The Last Difficulty of the Mind

The mind’s tendency toward limiting and demarcating is the cause of the last and ultimate difficulty in the process of spiritualizing the mind. The mind focuses on one aspect or experience, to the exclusion of all the others. We see this in the traditional Yoga of knowledge, wherein the seeker is asked to abandon the life of the world in order to attain the Absolute. These two poles are seen as mutually exclusive to one another, and indeed, it is the experience of ages that has led to this conclusion. The integral Yoga, in seeking to overcome this gulf between the two poles, must eventually find a way to harmonize the experience of the Unity and the ultimate consciousness of Sat-Chit-Ananda with the experience of the Multiplicity and the experience of Mind-Life-Body.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “It is not altogether difficult to arrive at and dwell in a pure infinite or even, at the same time, a perfect global experience of the Existence which is Consciousness which is Delight. The mind may even extend its experience of this Unity to the multiplicity so as to perceive it immanent in the universe and in each object, force, movement in the universe or at the same time to be aware of this Existence-Consciousness-Bliss containing the universe and enveloping all its objects and originating all its movements. It is difficult indeed for it to unite and harmonise rightly all these experiences; but still it can possess Sachchidananda at once in himself and immanent in all and the continent of all.”

This experience is primarily the extension of the Unity into the world, more or less along the lines of envisioning Space as the unifying container within which stars, planets, moons, comets and asteroids all are contained. It does not yet take the added step of actually recognizing all these various individual forms, forces and actions as One.

“But with this to unite the final experience of all this as Sachchidananda and possess objects, movements, forces, forms as no other than He, is the great difficulty for mind. Separately any of these things may be done; the mind may go from one to the other, rejecting one as it arrives at another and calling this the lower or that the higher existence. But to unify without losing, to integralise without rejecting is its supreme difficulty.”

“He who is one and without hue, but has ordained manifoldly many hues by the Yoga of his Force and holds within himself all objects, and in Him the universe dissolves in the end, that Godhead was in the beginning….That alone is the fire and That the sun and That the wind and That too the moon; That is the Luminous, That the Brahman, That the waters, That the Father and Lord of creatures. Thou art the woman and Thou the man; Thou art a boy and again a young virgin; Thou art yonder worn and aged man that walkest bent with thy staff. Lo, Thou becomes born and the world is full of thy faces.” (Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, Shwetashwatara Upanishad, Chapter 4, v. 1-3, pg. 369)

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 13, The Difficulties of the Mental Being, pp. 382-383

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