Identifying With the Transcendent and the Universal Self

When we observe Nature we discover that many beings which we consider to be separate individuals actually can be discovered to be one, even in the physical world of forms. Researchers in Michigan, USA found that a grove of aspen trees were all one being with multiple trunks. What we thought were separate trees, are really one. Other discoveries are overturning our view of separateness. Then we look at the mutually supportive relations that have developed throughout Nature and we can see once again the signs of a larger Oneness that we heretofore have not accepted with our minds. For instance, there is a species of fish called a “cleaner wrasse” that enters the mouth of the shark to clean its teeth and lives totally unharmed among what is considered to be one of the world’s most unrelenting predator species!

The human mind habitually views each physical form and being as “separate” and “distinct” and fragmented, one from the other. We are coming to understand that the mind’s impressions do not see the creation correctly. It is, after all, this same human mind that believes the sun rotates around the earth, or that the earth is flat, until it has gone further and discovered the deeper reality.

Today, as the world is threatened by ever-increasing threats to our environment, we begin to see the deep and abiding oneness of the entire biological creation. An imbalance in one form or fashion impacts the entire eco-sphere and bio-sphere of the world.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “The self behind the mind, life and body is the same as the self behind the mind, life and body of all our fellow-beings, and if we come to possess it, we shall naturally, when we turn to look out again upon them, tend to become one with them in the common basis of our consciousness. It is true that the mind opposes any such identification and if we allow it to persist in its old habits and activities, it will rather strive to bring again its veil of dissonances over our new realisation and possession of self than to shape and subject itself to this true and eternal vision of things.” The Taittiriya Upanishad states: “The Spirit who is here in a man and the Spirit who is there in the Sun, it is one Spirit and there is no other.” (Taittiriya Upanishad, Brahmanandavalli, Chapter 8)

It is essential that the seeker overcome the mind’s predisposition to its fragmented and isolated view of things to attain to the true perspective of Oneness. “…if we have proceeded rightly on the path of our Yoga, we shall have attained to Self through a purified mind and heart, and a purified mind is one that is necessarily passive and open to the knowledge. Secondly, even the mind in spite of its tendency to limit and divide can be taught to think in the rhythm of the unifying Truth instead of the broken terms of the limiting appearance. We must therefore accustom it by meditation and concentration to cease to think of things and beings as separately existent in themselves and rather to think always of the One everywhere and of all things as the One.”

The seeker of the integral Yoga must realise not only the transcendent, eternal, silent Self beyond all manifestation, but also the universal Self in the manifestation of the world and all its forms and beings. “By one he will find the self within, by the other he will find that self in all that seems to us at present to be outside us.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 10, The Realisation of the Cosmic Self, pp. 354-355

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