The Need for Time to Assimilate the Descent of the Divine Force

The vital nature craves excitement and signs of progress. It feels like time spent reflecting, relaxing, or contemplating may be ‘wasted time’. This is similar to the mindset that sees a vacant piece of land, with just plants, flowers and trees on it as ‘wasted’ as it has not been ‘developed’. Sri Aurobindo places some perspective on this viewpoint, as he recognises the importance and value of having the time and space for assimilation and integration of the new insights and energies. In the ancient texts the imagery is shown as the ascent of a mountain, and then a time needed for rest on the plateau before moving to the next phase of the climb. For an integral yoga that seeks the transformation of the nature, it becomes important not just to experience the force, but to be able to let it fill and build out the capacities of the mind, life and body. Thus, a rhythm ensues for the process, whereby there is an intense period of experience, followed by a slower quiet period. This mirrors the peak and valley wave patterns found in the electro-magnetic spectrum and follows the law of the vibratory patterns of oscillation between the time for the peak flow and the time of the ‘trough’ between the peaks.

When the seeker begins to see and understand this rhythm, there is less impatience and the rajasic impulses are modulated, providing a deeper insight and overview of the processes of the yoga, and encouraging the development of patience and persistence as core qualities for the long-term achievement of the goals of the yogic sadhana.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “As regards your own sadhana and those of others … I think it necessary to make two or three observations. First, I have for some time had the impression that there is a too constant activity and pressure for rapidity of progress and a multitude of experiences. These things are all right in themselves, but there must be certain safeguards. First there should be sufficient periods of rest and silence, even of relaxation, in which there can be a quiet assimilation. Assimilation is very important and periods necessary for it should not be regarded with impatience as stoppages of the yoga. Care should be taken to make calm and quiet strength and inner silence the basic condition for all activity. There should be no excessive strain; any fatigue, disturbance, or inordinate sensitiveness of the nervous and physical parts, of which you mention certain symptoms in your letters, should be quieted and removed, as they are often signs of overstrain or too great an activity or rapidity in the yoga. It must also be remembered that experiences are only valuable as indications and openings and the main thing always is the steady harmonious and increasingly organised opening and change of the different parts of the consciousness and the being.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 8, The Triple Transformation: Psychic, Spiritual and Supramental, The Spiritual Transformation, pp. 209-229

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