Reconciling Life and Spirit

Sri Aurobindo provides the clue toward integrating life in the world with the call of the spirit. “A spiritual evolution, an unfolding here of the Being within from birth to birth, of which man becomes the central instrument and human life at its highest offers the critical turning-point, is the link needed for the reconciliation of life and spirit; for it allows us to take into account the total nature of man and to recognize the legitimate place of his triple attraction, to earth, to heaven and to the supreme Reality. But a complete solution of its oppositions can be arrived at only on this basis that the lower consciousness of mind, life and body cannot arrive at its full meaning until it is taken up, restated, transformed by the light and power and joy of the higher spiritual consciousness, while the higher too does not stand in its full right relation to the lower by mere rejection, but by this assumption and domination, this taking up of its unfulfilled values, this restatement and transformation,–a spiritualising and supramentalising of the mental, vital and physical nature.”

Accepting the material, physical life as the highest goal of terrestrial life is eventually empty and limiting. While it is an important aspect needed to provide a foundation for further evolutionary growth, it is in the end unsufficient to stand on its own. Similarly, the mental life adds new wideness and opportunity, but also does not encompass all ranges of existence and potential meaning. It is only when these two are joined with the spiritual evolution that we can integrate and thereby reconcile the view of existence that joins life and the spirit.

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 16, The Integral Knowledge and the Aim of Life; Four Theories of Existence

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