Guiding Light of The Month

THE result of all my reflections of yesterday is the finding that the only disturbance I experience comes from my fear of not having been or of not being perfectly identified with Thy law. - The Mother

Reflective practices in Integral Health



Botanical Name: Thespesia populnea
Common Name: Portia Tree
Spiritual Significance: Health


A perfect harmony in the proportions, suppleness and strength, grace and force, plasticity and endurance, and above all, an excellent health, unvarying and unchanging, which is the result of a pure soul, a happy trust in life and an unshakable faith in the Divine Grace.
                                                                                                       
-          The Mother


From the Editor’s Desk (May 2017)

The current issue of the newsletter focuses on the significance of reflective practices in Integral Health. Reflection refers to serious thought or consideration or contemplation. It implies that for every event or experience in one’s life, for every move he or she makes, for every action or non-action, there is a corresponding movement of reflection, of serious thought, a consideration or contemplation. This further implies that impulsion is no more a primary player in the motivation of an action but rather, a back bencher held in check by the “serious thought, consideration or contemplation” on the action and its source and cause. Integral Health refers to the order and balance operating in the three aspects of nature, namely, health in the physical, the vital and health in the mental. Integral Health means that the higher portion of the being, The Psychic, which is a spark of the Divine Force or Soul, takes over the play of nature, perfecting these parts and opening them to a higher light and subsequently rendering these parts capable of expressing the Highest or the Divine in a progressive precision. In this newsletter, we take a glimpse of how reflective practices contribute towards Integral Health.

A crucial aspect of reflective practices is the practice of self-observation coupled with self-reflection. Both these practices are self-motivated and can happen only when one sees the need to truly know oneself, all one’s strengths that uplift and all the defects in one’s nature that plunge one down into darkness and chaos. The inbuilt instinct in one to progress sets into motion in one who finds the need to be progressive. Self-observation and self-reflection are effective tools that can steer one in the direction towards the realization of one’s goals, whatever these may be. In one who has chosen to progress spiritually, these tools may even be are indispensable aims. 

According to The Mother, when an ailment inflicts the being, the root cause may either be a mental, vital or physical shrinking in the being. These shrinkages throw the being off balance, manifesting some kind of disorder that interferes with the fine working of the being. His progress forward is naturally slowed down or even curtailed. Self-observation throws light on parts of the being that are off balance. Through self-reflection, one understands the nature of the disorder and the manner in which the being is being thrown off-balance in whatever measure according to the magnitude of the disorder and imbalance. One knows himself in different parts of the being; what disturbs the being, what contributes to calm and peace and well-being. This knowledge is powerful. This knowledge throws light over one and opens pathways that would seek to reduce, clear and eliminate the disorder. The Mother has suggested the widening of the consciousness in order to keep each part wide and open and receptive to the healing rays of light and love from regions above and yet accessible. When this light of consciousness reaches out to the physical parts of the being, and the vital and the mental, removes all contractions, spots of darkness and obscurity, balance is restored. Integral Health becomes a possibility.

We often read in the works of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo that the nature that is full of goodwill towards oneself and towards others tends to be a happy one. One who does not have desires or does not nurture them is one who tends to be a balanced one. In one where joy overflows, one finds health. Most of all, when one is in touch with the psychic being, the being, it seems, reverts to its natural state of deep peace, joy and love. In such a one, there is a natural harmony and balance, which is the hall mark of the psychic entity. When this is discovered and expressed in the being from the core to the outermost crust, Integral Health is established.

Savitri

His grasp was a young god’s upon earths limbs:
Changed by the passion of his divine outbreak
He made her body beautiful with his kiss.

(Book four, Canto one)

“O soul, my soul, we have created Heaven,
Within we have found the kingdom here of God,
His fortress built in a loud ignorant world.

Our life is entrenched between two rivers of Light,
We have turned space into a gulf of peace
And made the body a capitol of bliss.
What more, what more, if more must still be done?

In the slow process of the evolving spirit,
In the brief stade between a death and birth
A first perfection’
s stage is reached at last;
Out of the wood and stone of our natures stuff
A temple is shaped where the high gods could live.

(Book seven, Canto five)

Our imperfection towards perfection toils,
The body is the chrysalis of a soul:
The infinite holds the finite in its arms,
Time travels towards revealed eternity.


(Book ten, Canto one)

Questions and Answers

Q: How can one increase the receptivity of the body?
The Mother: It depends on the part. The method is almost the same for all parts of the being. To begin with, the first condition: to remain as quiet as possible. You may notice that in the different parts of your being, when something comes and you do not receive it, this produces a shrinking — there is something which hardens in the vital, the mind or the body. There is a stiffening and this hurts, one feels a mental, vital or physical pain. So, the first thing is to put one’s will and relax this shrinking, as one does a twitching nerve or a cramped muscle; you must learn how to relax, be able to relieve this tension in whatever part of the being it may be.
The method of relaxing the contraction may be different in the mind, the vital or the body, but logically it is the same thing. Once you have relaxed the tension, you see first if the disagreeable effect ceases, which would prove that it was a small momentary resistance, but if the pain continues and if it is indeed necessary to increase the receptivity in order to be able to receive what is helpful, what should be received, you must, after having relaxed this contraction, begin trying to widen yourself — you feel you are widening yourself. There are many methods. Some find it very useful to imagine they are floating on water with a plank under their back. Then they widen themselves, widen, until they become the vast liquid mass. Others make an effort to identify themselves with the sky and the stars, so they widen, widen themselves, identifying themselves more and more with the sky. Others again don’t need these pictures; they can become conscious of their consciousness, enlarge their consciousness more and more until it becomes unlimited. One can enlarge it till it becomes vast as the earth and even the universe. When one does that one becomes really receptive. As I have said, it is a question of training. In any case, from an immediate point of view, when something comes and one feels that it is too strong, that it gives a headache, that one can’t bear it, the method is just the same, you must act upon the contraction. One can act through thought, by calling the peace, tranquillity (the feeling of peace takes away much of the difficulty) like this: “Peace, peace, peace... tranquillity... calm.” Many discomforts, even physical, like all these contractions of the solar plexus, which are so un- pleasant and give you at times nausea, the sensation of being suffocated, of not being able to breathe again, can disappear thus. It is the nervous centre which is affected, it gets affected very easily. As soon as there is something which affects the solar plexus, you must say, “Calm... calm... calm”, become more and more calm until the tension is destroyed.
In thought also. For instance, you are reading something and come across a thought you don’t understand — it is beyond you, you understand nothing and so in your head it lies like a brick, and if you try to understand, it becomes more and more like a brick, a stiffening, and if you persist it gives you a headache. There is but one thing to do: not to struggle with the words, remain just like this (gesture, stretched out, immobile), create a relaxation, simply widen, widen. And don’t try to understand, above all, don’t try to understand — let it enter like that, quite gently, and relax, relax, and in this relaxing your headache goes away. You no longer think of anything, you wait for a few days and after some days you see from inside: “Oh! How clear it is! I understand what I had not understood.” It is as easy as that. When you read a book which is beyond you, when you come across sentences which you cannot understand — one feels that there is no correspondence in the head — well, you must do this; one reads the thing once, twice, thrice, then remains calm and makes the mind silent. A fortnight later, one takes up the same passage again and it is clear as daylight. Everything has been organised in the head, the elements of the brain which were wanted for the understanding have been formed, everything has been done gradually and one understands. I knew many people who, when I used to tell them something, argued, — they did not understand anything at all. They were shut up in their mind which could not catch the thought, which threw it out, refused it violently. You have said something, you don’t insist; you have said it, that’s all; if need be you say it a second time, but you don’t insist. A week, a month later, those very people come looking for you and tell you with strong conviction, “But things are like that, you don’t understand, things are like that!” It is exactly what you have told them, you know. But they tell you, “I thought about it, now I know, it is this, it is truly this.” If you have the misfortune to tell them, “But this is exactly what I had told you”, they pull a long face! And they don’t understand any longer.
(CWM, Volume 4, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)

Transformation of the Physical

“Perfection is the true aim of all culture, the spiritual and psychic, the mental, the vital and it must be the aim of our physical culture also. If our seeking is for a total perfection of the being, the physical part of it cannot be left aside; for the body is the material basis, the body is the instrument which we have to use. Sar ̄─▒ram khalu dharmasa ̄dhanam, says the old Sanskrit adage, the body is the means of fulfilment of dharma, and dharma means every ideal which we can propose to ourselves and the law of its working out and its action.
A total perfection is the ultimate aim which we set before us, for our ideal is the Divine Life which we wish to create here, the life of the Spirit fulfilled on earth, life accomplishing its own spiritual transformation even here on earth in the conditions of the material universe. That cannot be unless the body too undergoes a transformation, unless its action and functioning attain to a supreme capacity and the perfection which is possible to it or which can be made possible.”

The Supramental Manifestation, SABCL, Vol. 16, p. 5 


     Supramental Influence in the Cells

Yet Light is there; it stands at Nature’s doors:
It holds a torch to lead the traveller in.

It waits to be kindled in our secret cells;
It is a star lighting an ignorant sea,
A lamp upon our poop piercing the night.


Sri Aurobindo, Savitri
Mother, how can the functioning of the body “attain to a supreme capacity”?
Precisely by transformation. This implies a total transformation. Sri Aurobindo speaks about it later in what follows.
For the moment, our body is simply a doubtful improvement on the animal body, for if we have gained from a certain point of view, we have lost from another. It is certain that from the point of view of purely physical capacities many animals are superior to us. Unless by a special culture and transformation we succeed in really transforming our capacities, it could be said that from the point of view of strength and muscular power a tiger or a lion is far superior to us. From the point of view of agility a monkey is far superior to us; and, for instance, a bird can travel without needing any exterior mechanism or plane, which is not yet possible for us... and so on. And we are bound by the animal necessities of the functioning of our organs; so long as we depend, for instance, on material food, on absorbing matter in such a crude form, we shall be quite inferior animals.
Therefore, I don’t want to anticipate what we are going to read, but all this purely animal functioning of our body, all this part which is exactly the same as in animal life — that we depend for life on the circulation of the blood and to have blood we need to eat, and so on, and all that this implies — these are terrible limitations and bondages! As long as material life depends on that, it is obvious that we won’t be able to divinise our life. So, we must assume that animality in the human being should be replaced by another source of life, and this is quite conceivable — not only conceivable but partially realisable; and this is obviously the aim we ought to set before ourselves if we want to transform matter and make it capable of expressing divine qualities.
In the very, very old traditions — there was a tradition more ancient than the Vedic and the Chaldean which must have been the source of both — in that ancient tradition there is already mention of a “glorious body” which would be plastic enough to be transformed at every moment by the deeper consciousness: it would express that consciousness, it would have no fixity of form. It mentioned luminosity: the constituent matter could become luminous at will. It mentioned a sort of possibility of weightlessness which would allow the body to move about in the air only by the action of will-power and by certain processes of control of the inner energy, and so on. Much has been said about these things. 
I don’t know if there ever were beings on earth who had partially realised this, but in a very small way there have been partial instances of one thing or another, examples which go to prove that it is possible. And following up this idea, one could go so far as to conceive of the replacement of material organs and their functioning as it now is, by centres of concentration of force and energy which would be receptive to the higher forces and which, by a kind of alchemy, would use them for the necessities of life and the body. We already speak of the different “centres” in the body — this knowledge is very widespread among people who have practised yoga — but these centres could be perfected to the point where they replace the different organs by a direct action of the higher energy and vibrations on matter. Those who have practised occultism well enough, in its most integral form, it could be said, know the process of materialisation of subtle energies and can put them in contact with physical vibrations. Not only is it something that can be done, but it is something which is done. And all that is a science, a science which must itself be perfected, completed, and which will obviously be used for the creation and setting in action of new bodies which will be able to manifest the supramental life in the material world.
But, as Sri Aurobindo says, before this can be done, it is good to utilise all that we have in order to increase and make more exact the control of physical activities. It is very obvious that those who practise physical culture scientifically and with coordination acquire a control over their bodies that’s unimaginable for ordinary people. When the Russian gymnasts came here, we saw with what ease they did exercises which for an ordinary man are impossible, and they did them as if it was the simplest thing in the world; there was not even the least sign of effort! Well, that mastery is already a great step towards the transformation of the body. And these people who, I could say, are materialists by profession, used no spiritual method in their education; it was solely by material means and an enlightened use of human will that they had achieved this result. If they had added to this a spiritual knowledge and power, they could have achieved an almost miraculous result.... Because of the false ideas prevalent in the world, we don’t usually see the two things together, spiritual mastery and material mastery, and so one is always incomplete without the other; but this is exactly what we want to do and what Sri Aurobindo is going to explain: if the two are combined, the result can reach a perfection that’s unthinkable for the ordinary human mind, and this is what we want to attempt.
(CWM, Volume 9, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)




Little dweller in this narrow house

This body which was once my universe,
Is now a pittance carried by the soul, —
Its Titans motion bears this scanty purse,
Pacing through vastness to a vaster goal.

Too small was it to meet the giant need
That only infinitude can satisfy:
He keeps it still, for in the folds is hid
His secret passport to eternity.

In his front an endless Time and Space deploy
The landscape of their golden happenings;
His heart is filled with sweet and violent joy,
His mind is upon great and distant things.
How grown with all the world conterminous
Is the little dweller in this narrow house!
-          Sri Aurobindo

(SABCL, Volume 5, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)

To the Students, Young and Old


A demonstration of Physical culture at Ashram
(Source: sriaurobindoashram.net)

There are, in the history of the earth, moments of transition when things that have existed for thousands of years must give way to those that are about to manifest. A special concentration of the world consciousness, one might almost say, an intensification of its effort, occurs at such times, varying according to the kind of progress to be made, the quality of the transformation to be realised. We are at precisely such a turning-point in the world’s history. Just as Nature has already created upon earth a mental being, man, so too there is now a concentrated activity in this mentality to bring forth a supramental consciousness and individuality.

Certain beings who, I might say, are in the secret of the gods, are aware of the importance of this moment in the life of the world, and they have taken birth on earth to play their part in whatever way they can. A great luminous consciousness broods over the earth, creating a kind of stir in its atmosphere. All who are open receive a ripple from this eddy, a ray of this light and seek to give form to it, each according to his capacity. We have here the unique privilege of being at the very centre of this radiating light, at the fount of this force of transformation.

Sri Aurobindo, incarnating the supramental consciousness in a human body, has not only revealed to us the nature of the path to follow and the way to follow it in order to reach the goal, but has also by his own personal realisation given us the example; he has provided us, so to say, with the proof that the thing can be done and that the time has come to do it.

Consequently, we are not here to repeat what others have done, but to prepare ourselves for the blossoming of a new consciousness and a new life. That is why I address myself to you, the students, that is, to all who wish to learn, to learn always more and always better, so that one day you may be capable of opening yourselves to the new force and of giving it the possibility of manifesting on the physical plane. For that is our programme and we must not forget it. To understand the true reason why you are here, you must remember that we want to become instruments that are as perfect as possible, instruments that express the divine will in the world. And if the instruments are to be perfect, they must be cultivated, educated, trained. They must not be left like fallow land or a formless piece of stone. A diamond reveals all its beauty only when it is artistically cut. It is the same for you. If you want your physical being to be a perfect instrument for the manifestation of the supramental consciousness, you must cultivate it, sharpen it, refine it, give it what it lacks, perfect what it already possesses.


(CWM, Volume 12, An excerpt from “On Education”, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)