An Exercise to Overcome the Mental Bias to Facilitate the Ability to “Know Thyself”

Once we recognise that we cannot trust the mental faculty to keep the vital desire-soul in check, the question arises as to how it is then possible to truly examine the underlying motives and wellsprings of our thoughts, feelings and actions without falling victim to the kind of bias that the vital influence on the mind creates. Without such a mechanism, we have little hope of effectuating any real and lasting change in human nature.

The Mother proposes a methodology that bypasses the ordinary mental justification process; rather, it puts each thought, feeling and action up in front of the screen of the psychic being, the soul entity, and its highest aspiration, and filters them according to their adherence to the highest standards and aspirations of the soul, without concern for the vital desire or the mental justification.

The Mother observes: “If in your mind you go over the various movements and reactions of the day like one repeating indefinitely the same thing, you will not progress. If this reviewing is to make you progress, you must find something within you in whose light you can be yourself your own judge, something which represents for you the best part of yourself, which has some light, some goodwill and which precisely is in love with progress. Place that before you and first pass across it as in a cinema all that you have done, all that you have felt, your impulses, your thoughts, etc.; then try to coordinate them, that is, find out why this has followed that. And look at the luminous screen that is before you: certain things pass by well, without throwing a shadow; others, on the contrary, throw a little shadow; others yet cast a shadow altogether black and disagreeable. You must do this very sincerely, as though you were playing a game: under such circumstances I did such and such a thing, feeling like this and thinking in this way; I have before me my ideal of knowledge and self-mastery, well, was this act in keeping with my ideal or not? If it was, it would not leave any shadow on the screen, which would remain transparent, and one would not have to worry about it. If it is not in conformity, it casts a shadow. Why has it left this shadow? What was there in this act that was contrary to the will to self-knowledge and self-mastery?”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Exercises for Growth and Mastery, Self-Observation and Self-Organisation, pp. 126-131

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.