The First Necessity In the Spiritual Transformation

Virtually all spiritual traditions agree that in order to achieve meaningful spiritual realisation, the seeker must remove his focus from the everyday world of life within which he has been immersed. Whether it is the story of the Buddha who abandoned his position as a prince living in luxury, or the story of Jesus who called his disciples to leave behind their past lives in order to live out the spiritual teaching he was bringing to them, with the call to “let the dead bury their dead”, or the powerful strain of renunciation found in Hindu India, or the numerous monasteries and cloisters set up to provide a sheltered environment for the seeker to practice the spiritual disciplines, we find a call to shift the attention and focus of the life from the vital-material concerns of the ego living in the world of Nature to a new standpoint based in spiritual experience.

Sri Aurobindo describes the first necessity and the steps required per the Gita’s teaching: “…the original radical step is to turn away from all that belongs to your lower Nature and fix yourself by concentration of the will and intelligence on that which is higher than either will or intelligence, higher than mind and heart and sense and body. And first of all you must turn to your own eternal and immutable self, impersonal and the same in all creatures. So long as you live in the ego and mental personality, you will always spin endlessly in the same rounds and there can be no real issue. Turn your will inward beyond the heart and its desires and the sense and its attractions; lift it upward beyond the mind and its associations and attachments and its bounded wish and thought and impulse. Arrive at something within you that is eternal, every unchanged, calm, unperturbed, equal, impartial to all things and persons and happenings, not affected by any action, not altered by the figures of Nature. Be that, be the eternal self, be the Brahman. If you can become that by a permanent spiritual experience, you will hae an assured basis on which you can stand delivered from the limitations of your mind-created personality, secure against any fall from peace and knowledge, free from ego.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 24, The Message of the Gita, pp. 562-563