Spiritual Progress Requires Overcoming the Inertia of the Physical World

Developing the new spiritual standpoint for humanity which Sri Aurobindo has been describing is made somewhat more difficult and slower because of the physical platform which continues to influence and hold back the flight of the Spirit. “But the human race is still weighted by a certain gravitation towards the physical, it obeys still the pull of our yet unconquered earth-matter; it is dominated by the brain-mind, the physical intelligence: thus held back by many ties, it hesitates before the indication or falls back before the too tense demand of the spiritual effort.” This not only results in indolence, and hesitation, but also scepticism and unwillingness to change even in the face of evidence. This results in the few progressing forward while the majority hold back and cling to their material basis. “But that is not enough if the step forward is to be for humanity; for it is only if the race advances that, for it, the victories of the Spirit can be secure.” Slowly however, as new capacities and insights take hold within the broader mass of humanity, they become inherent capabilities that, even if suppressed in some retrograde cycle, remain active in the subconscient Mind of Humanity, and are ready to provide the foundation for the next effort when the cycle turns once again toward progress. “It is not indeed necessary or possible that the whole race should transform itself from mental into spiritual beings, but a general admission of the ideal, a widespread endeavor, a conscious concentration are needed to carry the stream of tendency to its definitive achievement. Otherwise what will be ultimate accomplished is an achievement by the few initiating a new order of beings, while humanity will have passed sentence of unfitness on itself and may fall back into an evolutionary decline or a stationary immobility; for it is the constant upward effort that has kept humanity alive and maintained for it its place in the front of creation.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 18, The Evolutionary Process — Ascent and Integration