As if the genetic, prenatal and neonatal influence, and the habits and customs of the society into which one is born is not sufficient burden to have to deal with as it rises up from the subconscient levels of our being, we also have to address the current influences provided through peer pressure, interactions with others on a daily basis and the mental and vital force exerted by those with whom we come into contact. Many people have come to appreciate that being in the presence of certain individuals is draining on their energy. In other cases, one feels an intense pressure, which may be mental, emotional or vital when one is around certain people. In other instances, after a meeting with a particular individual, one may suddenly have a strong craving for food or drink. What occurs here is that the subconscient exchange of energies impinges on one’s subconscious being, and triggers an inner response. Note that the response may not exactly correspond to the specific feeling conveyed by the individual with whom one has been interacting, as it is triggering something already embedded in the being. Thus, interacting with someone who is greedy for money in a very intense way, may not trigger greed for money, but may raise up some other form of desire, such as food. For those who are extraordinarily insightful and clear, the actual force working in the other individual can be noted and understood, but in most cases, these things happen without direct awareness, and many people simply do not associate the later rising up of some felt need, desire or pressure as having been a direct consequence of the earlier interaction.
When an individual visits a party or perhaps a nightclub or other venue where vital desires and impulses are active and energies are high, there may be a reaction of lowered inhibitions, a rising up of various lower vital energies, such as sexual desire, and the atmosphere can feel like it is permeated by those forces. Individuals who are sensitive can quickly pick up the ‘vibration’ of a particular situation in this way by seeing what energies are being provoked and what rises up internally, even if they have control themselves over expression of the impulse. The impressions so created may also not rise immediately if there is conscious control being exercised, but may come up in dreams when the conscious control is loosened.
On a more subtle level, some individuals use their vital force to try to overpower or intimidate or bully others. They create such an intensity in the atmosphere that people feel like they are being palpably attacked. This is another sign of the subtle, and subconscious, action of vital energies that are stirred by those with whom we have any interaction.
The Mother observes: “You live surrounded by people. These people themselves have desires, stray wishes, impulses which are expressed through them and have all kinds of causes, but take in their consciousness an individual form. For example, to put it in very practical terms: you have a father, a mother, brothers, sisters, friends, comrades; each one has his own way of feeling, willing, and all those with whom you are in relation expect something from you, even as you expect something from them. That something they do not always express to you, but it is more or less conscious in their being, and it makes formations. These formations, according to each one’s capacity of thought and the strength of his vitality, are more or less powerful, but they have their own little strength which is usually much the same as yours; and so what those around you want, desire, hope or expect from you enters in this way in the form of suggestions very rarely expressed, but which you absorb without resistance and which suddenly awaken within you a similar desire, a similar will, a similar impulse…. This happens from morning to night, and again from night to morning, for these things don’t stop while you are sleeping, but on the contrary are very often intensified because your consciousness is no longer awake, watching and protecting you to some extent.”
“And this is quite common, so common that it is quite natural and so natural that you need special circumstances and most unusual occasions to become aware of it. Naturally, it goes without saying that your own responses, your own impulses, your own wishes have a similar influence on others, and that all this becomes a marvellous mixture in which might is always right!”
Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Disturbances of the Subconscient, Collective Subconscious Influences, pp. 111-118