Harmonizing the Conflicting Forces Within the Individual

In the prior post, we discussed the difficulty of achieving harmony within a society due to the conflicting interests, ideas, and motives that are at play. This difficulty is essentially a projection of the similar conflict that takes place within each individual.

Most individuals do not realise that they are actually made up of a number of different “parts” of their being. Each of these relates to one of the primary evolved powers of consciousness. There is thus a physical entity, a vital or life-entity, an emotional being, and a mental entity, each trying to manifest its own unique reality and trying to dominate the others in various ways. This leads to a mix of motives and impulses that create an uneasy alliance in what we call our personality. At one time or another, any of these may rise up and either lead or, if possible, dominate the rest of the formation of personality or ego.

We recognise this internal conflict to the extent that we are driven to do things that we do not want to do in our more conscious parts. Thus, the mind or heart may want to focus on a project or ideal, but may be hampered or overpowered by vital or physical impulses or desires. Similarly, a powerfully developed part may cause one to suppress other parts, creating enormous tension and potentially explosive consequences later when the suppressed part breaks out. We need only examine our own lives, or examples in the news of the day, to recognise the importance of this issue.

Sri Aurobindo points out that the solution to this internal discord and disunity is that “…we have to grow into a more complete spiritual nature; we have, by that growth, to live in the light and force of a higher and larger and more integral consciousness of which knowledge and power, love and sympathy and play of life-will are all natural and ever-present accorded elements; we have to move and act in a light of Truth which sees intuitively and spontaneously the thing to be done and the way to do it and intuitively and spontaneously fulfils itself in the act, and the force,–taking up into that intuitive spontaneity of their truth, into its simple spiritual and supreme normality, the complexity of our forces of being and suffusing with their harmonised realities all the steps of Nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 28, “The Divine Life”