Fear opens up pathways for whatever is feared to enter the being, as it creates a vibrational ‘link’ between the individual and the feared event or circumstance. Fear also opens holes in the vital envelope, or aura, that helps protect the individual from catching illnesses. We have all heard of instances where doctors wade into a contagious environment without fear and are able to remain healthy while treating innumerable sick individuals. Fear thus is part of the mechanism that spreads disease and can help create the development of pandemics. This is not to minimize the virulence of the disease, but to indicate another pathway for it to enter the being and overcome the immune strength.
The fear need not be an overt mental reaction or even a vital reaction in order to be operative. The body itself can respond with fear at the cellular level. Many people have experienced the phenomenon of an uncontrolled reaction in the body when a circumstance occurs that reminds the body of past traumatic events. For instance, if one had a bad experience with a doctor or a hospital, one will have an automatic reaction the next time one goes to a doctor or hospital. It even has a name ‘white coat syndrome’. The blood pressure will go up, the pulse increases, the breathing becomes more irregular, all while the mind, emotions and conscious vital parts are at peace with the situation or even supporting the need for the visit. These reactions represent a release of past trauma held in the cells of the body into a current circumstance, and are not generally subject to conscious control.
At a certain point in the yogic process, the work must proceed to the cellular level and begin to adjust the very way the body reacts to circumstances. As long as we hold the standpoint of being a body rather than a spiritual being taking and using a body for its own purposes, these automatic bodily reactions will find a basis for acceptance and thus, be able to recur. Underlying all of this is an existential fear of death, which must eventually be overcome in order to accomplish the shift to the spiritual consciousness. The Mother addresses this issue with some considerations based on her own insight and experience.
The Mother notes: “You must not fear. Most of your troubles come from fear. In fact, ninety per cent of illnesses are the result of the subconscient fear of the body. In the ordinary consciousness of the body there is a more or less hidden anxiety about the consequences of the slightest physical disturbance. It can be translated by these words of doubt about the future: ‘And what will happen?’ It is this anxiety that must be checked. Indeed this anxiety is a lack of confidence in the Divine’s Grace, the unmistakable sign that the consecration is not complete and perfect.”
“As a practical means of overcoming this subconscient fear each time that something of it comes to the surface, the more enlightened part of the being must impress on the body the necessity of an entire trust in the Divine’s Grace, the certitude that this Grace is always working for the best in our self as well as in all, and the determination to submit entirely and unreservedly to the Divine’s Will.”
“The body must know and be convinced that its essence is divine and that if no obstacle is put in the way of the Divine’s working, nothing can harm us. This process must be steadily repeated until all recurrence of fear is stopped. And then even if the illness succeeds in making its appearance, its strength and duration will be considerably diminished until it is definitively conquered.”
Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Disturbances of the Body and Physical Consciousness, Preoccupation with Illness, pp. 91-93