All the Parts of the Being Must Surrender Their Habitual Functioning to the Action of the Higher Power

Many people believe that they “are” what they “think”.  Thus, holding a particular religious faith, philosophy or ideology represents what they stand for and creates the image they see when they look in the mirror of introspection.  Those who undertake a serious yogic practice, however, soon come to recognise that the human individual and ego-personality are complex structures composed of numerous different layers, some of which directly contradict the mental formation of one’s sense of self.  They then see that they are made up of a blend of habits, desires, automatic responses, emotional drives, instinctive reactions and fixed mental ideas that clash with one another, distract from the focus and create a person who is not wholly dedicated, in all times, actions and circumstances, to the ideal upheld by the mental picture of oneself.

In order to go beyond a coloring influence on the mind, the integration of the higher force must take up and deal with all the parts of the being which continue to act based on the old ways of doing things.  This process is the long, slow, difficult one that leads to an actual change of the nature.

The mind has the capacity to accept the vital justification for actions, such that many things that are actually satisfying the desire-soul of the vital being are seen to be carrying out some principle of the ideal.  The mind lives then in a world of self-delusion, illusion or maya, and the yogic “escape from maya” does not necessarily mean abandonment of the life of the world, but the recognition and surrender of the ego-motivations masquerading under the shadow of the ideal.

Sri Aurobindo observes in The Life Divine:  “But this highest condition is difficult and must evidently take long to bring about; for the participation and consent of the Purusha to the transition is not sufficient; there must be also the consent and participation of the Prakriti.  It is not only the central thought and will that have to acquiesce, but all the parts of our being must assent and surrender to the law of the spiritual Truth; all has to learn to obey the government of the conscious Divine Power in the members.  There are obstinate difficulties in our being, born of its evolutionary constitution, which militate against this assent.  For some of these parts are still subject to the inconscience and subconscience and to the lower automatism of habit or so-called law of the nature, — mechanical habit of mind, habit of life, habit of instinct, habit of personality, habit of character, the ingrained mental, vital, physical needs, impulses, desires of the natural man, the old functionings of all kinds that are rooted there so deep that it would seem as if we had to dig to abysmal foundations in order to get them out… at each step of the transition the assent of the Purusha is needed and there must be too the consent of each part of the nature to the action of the higher power for its change.  There must be then a conscious self-direction of the mental being in us towards this change, this substitution of Supernature for the old nature, this transcendence.  The rule of conscious obedience to the higher truth of the spirit, the surrender of the whole being to the light and power that come from the Supernature, is a second condition which has to be accomplished slowly and with difficulty by the being itself before the supramental transformation can become at all possible.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Future Evolution of Man, Chapter Seven, The Ascent Towards Supermind, pp. 82-83

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