Finding a Solution that Provides Peace Without Sacrificing Progress in the Universal Manifestation

If the drive towards progress is fueled by dissatisfaction and anxiety felt by the individual, we are left with the concern that achieving peace must come at the cost of giving up the active life and the development of consciousness in the world. We either have to sink back to the level of the animal who does not worry about the past or the future, and who lives in a relatively static consciousness, or find a way to escape the world, through renunciation and entering into a form of trance state based in the highest, but not attempting to modify or update the outer consciousness. Both of these methods, however, leave the drive embedded in the very essence of the human soul unfulfilled and thus, cannot be the complete solution to carrying out the significance of our existence.

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother propose a different solution. All of the above noted attempts to achieve peace are rooted in the ego-consciousness. They propose shifting the standpoint of consciousness to a higher level, aligned with the supreme consciousness that manifests the universal creation, and from that standpoint, peace comes from an absolute trust and faith in that creation and the role the individual is intended to play in carrying out the manifestation. Once the burden of action is shifted from the ego to the universal, there is no longer the pressure, nor any cause for anxiety. Thus, peace can be achieved in the consciousness of the individual without abandoning the drive towards the evolution of consciousness inherent in the human soul.

The Mother observes: “That is why all spiritual disciplines begin with the necessity of surrendering all responsibility and relying on a higher principle. Otherwise peace is impossible. … And yet, consciousness has been given to man so that he can progress, can discover what he doesn’t know, develop into what he has not yet become; and so it may be said that there is a higher state than that of an immobile and static peace: it is a trust total enough for one to keep the will to progress, to preserve the effort for progress while ridding it of all anxiety, all care for results and consequences. This is one step ahead of the methods which may be called ‘quietist’, which are founded on the rejection of all activity and a plunging into an immobility and inner silence, which forsake all life because it has been suddenly felt that without peace one can’t have any inner realisation and, quite naturally, one thought that one couldn’t have peace so long as one was living in outer conditions, in the state of anxiety in which problems are set and cannot be solved, for one does not have the knowledge to do so.”

“The next step is to face the problem, but with the calm and certitude of an absolute trust in the supreme Power which knows, and can make you act. And then, instead of abandoning action, one can act in a higher peace that is strong and dynamic. … This is what could be called a new aspect of the divine intervention in life, a new form of intervention of the divine forces in existence, a new aspect of spiritual realisation.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Disturbances of Mind, Anxiety, pp. 44-49

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