Understanding Vital Dissatisfaction and Withdrawal of Energy

There are times when we feel a total lack of inspiration and energy. Dullness pervades, there is no initiative or interest in anything. These times come in the ordinary day to day life, but they are covered up with distractions, entertainment, intoxication, and vital forms of enjoyment. The vital nature thrives on such distractions generally, so the dullness, boredom, lack of drive are forgotten in the excitement of the vital stimuli.

For those practicing yoga, however, when such moments come, the response should not be one of giving in to the vital craving and diving into the diversions that suit that craving, but rather, working to understand the causes of the vital dissatisfaction that is responsible for the withdrawal of the interest and the energy, and determining ways to bring the vital being willingly into the goal, purpose and effort of the sadhana.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “The vital can be all right when things are going on swimmingly, but when difficulties become strong, it sinks and lies supine. Also if a bait is held out to the vital ego, then it can become enthusiastic and active.”

“It is an oscillation due to something in the resistant part (not the whole of it) being still dissatisfied at the call to change. When any vital element is disappointed, dissatisfied, called or compelled to change but not yet willing, it has the tendency to create non-response or non-co-operation of the vital, leaving the physical dull or insensible without the vital push. With the psychic pressure this remnant of resistance will pass.”

“There are some who are solid and tenacious in their vital, it is they who can be steady — others are more mercurial and easily moved by impulses, it is these who are sometimes enthusiastic, sometimes drop into fatigue. It is a matter of temperament. On the other hand the mercurial people are often capable of a quicker ardour, so that they can progress fast if they want in their own way. In any case the remedy for all that is to find one’s true self above mind and vital and so not bound by temperament.”

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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