The Foundation Underlying Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching

Most of us are absorbed so deeply in our daily lives, that we identify ourselves with our jobs, our relationships, our financial concerns, our religious and political affiliations or  our struggles.  We do not tend to shift our attention outside of the sensations, perceptions and reactions of our egoistic personality to the events we experience.  Yet, if we withdraw for a moment, and shift our attention elsewhere, we can recognise that there must be, and is, something more that drives the entire process of the universal creation, including the separate, fragmented existence we experience individually.

We first see that when we are not blinded by the intensity of the sun and daylight, we can peer into a vast universe of space that contains solar systems, galaxies and universes far beyond our immediate residence on a small planet in a small solar system.  What is the purpose, significance of function of our lives in this larger context?

Second, we can observe that even when we believe ourselves to be separate on this planet, that this is also an illusion.  The sun sets all life in motion.  The plants are symbiotic to us, as we breathe their excretions just as they breathe ours, in order to exist.  Plants convert solar energy into biological energy that we are able to consume for our life and existence.  Without this entire complex interaction of all the elements of life, we simply do not exist.  We are one with everyone and everything, even if we fail to recognise it.

It is this foundation of oneness that represents the core basis of our spiritual quest, which is essentially the quest to reposition our awareness and standpoint to one that incorporates the reality of the universal creation, not just the illusion of our fragmented and separate existence trying to survive and thrive in a world that apparently either does not care or is actively in conflict with our own desires and needs.

As we overcome the illusion of separateness, it becomes possible for us to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of a deeper purpose in this manifestation, as represented by an evolution of consciousness and the consequent changes this brings about for our existence.

The process of overcoming this illusion of separateness includes practices which have been classified as one or another form of Yoga, or similar practices under other names found in cultures throughout the world.  This would include vision quest, meditation, concentration, fasting, chanting, or various forms of worship or prayer.  Each of these shares the qualification of directing the awareness outside of ourselves and towards the larger reality that creates, sustains and propels the universal creation.

Sri Aurobindo explains:  “The teaching of Sri Aurobindo starts from that of the ancient sages of India: that behind the appearances of the universe there is the reality of a being and consciousness, a self of all things, one and eternal.  All beings are united in that one self and spirit but divided by a certain separativity of consciousness, an ignorance of their true self and reality in the mind, life and body.  It is possible by a certain psychological discipline to remove this veil of separative consciousness and become aware of the true Self, the divinity within us and all.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mind of Light, The Teaching of Sri Aurobindo, pg. 21

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