All-Embracing Concentration and the Integral Yoga

Sri Aurobindo has defined yoga as a process that works to speed up the normal evolutionary steps of Nature. It involves the conscious effort of the awakened being using the higher powers of the mind, heart and will to seize upon the evolutionary thrust and bring it forward for his individual growth and, eventually, for the upliftment of all beings who are participating in this long, slow but unrelenting evolutionary development of the universal manifestation.

Exclusive concentration, the process of focusing intensely on one force, one movement, one energy, one part of the being, and using that to achieve progress, has been part of yoga and other spiritual development practices throughout the world, and it certainly has a real and important role to play in any forward movement. Sri Aurobindo points out, in this regard: “A separate strong fixing of the thought, of the emotions or of the will on a single idea, object, state, inner movement or principle is no doubt a frequent need here also; but this only a subsidiary helpful process.”

What the integral Yoga calls for is the ability to utilize the exclusive concentration where it can be helpful in specific areas, but to base everything upon an all-embracing concentration that sets the one central principle and then uses every incident and instance of life as an opportunity to focus the energies around that principle. “…it is an all-receiving concentration that is the very nature of the integral Yoga.”

“A wide massive opening, a harmonised concentration of the whole being in all its parts and through all its powers upon the One who is the All is the larger action of this Yoga without which it cannot achieve its purpose.”

“For it is the consciousness that rests in the One and that acts in the All to which we aspire; it is this that we seek to impose on every element of our being and on every movement of our nature. This wide and concentrated totality is the essential character of the Sadhana and its character must determine its practice.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 2, Self Consecration, pg. 72