The Mind Can Control the Body’s Responses

Once we adopt the standpoint that does not accept that the body is the origin and perpetual limitation to the manifestation of consciousness, we begin to see opportunities for the spiritual being, initially through its delegated first instrument, the mind, to begin to take charge of the physical body. Sri Aurobindo explains: “that by which the mind can transmit its ideas and commands to the body, can train it to be an instrument for new action, can even so impress it with its habitual demands or orders that the physical instinct carries them out automatically even when the mind is no longer consciously willing them, those also more unusual but well attested by which to an extraordinary and hardly limitable extent the mind can learn to determine the reactions of the body even to the overriding of its normal law or conditions of action, — these and other otherwise unaccountable aspects of the relation between these two elements of our being become easily understandable: for it is the secret consciousness in the living matter that receives from its greater companion; it is this in the body that in its own involved and occult fashion perceives or feels the demand on it and obeys the emerged or evolved consciousness which presides over the body.”

We can see numerous examples of the normal process of the body’s fixed rules being overturned by mental operation of will, or emotional influx. Cases such as those where a mother will, under the extreme circumstance of trying to save her child, lift an automobile beyond the normal limits of her strength; or those where yogis are able to gain control over the breath, heart and pulse to such an extent as to seem practically in a state of suspended animation; of cases of ecstatic devotion where hooks are inserted into the flesh, or where individuals walk on beds of nails or hot coals, without experiencing pain or serious injury; and the more infrequent but nevertheless documented cases of powers such as levitation of the body, all represent, to one degree or another, the body responding to a higher force of Energy to do things that in its normal status it cannot achieve.

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 1, Indeterminates, Cosmic Determinations and the Indeterminable

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