our outer mental constructions, not to become confined in another construction of false profundity, an absurd,
illusionist or skeptical, perhaps even rebellious, construction. We must go farther. Once we have begun yoga, we must go to the end, no matter what, because if we let go of the thread, we may never find it again. There, indeed, is the trial. The seeker must understand that he is being born to another life, and his new eyes, his new senses are not yet formed; he is like a newborn child just coming into the world. There is not a lessening of consciousness but, in reality, a passage to a new consciousness: The cup [has to be] left clean and empty for the divine liquor to be poured into it.34 The only resource in these circumstances is to cling to our aspiration and, precisely because everything is so terribly lacking, allow it to grow like a fire into which we throw all our old clothes, our old life, our old ideas and old feelings; we have to have an unshakable faith that behind this transition, a door will open.
And our faith is not foolish; it is not a credulous stupidity but a foreknowledge, something within us that knows before we do, sees 34

On Yoga II, Tome 2, 41


before we do, and which sends its vision and knowledge to the surface in the form of a yearning, a seeking, an inexplicable faith. Faith, says Sri Aurobindo, is an intuition not only waiting for experience to justify it, but leading towards experience.35

The Descent of the Force Little by little the void is filled. We then make a series of observations and experiences of considerable importance, which cannot be listed in a logical sequence, because from the moment we leave the old world we find that everything is possible, and, above all, that no two cases are alike hence, the falsehood of all spiritual dogmas. We can only mention a few broad lines of experience.
First, when calm, if not absolute silence, is relatively well established in the mind, when our aspiration, our need, has grown and become constant, throbbing, as if we carried a hole within ourselves,
we start noticing a phenomenon that will have enormous consequences over the entire course of our yoga. We feel around the head, and particularly in the nape of the neck, a kind of unusual pressure, which may give the sensation of a false headache. At the beginning we cannot bear it for very long, and we try to shake it off,
distract ourselves or "think of something else." Gradually, this pressure takes on a more definite form, and we actually begin to feel a descending current, a current of force that does not resemble an unpleasant electric current but rather a flowing mass. We then begin to realize that the "pressure" or false headache was caused simply by our own resistance to the descent of this Force, and that the obvious thing to be done is not to obstruct the passage by blocking the current in the head, but to allow it to flow through all the levels of our being, from head to toe. This current is at first rather spasmodic, irregular; a slight,
conscious effort is required of us to reconnect with it when it vanishes;
then it becomes continuous, natural and automatic, giving the very pleasant sensation of a fresh energy, like another breathing, fuller than that of our lungs, enveloping us, bathing us, making us lighter, while 35

Letters on Yoga, 22:166


also filling us with strength. The physical feeling is very similar to that of a brisk walk in the wind. We do not realize its true effect (it settles in very gradually, in small doses) until, for one reason or another distraction, error, or excess we cut ourselves off from the current. Then we feel empty, shrunken, as if lacking oxygen, with a very unpleasant impression of a physical shriveling, not unlike an old apple whose sunshine and juice have been squeezed out. At this point,
we really wonder how we were ever able to live without that current before. This is a first transmutation of our energies. Instead of drawing from the common source, below and around us, in universal life, we draw from above. And that energy is far clearer, far more sustained,
uninterrupted, and especially far more dynamic. In daily life, in the midst of our work and our myriad other occupations, the current of force is at first rather diluted, but the moment we stop and concentrate,
there is a massive inrush. Everything comes to a standstill. We are like a jar filled to the brim; the sensation of "current" disappears, as if the whole body from head to foot were charged with a mass of energy at once compact and crystalline (a solid cool block of peace,36 says Sri Aurobindo). And if our inner vision has begun to open, we may notice that everything has become bluish; we are like an aquamarine, and vast, vast, tranquil, without a ripple such indescribable freshness,
truly the feeling of bathing in the Source. Indeed, this "descending force" is the very Force of the Spirit Shakti. Spiritual Force is not just a word. Ultimately, it will no longer be necessary to close our eyes and withdraw from the surface to feel it; it will be there every second of our life, no matter what we are doing, whether we are eating, reading, or speaking; we will see it take on a greater and greater intensity as our being becomes accustomed to it. It is actually a formidable mass of energy, limited only by the smallness of our receptivity and capacity.
When the disciples speak of their experience with this descending Force, they call it "Sri Aurobindo's and the Mother's Force." But they do not mean that this Shakti is the personal property of Sri Aurobindo and Mother; they merely express, unwittingly, the fact that it has no equivalent in any other known yoga. Here, experientially, we touch 36

On Yoga II, Tome 2, 302


upon the fundamental difference between Sri Aurobindo's integral yoga (purna yoga) and the other yogas. If one has practiced other methods of yoga before Sri Aurobindo's, one experiences an ascending Force (called kundalini in India), which awakens rather brutally at the base of the spine and rises from level to level until it reaches the top of the head, where it blossoms into a sort of luminous and radiating pulsation, bringing a sensation of immensity (and often a loss of consciousness called ecstasy), as if one had forever emerged Elsewhere. All yogic methods, which might be called thermogenetic
the asanas of hatha yoga, the concentrations of raja yoga, the breathing exercises of pranayama, etc. aim at arousing that ascending Force; they can be dangerous and cause profound perturbations, which make the presence and protection of an enlightened Master indispensable. We will return to this later. The difference in the direction of the current, ascending vs. descending,
has to do with a difference in goals which cannot be overemphasized.
Traditional yogas and, we suppose, Western religious disciplines aim essentially at a liberation of consciousness: the yearning of the whole being is directed upward, in an ascending aspiration; the seeker strives to break through the appearances and to found his station above, in peace or ecstasy. Hence the arousing of the ascending Force. As we have seen, however, Sri Aurobindo's goal is not only to ascend but also to descend, not only to find eternal peace but to transform life and matter, beginning with the little bit of life and matter that we are,
hence the arousing, or rather the response, of the descending Force. To experience the descending current is to experience the transforming Force. It is this Force that will do the yoga for us, automatically (if we let it), this Force that will begin where other yogas end, illuminating first the top of our being, then going down from level to level, gently,
peacefully, irresistibly (it is never violent; its power is amazingly measured, as if it were directly guided by the wisdom of the Spirit),
and it is this Force that will universalize our being, right down to the lowest layers. This is the fundamental experience of the integral yoga.
When the Peace is established, this higher or Divine Force from above can descend and work in us. It descends usually first into the head and liberates the inner mind centres, then into the heart centre . . . then into the navel and other vital centres . . . then into the

sacral region and below. . . . It works at the same time for perfection as well as liberation; it takes up the whole nature part by part and deals with it, rejecting what has to be rejected, sublimating what has to be sublimated, creating what has to be created. It integrates,
harmonizes, establishes a new rhythm in the nature.37

Emergence of a New Mode of Knowledge With the silence of the mind comes another change, one that is very significant but more difficult to recognize because it sometimes extends over several years, and its signs are at first imperceptible. It could be called the emergence of a new mode of knowledge, and thus of a new mode of action.
It is conceivable to maintain a silent mind when walking in a crowd, eating, dressing or resting, but how is it possible at work, at the office, for example, or while having a discussion with friends? We need to think, to call upon our memory, to look for ideas, to bring in a whole mental process. Experience shows, however, that this is not inevitable, that it is only the product of a long habit in which we have grown accustomed to depending on the mind for knowledge and action; but it is only a habit, and it can be changed. In essence, yoga is not so much a way of learning as a way of unlearning a mass of supposedly imperative habits we have inherited from our animal evolution.
If the seeker undertakes to silence his mind while working, for instance, he will go through several stages. At first, he will barely manage to remember his aspiration from time to time, and to stop his work a few minutes to recapture the right wavelength, only to see everything swallowed up again in the routine. But as he develops the habit of making an effort in other places on the street, at home,
anywhere the dynamism of his effort will tend to keep alive and to draw his attention unexpectedly in the midst of his other activities: he will recall more and more often. Then the character of that recall will gradually change: instead of a voluntary interruption to recapture the 37

On Yoga II, Tome 2, 277


true rhythm, the seeker will feel something living deep within him, in the background of his being, like a little muffled vibration; at any time, all it will take is a slight inner movement of stepping back to regain the vibration of silence, in a second. He will realize it is always there, like a bluish depth in the background; he will discover he can refresh himself in it whenever he chooses, relax in it in the very midst of turmoil and problems, and that he carries within himself an inviolable haven of peace.
Soon this vibration behind will become more and more perceptible and continuous, and the seeker will feel a separation take place in his being: a silent depth vibrating in the background, and the rather thin surface being where activities, thoughts, gestures, words occur. He will have brought to light the Witness in him, and will allow himself less and less to be taken in by the outside play, which, octopus-like,
constantly tries to devour us alive. This discovery is as old as the Rig Veda: "Two birds beautiful of wing, friends and comrades, cling to a common tree, and one eats the sweet fruit, the other regards him and eats not." (I.164.20) At this point, it will become easier for him to substitute, voluntarily at first, a habit of referring silently to this vibrating depth for the old superficial habit of mental reflection,
memory, planning, and calculation. In practice, this is a long period of transition, with setbacks and breakthroughs (the feeling is not so much one of setbacks and breakthroughs as of something being veiled and unveiled in turn) as well as a confrontation of the two processes, the old mental mechanism tending constantly to interfere and to recapture its rights, namely, to convince us that we can't do without it; it may also find some support in a sort of laziness whereby we find it easier "to do as usual." On the other hand, this work of disentanglement is powerfully aided, first by the experience of the descending Force,
which automatically and tirelessly puts our house in order and exerts a quiet pressure on the rebellious mechanism, as if each wave of thought were seized and frozen in place; secondly, by the accumulation of thousands of increasingly perceptible little experiences, which makes us realize that we can do amazingly well without the mind, and are actually better off without it.
In fact, gradually we discover that there is no necessity to think.


Something behind, or above, does all the work, with a precision and infallibility that grow as we get into the habit of referring to it. There is no necessity to remember, since the exact information comes forth when needed; there is no necessity to plan any action, since a secret spring sets it in motion without our willing it or thinking about it, and makes us do exactly what is needed with a wisdom and foresight of which our mind, forever shortsighted, is quite incapable. We notice also that the more we trust and obey these unexpected intimations or flash-suggestions, the more frequent, clear, compelling, and natural they become, somewhat like an intuitive functioning, but with the important difference that our intuitions are almost always blurred and distorted by the mind, which delights at imitating them and making us mistake its vagaries for revelations, while here the transmission is clear, silent, and accurate, because the mind is quiet. We have all experienced certain problems which are "mysteriously" solved during sleep, precisely when the thinking machine is hushed. There will no doubt be errors and stumblings before the new functioning is securely established; the seeker must be ready to be often mistaken; in fact, he will notice that mistakes are always the result of a mental intrusion;
each time the mind intervenes, it blurs, splinters, and delays everything. Eventually, after many trials and errors, we will understand once and for all and see with our own eyes that the mind is not an instrument of knowledge but only an organizer of knowledge,
as Mother put it, and that knowledge comes from elsewhere. 38 When the mind is silent, words come, speech comes, action comes,
everything comes, automatically, with striking exactness and speed. It is indeed another, much lighter way of living. For there is nothing the mind can do that cannot be better done in the mind's immobility and thought-free stillness.39

The Universal Mind So far, we have discussed the progress of the seeker in inner terms,
but this progress manifests outwardly also. Actually, the wall between 38
39

This "elsewhere" will be discussed later, in the study of the Superconscient.
The Hour of God, 17:11


inner and outer grows increasingly thin; it seems more and more like an artificial convention set up by an adolescent mind, self-absorbed and self-centered. The seeker will feel this wall slowly losing its consistency; he will experience a kind of change in the texture of his being, as if he were becoming lighter, more transparent, more porous,
as it were. This change of texture will be felt at first through unpleasant symptoms, for while the ordinary person is generally protected by a thick hide, the seeker no longer has this protection: he receives people's thoughts, intentions, and desires in their true forms and in all their starkness, exactly as they are assaults. And here we must emphasize that "bad thoughts" or "ill will" are not the only forms to share a virulent character; nothing is more aggressive than good intentions, kindly sentiments, or altruism; either way, it is the ego fostering itself, through sweetness or through violence. We are civilized only on the surface; underneath the cannibal in us lives on. It is therefore very necessary for the seeker to be in possession of the Force we have described; with It he can go anywhere. Actually, the cosmic wisdom is such that this transparency would not come without adequate protection. Armed with "his" Force and a silent mind, then,
the seeker will gradually find he is open to all outside impacts; he receives everything; distances are unreal barriers no one is far away,
a person's anger, or a brother's suffering. The seeker will need only to tune in to that place or person, in the silence, to have a more or less exact perception of the situation, depending upon his own capacity for silence; for in this case, too, the mind jams everything, because it has desires, fears, prejudices, and anything it perceives is instantly distorted by this desire, that fear, or that prejudice (there are other causes of jamming, which we will discuss later). Therefore, it would seem that silencing the mind brings an expansion of consciousness,
which becomes capable of projecting itself at will onto any point of the universal reality and learning there what it needs to know.
In this silent transparency, we will soon make another discovery,
of capital importance in its implications. We will notice that not only do other people's thoughts come to us from the outside, but our own thoughts, too, come from outside. Once we are sufficiently transparent we will be able to feel, in the motionless silence of the mind, little swirling eddies coming into contact with our atmosphere, like faint

little vibrations drawing our attention; if we pay closer attention in order to "see" what they are, that is, if we let one of these little swirls enter us, we suddenly find ourselves "thinking" of something. What we had felt at the periphery of our being was a thought in its pure form, or rather a mental vibration before it enters us and comes to the surface of our being clad in a personal form, enabling us to claim:
"This is my thought." This is how a good mind-reader can read what goes on in a person whose language he does not even know, because it is not the "thoughts" that he catches but the vibrations, to which he then attributes his own corresponding mental form. But we should not really be too surprised, because if we were capable of creating a single thing ourselves, even a tiny little thought, we would be the creators of the world! Where is the I in you that can create all that? Mother used to ask. It is just that the process is not perceptible to the ordinary man,
firstly, because he lives in constant tumult, and secondly because the process through which vibrations are appropriated is almost instantaneous and automatic. Through his education and environment,
a person becomes accustomed to selecting from the Universal Mind a given, narrow range of vibrations with which he has a particular affinity. For the rest of his life he will pick up the same wavelength,
repeating the same vibratory mode in more or less high-sounding words and with more or less innovative turns of phrase; he will spin around in a cage, the illusion of progress being given only by a greater or lesser extent and sparkling range of vocabulary used. True, we do change our ideas, but changing ideas is not progressing. It is not rising to a higher or faster vibratory mode; it is merely a new set of acrobatics within the same environment. This is why Sri Aurobindo spoke of a change of consciousness.
Once the seeker has seen that his thoughts come from outside, and after he has repeated this experience hundreds of times, he will hold the key to the true mastery of the mind. For while it is difficult to get rid of a thought we believe to be ours, once it has become entrenched in us, it is easy to reject the same thought when we see it coming from the outside. Once we master silence, we necessarily master the mental world, because instead of perpetually picking up the same wavelength,
we can run through the whole range of wavelengths and choose or reject as we please. But let us listen to Sri Aurobindo himself describe

the experience as he first had it with another yogi, Bhaskar Lele, who spent three days with him: All developed mental men, those who get beyond the average, have in one way or other, or at least at certain times and for certain purposes to separate the two parts of the mind,
the active part, which is a factory of thoughts and the quiet masterful part which is at once a Witness and a Will, observing them, judging,
rejecting, eliminating, accepting, ordering corrections and changes,
the Master in the House of Mind, capable of self-empire, samrajya.
The Yogi goes still further, he is not only a master there but even while in mind in a way, he gets out of it as it were, and stands above or quite back from it and free. For him the image of the factory of thoughts is no longer quite valid; for he sees that thoughts come from outside, from the universal Mind, or universal Nature, sometimes formed and distinct, sometimes unformed and then they are given shape somewhere in us. The principal business of our mind is either a response of acceptance or a refusal to these thought waves (as also vital waves, subtle physical energy waves) or this giving a personalmental form to thought-stuff (or vital movements) from the environing Nature-Force. It was my great debt to Lele that he showed me this.
"Sit in meditation," he said, "but do not think, look only at your mind;
you will see thoughts coming into it; before they can enter throw these away from your mind till your mind is capable of entire silence." I had never heard before of thoughts coming visibly into the mind from outside, but I did not think either of questioning the truth of the possibility, I simply sat down and did it. In a moment my mind became silent as a windless air on a high mountain summit and then I was one thought and then another coming in a concrete way from outside; I
flung them away before they could enter and take hold of the brain and in three days I was free. From that moment, in principle, the mental being in me became a free Intelligence, a universal Mind, not limited to the narrow circle of personal thoughts as a labourer in a thought factory, but a receiver of knowledge from all the hundred realms of being and free to choose what it willed in this vast sightempire and thought-empire.40
Having started from a small mental construction in which he felt 40

On Himself, 26:83


quite at ease and highly enlightened, the seeker looks back and wonders how he ever managed to live in such a prison. He is particularly struck to see how for years and years he lived surrounded by impossibilities, and how humans in general live behind bars: "You can't do this; you can't do that; it's against this law, against that law;
it's illogical; it's not natural; it's impossible." He discovers that everything is possible; the true difficulty is in the belief that it is difficult. After living for twenty or thirty years in his mental shell, like a sort of thinking periwinkle, he begins to breathe freely.
He finds, too, that the eternal opposition of inner versus outer is resolved that this also was part of the mental sclerosis. In reality,
"outside" is everywhere inside! We are everywhere! It is wrong to believe that if we could only realize perfect conditions of peace,
beauty, or bucolic serenity things would be so much easier, because there would always be something to disturb us, everywhere. The same holds for the opposition between action and meditation; the seeker has established inner silence, and his action is meditation (he will even glimpse the fact that meditation can be action); whether he is taking a shower or going about his business, the Force flows and flows in him.
He is forever tuned in elsewhere. Finally, he will see his actions becoming more clear-sighted, effective and powerful, without in the least encroaching upon his peace: The substance of the mental being . . . is still, so still that nothing disturbs it. If thoughts or activities come, they . . . cross the mind as a flight of birds crosses the sky in a windless air. It passes, disturbs nothing, leaving no trace.
Even if a thousand images or the most violent events pass across it,
the calm stillness remains as if the very texture of the mind were a substance of eternal and indestructible peace. A mind that has achieved this calmness can begin to act, even intensely and powerfully, but it will keep its fundamental stillness originating nothing from itself but receiving from Above and giving it a mental form without adding anything of its own, calmly, dispassionately,
though with the joy of the Truth and the happy power and light of its passage.41
Need we recall that Sri Aurobindo was then leading a 41

Letters on Yoga, 23:637


revolutionary movement and preparing guerrilla warfare in India?





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   1 Integral Yoga






1.04_-_The_Silent_Mind, #Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness, #Satprem, #Integral Yoga
  object:1.04 - The Silent Mind
  class:chapter

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