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object: - Ascent and Descent and Problems of the Lower Nature
book class:Letters On Yoga III
author class:Sri Aurobindo

If one can remain always in the higher consciousness, so much

Ascent and Descent


the better. But why does not one remain always there? Because
the lower is still part of the nature and it pulls you down towards
itself. If on the other hand the lower is transformed, it becomes
of one kind with the higher and there is nothing lower to pull
Transformation means that the higher consciousness or nature is brought down into the mind, vital and body and takes
the place of the lower. There is a higher consciousness of the
true self which is spiritual, but it is above; if one rises above
into it, then one is free as long as one remains there, but if
one comes down into or uses mind, vital or body - and if one
keeps any connection with life, one has to do so, either to come
down and act from the ordinary consciousness or else to be in
the self but use mind, life and body - then the imperfections of
these instruments have to be faced and mended; they can only
be mended by transformation.
You say you rise a little above into this higher consciousness,
but where do you rise? Into the quieted mind and above the vital
or above the mind itself into something always calm and pure
and free?
No. I did not intend any sarcasm by my question [at the end of
the preceding letter]. You had written that by rising a little above
the ordinary consciousness one was free from difficulties and
that this was what one felt - I thought you meant that this was
your own experience. So I put the question, as the experience of
the quiet mind is one that can easily be broken by the invasions
of the vital or the inertia of the physical being. The experience of
the deeper freedom and calm which belongs to the self remains,
but it can be covered up by the lower consciousness.
That [thoughts about others] can be only a temporary result
of past activities. The endeavour should now be to make the
ascent above into the silence of the Self in the higher universal
consciousness above, for that was evidently what was trying


Letters on Yoga - III

to come when the disturbance broke in. That would probably
bring also the descent of the permanent spiritual peace into all
the being as a basis for the higher activities.
That you should be able to keep your consciousness uplifted is
already something. As for the opening its coming and apparent
closing is a normal experience - it needs several openings before
the thing is settled by a permanent poise of the consciousness
above and an increasing descent into the head and below. It is
the pull from below that should get no indulgence - for that,
though most do indulge in it, is a wrong crabby way of doing
it. One must be safely stationed above before one can descend
without a tumble. Not that the tumble if it comes precludes a
going up again - it does not; but that is no reason for letting it
Even if the permanent opening does not come at once, you have
only to wait and it is bound to come. It is certainly a pity that the
restlessness of the vital should kick so much against vacancy of
the consciousness; for if you could stand it this emptiness, now
neutral, and therefore not interesting to the vital, would become
positive and be the peaceful recipient of the pouring from above.
The difficulty is that the vital has always been accustomed either
to doing something or to something doing and when it is doing
nothing or nothing is doing (or it seems like that on the surface),
it gets bored and begins to feel and talk or to do nonsense.
However even with this obstacle, the Descent can come down
- it need not wait for the Supramental.
Yes. To ascend is easier than to bring down; the higher consciousness gets entangled and impeded in the physical and the
mind and vital.
Rising higher and higher and bringing down is the method of

Ascent and Descent


the Yoga; but it is not possible to do it with full effect until
one has so prepared oneself that one can rise above the head to
the Self in the higher mind. It was the point you had reached
but could not confirm before the difficulties came in from the
physical consciousness.

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1, #Letters On Yoga III, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  object: - Ascent and Descent and Problems of the Lower Nature
  author class:Sri Aurobindo

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