Acceptance and adherence to an idea or a belief system is the most widely accepted way for seekers to take up the path of the spirit. Whether it is a religious tradition, a spiritual discipline, or a secular search for knowledge and wisdom, much importance has been placed on the adoption of the idea. Yet it is possible to recognize and support an ideal in the mind, yet fail to integrate it into all the aspects of one’s life. Religious conversions and preaching do not, in and of themselves, get us to the core transformation that must occur in human life and relations.
Sri Aurobindo explores this issue: “The acceptance of a new spiritual idea-force and upward orientation in the being, an illumination, a turning or conversion seized on by the will and the heart’s aspiration,–this is the momentous act which contains as in a seed all the results that the Yoga has to give. The mere idea or intellectual seeking of something higher beyond, however strongly grasped by the mind’s interest, is ineffective unless it is seized on by the heart as the one thing desirable and by the will as the one thing to be done. For truth of the Spirit has not to be merely thought but to be lived, and to live it demands a unifed single-mindedness of the being; so great a change as is contemplated by the Yoga is not to be effected by a divided will or by a small portion of the energy or by a hesitating mind. He who seeks the Divine must consecrate himself to God and to God only.”
The real difficulties the seeker faces, in most cases, result from the entire being not being unified around this core focus, but rather, the various parts of the being each continuing to desire their own forms of fulfilment, whether physical comfort, vital success, the heart’s seeking for love and interchange, the will seeking for domination and recognition, and the mind seeking the satisfaction of its ideation process. Much of the effort and struggle occurs as we take up these recalcitrant parts and turn them toward the Divine through this process which Sri Aurobindo calls “self-consecration” of the being.
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 2, Self Consecration, pp. 63-64