Second Aspect of Personal Effort in Integral Yoga

The second aspect of personal effort is what Sri Aurobindo terms “rejection”: “…rejection of the movements of the lower nature–rejection of the mind’s ideas, opinions, preferences, habits, constructions, so that the true knowledge may find free room in a silent mind,–rejectino of the vital nature’s desires, demands, cravings, sensations, passions, selfishness, pride, arrogance, lust, greed, jealousy, envy, hostility to the Truth, so that the true power and joy may pour from above into a calm, large, strong and consecrated vital being,–rejection of the physical nature’s stupidity, doubt, disbelief, obscurity, obstinacy, pettiness, laziness, unwillingness to change, tamas, so that the true stability of Light, Power, Ananda may establish itself in a body growing always more divine…”

This process is a natural succession to the first aspect of aspiration. Once one begins to concentrate the various parts of the being on the Divine Force, it is essential to ensure both the one-pointedness of the focus and to be certain that the Force that descends does not get “hijacked” by the egoistic demands of the lower nature. It is not an infrequent occurrence that progress in yoga is accompanied by an uprising of the power and insistence of these lower impulsions. Those who get ensnared by this process essentially lose their way and fail at achievement of the goal.

There is a corollary here from Patanjali’s yoga sutras, where the preliminary practices known as “yamas” and “niyamas” are first to be developed to a high degree to ensure the purity of the practitioner and thereby the ability to receive, hold and not misuse the Force that develops during the practice of yoga.

The image of the “unbaked jar” is frequently used to illustrate the danger of trying to pour a higher force or power into a vessel that cannot hold it without breaking, and this remains true in the Integral Yoga practice. In fact, due to the fact that the Integral Yoga does not abandon the world, but acts within the framework of life, the need for this kind of purity, achieved by the process of “rejection” is possibly even more critical.

Sri Aurobindo,