The Inconscient and the Need for Its Transformation

When we look around at the world today, as well as at the thoughts, feelings and moods of people, both ourselves, and others, we find that Sri Aurobindo has perfectly described the situation. He defines this as the underlying Inconscient ‘bed-rock’ of being, the basic material resistance that is filled with Tamas and is slow to respond and adapt to either the need for change, or the change itself.

In any evolutionary work of uplifting the energy and awareness of the planetary consciousness, there will be a time when this basic Inconscience stands as the last bulwark of opposition to the higher Light and Force. All the fixed habits of response acquired through countless millennia of existence are rooted there and believe they have the right to be there and are the correct response to the energies of the world, without recognising the need for change and the drive to evolve.

When we speak about the “dog eat dog” world, the “survival of the fittest” and the “law of the jungle” we illustrate the way this Inconscient level responds to life. Basic drives, the desire for food, safety, domination, sexual gratification, power, and the responses of anger, fear, aggressive ‘pecking order’ behavior, all find their support at this level. There is also a long habit of reaction to stimuli that is virtually automatic at this level, and without conscious recognition and intervention, it just takes place instantly whenever the designated stimuli appear. Before we know it, we are doing things that our conscious mind and intelligence may abhor! And later, we reflect and regret, and do not necessarily recognise that this is the age-old tamasic basis of existence in this world that does not belong to us individually, but which underpins us all collectively until we finally break through and effectuate change at this level.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “The extreme acuteness of your difficulties is due to the yoga having come down against the bed-rock of Inconscience which is the fundamental basis of all resistance in the individual and in the world to the victory of the Spirit and the Divine Work that is leading toward that victory. The difficulties themselves are general in the Ashram as well as in the outside world. Doubt, discouragement, diminution or loss of faith, waning of the vital enthusiasm for the ideal, perplexity and a baffling of the hope for the future are the common features of the difficulty. In the world outside there are much worse symptoms such as the general increase of cynicism, a refusal to believe in anything at all, a decrease of honesty, an immense corruption, a preoccupation with food, money, comfort, pleasure, to the exclusion of higher things, and a general expectation of worse and worse things awaiting the world. All that, however acute, is a temporary phenomenon for which those who know anything about the workings of the world-energy and the workings of the Spirit were prepared. I myself foresaw that this worst would come, the darkness of night before the dawn; therefore I am not discouraged. I know what is preparing behind the darkness and can see and feel the first signs of its coming. Those who seek for the Divine have to stand firm and persist in their seeking; after a time, the darkness will fade and begin to disappear and the Light will come.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 9, Transformation of the Nature, The Inconscient, pp. 268-269

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