The mind, through its process, creates a dichotomy between “mind” and “body” and between “spirit” and “matter”. This is an artificial distinction that creates serious drawbacks and limitations in the way we approach our lives, and the relation of our physical body to our mental and spiritual life. There is no opposition between them when we recognise the unity of all existence.
Modern day scientists are learning these truths which have been known by the ancient Rishis and Yogis since the Vedic age. Scientists first determined that Matter and Energy are one, and that matter can be converted into energy and energy converted into matter. They learned that matter is, at the atomic level, a highly organised form of energy. More recently they have learned that energy and consciousness are one. This helps us understand the principles that govern the organisation of matter and the action of energy according to highly systematic lines. Matter, Mind and Spirit are all aspects of the same spectrum. This provides the basis for Sri Aurobindo’s approach, which does not abandon the body or the life energy, but transforms them through conscious infusion of the spirit into them. Oneness, not division and fragmentation, is the one reality of existence.
Sri Aurobindo observes: “A development of the physical consciousness must always be a considerable part of our aim, but for that the right development of the body itself is an essential element; health, strength, fitness are the first needs, but the physical frame itself must be the best possible. A divine life in a material world implies necessarily a union of the two ends of existence, the spiritual summit and the material base. The soul with the basis of its life established in Matter ascends to the heights of the Spirit but does not cast away its base, it joins the heights and the depths together. The Spirit descends into Matter and the material world with all its lights and glories and powers and with them fills and transforms life in the material world so that it becomes more and more divine. The transformation is not a change into something purely subtle and spiritual to which Matter is in its nature repugnant and by which it is felt as an obstacle or as a shackle binding the Spirit; it takes up Matter as a form of the Spirit though now a form which conceals and turns it into a revealing instrument, it does not cast away the energies of Matter, its capacities, its methods; it brings out their hidden possibilities , uplifts, sublimates, discloses their innate divinity. The divine life will reject nothing that is capable of divinisation; all is to be seized, exalted, made utterly perfect. The mind now still ignorant, though struggling towards knowledge, has to rise towards and into the supramental light and truth and bring it down so that it shall suffuse our thinking and perception and insight and all our means of knowing till they become radiant with the highest truth in their inmost and outermost movements. Our life, still full of obscurity and confusion and occupied with so many dull and lower aims, must feel all its urges and instincts exalted and irradiated and become a glorious counterpart of the supramental super-life above. The physical consciousness and physical being, the body itself must reach a perfection in all that it is and does which now we can hardly conceive. It may even in the end be suffused with a light and beauty and bliss from the Beyond and the life divine assume a body divine.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Mind of Light, The Perfection of the Body, pp.. 29-30