When the seeker once recognizes that body, life and mind are all transitory and impermanent, and that they cannot represent the full truth of what he is, the “black and white” nature of the mind jumps first to the rejection of these as false and unworthy of attention, leading to the “refusal of the ascetic” and the tradition of abandonment of all worldly goals and actions in the seeking of the spiritual truth of life.
Sri Aurobindo reminds us however that “all this is a mixture of truth and falsehood. Mind, Life, Matter exist and mental, vital, physical individualisation exists as facts in Nature, but the identification of the soul with these things is a false identification. Mind, Life and Matter are ourselves only in this sense that they are principles of being which the true self has evolved by the meeting and interaction of Soul and Nature in order to express a form of its one existence as the Cosmos.”
This expression takes place both in the individual and the universal but transcends both of these terms. “Individual mind, life and body are forms of ourselves in so far as we are centres of the multiplicity of the One; universal Mind, Life and Body are also forms of our self, because we are that One in our being.”
The false identification takes place when we limit ourselves to identification with either the individual form or the universal form and fail to recognize that we are that One, transcendent, universal and individual. “But the self is more than universal or individual mind, life and body and when we limit ourselves by identification with these things, we found our knowledge on a falsehood, we falsify our determining view and our practical experience not only of our self-being but of our cosmic existence and of our individual activities.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 6, The Synthesis of the Disciplines of Knowledge, pg. 323