Understanding the Moods of the Vital Consciousness

When we are busy fulfilling our desires or ambitions, we notice that the vital energy is generally plentiful and positive, we forget about fatigue and want to carry on with exuberance. This is the normal status of the vital energy carrying out its habitual functions in human life and society. There is a ‘gusto’ to life that is palpable and which weaves itself into whatever we are doing. When asked to undertake actions that it does not appreciate, support or recognise as beneficial within its normal frame of reference, the vital being of man likes to complain, obstruct or even ‘go on strike’, so to speak. The transition to a spiritual standpoint from the normal ego-standpoint can lead to such energy disruptions if the vital being feels like its normal forms of enjoyment and benefit are being denied, and not replaced with something else that it finds equally compelling or beneficial.

It becomes necessary, at a certain point in the practice of the yoga, for the vital being to accept, whole-heartedly, the new focus, and direction of the being, and find its satisfaction in becoming a willing servitor to a new, higher standpoint, outlook and focus of action.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “The ordinary freshness, energy, enthusiasm of the nature comes either from the vital, direct when it is satisfying its own instincts and impulses, indirect when it co-operates with or assents to the mental, physical or spiritual activities. If the vital resents, there is revolt and struggles. If the vital no longer insists on its own impulses and instincts but does not co-operate there is either dryness or a neutral state. Dryness comes in when the vital is quiescent but passively unwilling, not interested, the neutral state when it neither assents nor is unwilling, — simply quiescent, passive. This, however, the neutral state can deepen into positive calm and peace by a greater influx from above which keeps the vital not only quiescent but at least passively acquiescent. With the active interest and consent of the vital the peace becomes a glad or joyful peace or a strong peace supporting and entering into action or active experience.”

“The feeling of the desert comes because of the resistance of the vital which wants life to be governed by desire. If that is not allowed, it regards existence as a desert and puts that impression on the mind.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 9, Transformation of the Nature, Transformation of the Vital, pp. 246-259

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