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object:1.2.3 - The Power of Expression and Yoga
book class:Letters On Yoga IV
author class:Sri Aurobindo
subject class:Integral Yoga
section class:Cultivation of the Mind in Yoga

Verbal Expression

It is the thinking mind that works out ideas, the externalising mental or physical mind that gives them form in words. Probably you have not developed this part sufficiently—the gift of verbal expression is besides comparatively rare. Most people are either clumsy in expression or if they write abundantly, it is without proper arrangement and style. But this is of no essential importance in sadhana—all that is needed is to convey clearly the perceptions and experiences of their sadhana.

The power of expression comes by getting into touch with the inner source from which these things come. A calm and silent mind is a great help for the free flow of the power, but it is not indispensable, nor will it of itself bring it.

Thought and expression always give one side of things; the thing is to see the whole but one can express only a part unless one writes a long essay. Most thinkers do not even see the whole, only sides and parts—that is why there is always conflict between philosophies and religions.
Expression and Language

The Knowledge from above or whatever comes down can express itself in any language.

When the knowledge comes strongly from above, it very often brings its own language and the defects of the instrument are overcome. There are people who knew very little but when the knowledge began to flow they wrote wonderfully—when it was not flowing, their language became incorrect and ordinary.

If you speak of the expression, the deeper things in these experiences cannot be expressed—except by a great spiritual poet and even then only imperfectly—they can only be realised and remembered.

What is expressed is always only a part of what is behind—which remains unexpressed and in the language of the manifestation inexpressible.
Spoken and Written Expression

The voice brings a vibration of force which it is more difficult to put in writing which is a more mechanic vehicle—although the written word can have a special power of its own.
Writing and Sadhana

Writing by itself on ordinary subjects has the externalising tendency unless one has got accustomed to write (whatever be the subject) with the inner consciousness detached and free from what the outer is doing.

Writing and reading absorb the mind and fill it with images and influences; if the images and influences are not of the right kind, they naturally turn away from the true consciousness. It is only if one has the true consciousness well established already, that one can read or write anything whatever without losing it or without any other harm.

The use of your writing is to keep you in touch with the inner source of inspiration and intuition, so as to wear thin the crude external crust in the consciousness and encourage the growth of the inner being.
Poetry and Sadhana

Of course when you are writing poems or composing you are in contact with your inner being, that is why you feel so different then. The whole art of Yoga is to get that contact and get from it into the inner being itself, for so one can enter directly into and remain in all that is great and luminous and beautiful. Then one can try to establish them in this troublesome and defective outer shell of oneself and in the outer world also.

It is obvious that poetry cannot be a substitute for sadhana; it can be an accompaniment only. If there is a feeling (of devotion, surrender etc.), it can express and confirm it; if there is an experience, it can express and strengthen the force of experience. As reading of books like the Upanishads or Gita or singing of devotional songs can help, especially at one stage or another, so this can help also. Also it opens a passage between the exterior consciousness and the inner mind or vital. But if one stops at that, then nothing much is gained. Sadhana must be the main thing and sadhana means the purification of the nature, the consecration of the being, the opening of the psychic and the inner mind and vital, the contact and presence of the Divine, the realisation of the Divine in all things, surrender, devotion, the widening of the consciousness into the cosmic Consciousness, the Self one in all, the psychic and the spiritual transformation of the nature. If these things are neglected and only poetry and mental development and social contacts occupy all the time, then that is not sadhana. Also the poetry must be written in the true spirit, not for fame or self-satisfaction, but as a means of contact with the Divine through aspiration or of the expression of one’s own inner being, as it was written formerly by those who left behind them so much devotional and spiritual poetry in India; it does not help if it is written only in the spirit of the Western artist or littérateur. Even works or meditation cannot succeed unless they are done in the right spirit of consecration and spiritual aspiration gathering up the whole being and dominating all else. It is the lack of this gathering up of the whole life and nature and turning it towards the one aim, which is the defect in so many here, that lowers the atmosphere and stands in the way of what is being done by myself and the Mother.

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1.2.3_-_The_Power_of_Expression_and_Yoga, #Letters On Yoga IV, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  object:1.2.3 - The Power of Expression and Yoga
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