The Path of the Integral Yoga

The integral yoga relies on the action of a force of consciousness beyond the mind-life-body complex under which we ordinarily function. This involves a self-exceeding beyond the normal framework. Thus, it cannot be accomplished purely by the action of those powers residing within that framework, the powers of the mind, the powers of the life-force, the powers of the body. Developing the yogic path for such a self-exceeding involves a process of bringing the existing being to a state of receptivity and preparedness to receive the higher force and allow it to carry out its changes in the nature. The more we interfere with our mind’s pre-conceived ideas or limitations, the more we overlay our habitual patterns, our desires and our expectations, the less we allow the higher force to truly act.

Sri Aurobindo describes this as a process of aspiration, rejection and surrender. The aspiration is to turn the being towards the higher force and tune ourselves to receive its impulsions. The rejection involved is to not respond to the normal ideas, pressures and directions of the human existence as we have known it through our past development. The surrender involved is accepting this higher force in our lives and allowing it to act.

Because we are asked to rely on forces outside our normal process, there must be both faith in the action of the higher force, and patience as it acts to review, determine and transform the elements of our nature while working through the complexity and the obstructions it finds along the way.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “In this yoga all depends on whether one can open to the Influence or not. If there is a sincerity in the aspiration and a patient will to arrive at the higher consciousness in spite of all obstacles, then the opening in one form or another is sure to come. But it may take a long or short time according to the prepared or unprepared condition of the mind, heart and body; so if one has not the necessary patience, the effort may be abandoned owing to the difficulty of the beginning. There is no method in this yoga except to concentrate, preferably in the heart, and call the presence and power of the Mother to take up the being and by the workings of her force transform the consciousness; one can concentrate also in the head or between the eyebrows, but for many this is a too difficult opening. When the mind falls quiet and the concentration becomes strong and the aspiration intense, then there is a beginning of experience. The more the faith, the more rapid the result is likely to be. For the rest one must not depend on one’s own efforts only, but succeed in establishing a contact with the Divine and a receptivity to the Mother’s Power and Presence.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 5 Bases of Yoga, Opening, pp. 97-100

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