Cultivating Inner Peace as the Basis of Spiritual Sadhana

Given the reactive nature of the external being, the mind, the vital, the physical body, there is generally a lack of peace and we are driven from one response to another as circumstances, events, sense impressions, etc. impinge upon us. Development of an awareness that is separated from this external being is an enormous aid to creating a platform for cultivating peace in the nature. The separation of the witness-consciousness from the active nature is one such technique that is recommended by Sri Aurobindo. The initial object in this case is to develop a space within oneself, and an inner awareness that is able to observe the actions and reactions that take place in the external being without engagement or desire of any kind. It has been likened to watching action on a motion picture or television screen. One sees and understand what is taking place, but is not directly ‘involved’ in the action. This standpoint can develop a strong and unshakable peace which eventually can be utilized to extend into the external being and bring about a calming and quieting influence in the outer being.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “It is true that through whatever is strongest in him a sadhak can most easily open to the Divine. But…peace is necessary for all; without peace and an increasing purity, even if one opens, one cannot receive perfectly all that comes down through the opening. Light too is necessary for all — without light one cannot take full advantage of all that comes down.”

“It is in the peace behind and that ‘something truer’ in you that you must learn to live and feel it to be yourself. You must regard the rest as not your real self, but only a flux of changing or recurring movements on the surface which are sure to go as the true self emerges.”

“When the peace is deep or wide it is usually in the inner being. The outer parts do not ordinarily go beyond a certain measure of quietude — they get deep peace only when they are flooded with it from the inner being.”

“They [peace and patience] go together. By having patience under all kinds of pressure you lay the foundations of peace.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Growing Within: The Psychology of Inner Development, Chapter IV Growth of Consciousness First Steps and Foundation, pp. 73-74

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