Understanding and Overcoming Obstacles That Obstruct the Psychic Opening

If human nature can be changed, it has to be at the place where motives and impulsions affect the understanding and the action. The sadhana thus entails a review of the wellsprings of thought and action, and a refusal of the drives and motives of the desire soul of the vital nature. Many times these motives are clothed in positive forms and good intentions. Thus, the reaction of the vital and the ego-personality must be carefully reviewed and scrutinized to ensure that the intentions remain pure and focused on the aspiration for the Divine, and the surrender of the nature as an instrument of the divine intention in the world, with no admixture of greed, lust, vanity, hunger for power or control, or self-aggrandisement in any form.

The action of the psychic being is choked off by the appropriation of the energy and focus for any form of ego gratification. The other side of this is that the psychic being can become more and more operative and persuasive as the rejection of these ulterior motives progresses.

A powerful psychological tool to aid in this is the development of the separation of the witness consciousness from the active nature. The witness observes, without direct involvement or motive, the way the nature responds and acts, and can ensure the clarity of the vision when it comes to motivations at work, even if they are quite subtle or disguised.

Another powerful tool is the understanding of the action of the three Gunas or qualities of Nature, Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas as their interaction permeates all actions and reactions in nature and there are tell-tale signs that can be observed as to the forms the ego-personality takes in response to any situation.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “Then only can the psychic being fully open when the sadhak has got rid of the mixture of vital motives with his sadhana and is capable of a simple and sincere self-offering to the Mother. If there is any kind of egoistic turn or insincerity of motive, if the yoga is done under a pressure of vital demands, or partly or wholly to satisfy some spiritual or other ambition, pride, vanity or seeking after power, position or influence over others or with any push towards satisfying any vital desire with the help of the yogic force, then the psychic cannot open, or opens only partially or only at times and shuts again because it is veiled by the vital activities; the psychic fire fails in the strangling vital smoke. Also, if the mind takes the leading part in the yoga and puts the inner soul into the background, or if the bhakti or other movements of the sadhana take more of a vital than of a psychic form, there is the same inability. Purity, simple sincerity and the capacity of an unegoistic unmixed self-offering without pretension or demand are the condition of an entire opening of the psychic being.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 8, The Triple Transformation: Psychic, Spiritual and Supramental, The Psychic Transformation, pp. 203-209

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