Following the Unique Path of One’s Deepest Aspiration to Spiritual Realisation

It is a somewhat difficult concept for most people to accept: that each individual has his own spiritual path and realisation before him, and that it is therefore neither appropriate nor fruitful to spend time trying to either criticise or convert others to one’s own path or view, or to attempt to adopt or copy the methods or focus of another individual. Each individual comes into the world with a set of issues and difficulties that represent the challenges that individual is to face in this lifetime. The idea of uniqueness is, at the same time, combined with the complexity of what we call ‘synchronicity’ which brings together each of the unique individuals and circumstances into a web of interaction which help us to understand our own role, and our relation to the wider collectivity by reflecting back to us exactly what it is our energy and direction call for.

A specific set of practices, or a specific mind-set may be helpful to one individual, while at the same time, being counter-productive to another. There may be certain elements that correspond between individuals with similar affinity, and thus, we can learn from others, while maintaining our clear insight internally to the uniqueness of our own path.

What we can learn from observing others may be positive steps we can incorporate into our own spiritual development, or may even represent examples that should not be followed! Understanding which things to adopt, and which things to avoid, requires an inner awareness and awakening to our soul’s aspiration and a recognition of this uniqueness and responsibility to carry out the deepest aspiration within us.

It is much easier, in a certain sense, to simply avoid this type of deep inner review, and follow along with others who seem to have a way or path that we find to be either successful or which seems to engender happiness. Yet, in the end, this may prove to be an illusion and a setback. The deeper questions of how to find and stick to one’s own path and direction, and how to avoid the potential for misdirection that results from taking a unique approach, are of tremendous relevance as we aspire and grow spiritually.

The Mother observes: “You stop short at the perfection that others should realise and you are seldom conscious of the goal you should be pursuing yourself. If you are conscious of it, well then, begin with the work which is given to you, that is to say, realise what you have to do and do not concern yourself with what others do, because, after all, it is not your business. And the best way to the true attitude is simply to say, ‘All those around me, all the circumstances of my life, all the people near me, are a mirror held up to me by the Divine Consciousness to show me the progress I must make. Everything that shocks me in others means a work I have to do in myself.’ … And perhaps if one carried true perfection in oneself, one would discover it more often in others.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Exercises for Growth and Mastery, Using Life as a Mirror, pp. 158-161


The Faults We Observe In Others Are a Reflection of the Faults We Carry In Ourselves

It is much easier to see and criticise others for their ideas, behaviour or habits, than to see in oneself potentially those same issues. Jesus raised this issue in his Sermon on the Mount: “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Jesus is admonishing his followers about not judging others when one does not see one’s own faults.

The Mother takes this to a deeper level by helping us see that the natural affinity by which we can see and understand the actions and motives of others is part of the synchronicity of the universal creation that implies that what we see has its own roots within ourselves, and in many cases, the actions which we find the most abhorrent are those which we carry within ourselves, active or latent, as the case may be.

The Mother writes: “It is rather remarkable that when we have a weakness — for example a ridiculous habit, a defect or an imperfection — since it is more or less part of our nature, we consider it to be very natural, it does not shock us. But as soon as we see this same weakness, this same imperfection, this same ridiculous habit in someone else, it seems quite shocking to us and we say, ‘What! He’s like that?’ — without noticing that we ourselves are ‘like that’. And so to the weakness and imperfection we add the absurdity of not even noticing them.”

“There is a lesson to be drawn from this. When something in a person seems to you completely unacceptable or ridiculous — ‘What! He is like that, he behaves like that, he says things like that, he does things like that’ — you should say to yourself, ‘Well, well, but perhaps I do the same thing without being aware of it. I would do better to look into myself first before criticising him, so as to make sure that I am not doing the very same thing in a slightly different way.’ If you have the good sense and intelligence to do this each time you are shocked by another person’s behaviour, you will realise that in life your relations with others are like a mirror which is presented to you so that you can see more easily and clearly the weaknesses you carry within you.”

“In a general and almost absolute way anything that shocks you in other people is the very thing you carry in yourself in a more or less veiled, more or less hidden form, though perhaps in a slightly different guise which allows you to delude yourself. And what in yourself seems inoffensive enough, becomes monstrous as soon as you see it in others.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Exercises for Growth and Mastery, Using Life as a Mirror, pp. 158-161

Making Best Use of Our Limited Time

When we reflect on the time we have in our lifetime and how we utilize it, we find that after we calculate time spent in sleeping, eating, bathing, growth in childhood, earning a living, exercising, we have a very limited amount of what may be called “free time” available to us. In a culture and society that wants to keep us ‘occupied’ at all times, this free time is generally allocated to various forms of recreation or dissipation of our focus and energies. Any moment when we do not have a specific task or activity is considered empty and we deal with the feeling of boredom. Our society provides us endless options for filling this time, some spent in building up our skills and experience for success in the outer world of action, and other time in socializing, or even actions of outright dissipation such as use of drugs or alcohol, or used simply as a distraction in various forms of mindless entertainment in which we habitually engage.

The Mother suggests that this very limited ‘free time’ is actually of extraordinary value and can be focused and applied toward spiritual growth, inner development and understanding of the meaning of our lives and actions.

The Mother notes: “How often there is a kind of emptiness in the course of life, an unoccupied moment, a few minutes, sometimes more. And what do you do? Immediately you try to distract yourself, and you invent some foolishness or other to pass your time. That is a common fact. All men, from the youngest to the oldest, spend most of their time in trying not to be bored. Their pet aversion is boredom and the way to escape from boredom is to act foolishly.”

“Well, there is a better way than that — to remember. … When you have a little time, whether it is one hour or a few minutes, tell yourself, ‘At last, I have some time to concentrate, to collect myself, to relive the purpose of my life, to offer myself to the True and the Eternal.’ If you took care to do this each time you are not harassed by outer circumstances, you would find out that you were advancing very quickly on the path. Instead of wasting your time in chattering, in doing useless things, reading things that lower the consciousness — to choose only the best cases, I am not speaking of other imbecilities which are much more serious — instead of trying to make yourself giddy, to make time, that is already so short, still shorter only to realise at the end of your life that you have lost three-quarters of your chance — then you want to put in double time, but that does not work — it is better to be moderate, balanced, patient, quiet, but never to lose an opportunity that is given to you, that is to say, to utilise for the true purpose the unoccupied moment before you.”

“When you have nothing to do, you become restless, you run about, you meet friends, you take a walk, to speak only of the best; I am not referring to things that are obviously not to be done. Instead of that, sit down quietly before the sky, before the sea or under trees, whatever is possible (here you have all of them) and try to realise one of these things — to understand why you live, to learn how you must live, to ponder over what you want to do and what should be done, what is the best way of escaping from the ignorance and falsehood and pain in which you live.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Exercises for Growth and Mastery, Self-Recollection — Remembering, pp. 157-158

Overcoming Hopelessness and Depression by Tuning the Consciousness Towards the Light

Many people, including those who are treading a spiritual path, feel depressed and hopeless when they see all the negativity, violence, and destruction taking place in the world around us. The mass media focuses on, and emphasizes, all this negativity, with the saying ‘if it bleeds, it leads’. They know they can capture the attention of more people for violent, dramatic events than with positive and harmonious issues. It is no wonder that we tend to fixate tremendous attention on this type of thing, and consequently we feel like there is no way out and we are heading to inevitable loss and destruction.

There are forces, and beings who embody these forces in many cases, which purposely work to create hostility, chaos and fear, who feed off of our negative emotions, and who will do practically anything to be the center of attention. They understand that we will turn our focus towards them and thereby come, subtly or overtly, under their control. They develop what is called ‘charisma’ to enchant and hypnotize us, even to the most desperately negative things they may choose to say or do. These forces make us accept and believe in their drama and can lead us to hopelessness and despair.

And yet, when we recognise the way consciousness actually works and the way the universal manifestation evolves, it becomes clear, as Sri Aurobindo puts it in Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol: ‘A hope stole in that hardly dared to be….’ The beings and forces that are working to move the evolutionary progression forward, the forces of light and harmony, the forces of compassion and good will, are generally quiet, unassuming, working without fanfare, and avoiding the limelight, but working nevertheless.

Human consciousness acts in many ways like a frequency tuning device. We receive and act upon those frequencies to which we tune ourselves. If we accept the input that comes from the mass media, without understanding that this is a very narrow slice of the frequency spectrum, we become depressed by the difficulty, or even apparent impossibility of progress, survival and positive development. If however, we recognise that we can consciously turn our attention to the powers and forces and beings of light and good will, call them into our lives, and accept their supportive and buoying energy, then we find that, on the contrary, real progress is being made.

Because of the lack of fanfare, tuning to these positive forces and beings may happen through our inner receptivity and aspiration gaining a sudden sense of conviction, or we experience some telepathic guidance, or we interface with these beings in a dream-state, or we receive what the Tibetan Buddhists call the psychic ‘gift waves’ that inspire, guide and uplift our spirits.

There are other realms than the purely physical that interact with and impact our world and its development. Just as some of the hostile forces and beings reside in the vital world and influence us from there, so also some of the uplifting forces and beings reside in the subtle physical, the vital or other worlds of higher energies.

Sri Aurobindo declares in Savitri: “When darkness deepens strangling the earth’s breast And man’s corporeal mind is the only lamp, As a thief’s in the night shall be the covert tread Of one who steps unseen into his house. A Voice ill-heard shall speak, the soul obey, A power into mind’s inner chamber steal, A charm and sweetness open life’s closed doors And beauty conquer the resisting world, The truth-light capture Nature by surprise, A stealth of God compel the heart to bliss And earth grow unexpectedly divine.”

Sri Aurobindo observes: “If there are always forces around which are concerned to depress and discourage, there are always force above and around us which we can draw upon, — draw into ourselves to restore, to fill up again with strength and faith and joy and the power that perseveres and conquers. It is really a habit that one has to get of opening to these helpful forces and either passively receiving them or actively drawing upon them — for one can do either. It is easier if you have the conception of them above and around you and the faith and the will to receive them — for that brings the experience and concrete sense of them and the capacity to receive at need or at will. It is a question of habituating your consciousness to get into touch and keep in touch with these helpful forces — and for that you must accustom yourself to reject the impressions forced on you by the others, depression, self-distrust, repining and all similar disturbances.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Exercises for Growth and Mastery, Drawing Upon Helpful Sources, pp. 156-157

Various Forms of Meditation and Their Potential Benefits

Most people are confused about what meditation is. One of the causes of this confusion is the variety of forms of meditation that are recommended and practiced by various traditions. Some forms of meditation require strenuous efforts and considerable time to bear fruit. The Mother provides insight into meditation and proposes a method she finds most suitable. Her preferred method harnesses the power of aspiration, which reminds us of the focus of the Rishis of the Rig Veda, who placed Agni, the ‘mystic fire’, the flame of aspiration, in front as the first power to be engaged in achieving realisation.

The Mother writes: “It is very difficult to meditate. There are all kinds of meditations…. You may take an idea and follow it to arrive at a given result — this is an active meditation; people who want to solve a problem or to write, meditate in this way without knowing that they are meditating. Others sit down and try to concentrate on something without following an idea — simply to concentrate on a point in order to intensify one’s power of concentration; and this brings about what usually happens when you concentrate upon a point: if you succeed in gathering your capacity for concentration sufficiently upon a point whether mental, vital or physical, at a given moment you pass through and enter into another consciousness. Others still try to drive out from their head all movements, ideas, reflexes, reactions and to arrive at a truly silent tranquility. This is extremely difficult; there are people who have tried for twenty-five years and not succeeded, for it is something like taking a bull by the horns.”

“There is another kind of meditation which consists in being as quiet as one can be but without trying to stop all thoughts, for there are thoughts which are purely mechanical and if you try to stop these you will need years, and into the bargain you will not be sure of the result; instead of that you gather together all your consciousness and remain as quiet and peaceful as possible, you detach yourself from external things as though they do not interest you at all, and all of a sudden, you brighten the flame of aspiration and throw into it everything that comes to you so that the flame may rise higher and higher, higher and higher; you identify yourself with it and you go up to the extreme point of your consciousness and aspiration, thinking of nothing else — simply, an aspiration which mounts, mounts, mounts, without thinking a minute of the result, of what may happen and specially of what may not, and above all without desiring that something may come — simply, the joy of an aspiration which mounts and mounts and mounts, intensifying itself more and more in a constant concentration. And there I may assure you that what happens is the best that can happen. That is, it is the maximum of your possibilities which is realised when you do this. These possibilities may be very different according to individuals. But then all these worries about trying to be silent, going behind appearances, calling a force which answers, waiting for an answer to your questions, all that vanishes like an unreal vapour. And if you succeed in living consciously in this flame, in this column of mounting aspiration, you will see that even if you do not have an immediate result, after a time something will happen.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Exercises for Growth and Mastery, Dynamic Meditation, pp. 155-156

Escaping the Little Ego-Consciousness Through Concentration on Infinite Space and Eternal Time

We are usually so busy focusing on the day to day lives we are living that we rarely take the time to reflect on the larger significance of the universal manifestation and what role we, as individuals play in this development. The concept of maya, the cosmic illusion, is based on our entanglement in this day to day activity without recognising the larger reality. We become attached, we are passionate about the small things that occupy us, and fail to see the ‘big picture’ of the universe. When we do take the opportunity to reflect on these things, we begin to appreciate how small and actually infinitesimal we are in the larger scope, and through this process, we widen the consciousness and loosen the attachments.

The Mother notes: “There are lots of intellectual ways of widening the consciousness. These I have explained fully in my book. But in any case, when you are bored by something, when something is painful to you or very unpleasant, if you begin to think of the eternity of time and the immensity of space, if you think of all that has gone before and all that will come afterwards, and that this second in eternity is truly just a passing breath, and that it seems so utterly ridiculous to be upset by something which in the eternity of time is… one doesn’t even have the time to become aware of it, it has no place, no importance, because, what indeed is a second in eternity? If one can manage to realise that, to… how to put it?… visualise, picture the little person one is, in the little earth where one is, and the tiny second of consciousness which for the moment is hurting you or is unpleasant for you, just this — which in itself is only a second in your existence, and that you yourself have been many things before and will be many more things afterwards, that what affects you now you will have probably completely forgotten in ten years, or if you remember it you will say, ‘How did I happen to attach any importance to that?’ … if you can realise that first and then realise your little person which is a second in eternity, not even a second, you know, imperceptible, a fragment of a second in eternity, that the whole world has unrolled before this and will unroll yet, indefinitely — before, behind — and that… well, then suddenly you sense the utter ridiculousness of the importance you attach to what happened to you…. Truly you feel… to what an extent it is absurd to attach any importance to one’s life, to oneself, and to what happens to you. And in the space of three minutes, if you do this properly, all unpleasantness is swept away. Even a very deep pain can be swept away. Simply a concentration like this, and to place oneself in infinity and eternity. Everything goes away. One comes out of it cleansed. One can get rid of all attachments and even, I say, of the deepest sorrows — of everything, in this way — if one knows how to do it in the right way. It immediately takes you out of your little ego.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Exercises for Growth and Mastery, Widening the Consciousness, pp. 150-155

Options and Risks in Widening the Consciousness Using Various Methods

There are numerous ways to widen one’s consciousness to begin to incorporate the viewpoint and direction of others. Some of these methods are easier than others, in that they utilize a mood or feeling that is evoked from a natural environment, such as the starry sky, the ocean, a wide view from a mountaintop, etc. These methods also have the advantage of being safer in various ways as they do not try to directly enter and assimilate the energies or viewpoints of other individuals, who in some cases may be hostile to the thoughts and emotional process of the seeker.

Similarly, when one enters the vital plane through what may be called an out of body, or astral plane experience, caution must be exercised as the protection afforded by the physical body and the individuality is gone, and forces with dramatically different agendas can exercise power on one’s consciousness there. Entering directly into an individual’s consciousness has similarities to this type of event.

That is not to say that there are not times and places where it becomes useful, with due caution, to widen oneself to incorporate the understanding and view of another party. A seeker with a strong aspiration and sense of clear will to progress may be able to withstand the pressures involved in such an action, and some actually seem to be suited for this as part of the larger direction of the manifestation to bring about a higher synthesis and harmony of opposing viewpoints.

The Mother observes: “There is a way also by trying to identify yourself with all things upon earth. For example, when you have a small narrow vision of something and are hurt by others’ vision and point of view, you must begin by shifting your consciousness, try to put it in others, and try gradually to identify yourself with all the different ways of thinking of all others. This is a little more — how shall I put it?… dangerous. Because to identify oneself with the thought and will of others means to identify oneself with a heap of stupidities (Mother laughs) and bad wills, and this may bring consequences which are not very good. But still, some people do this more easily. For instance, when they are in disagreement with someone, in order to widen their consciousness they try to put themselves in the place of the other and see the thing not from their own point of view but from the point of view of the other. This widens the consciousness, though not as much as by the first ways I spoke about, which are quite innocent. They don’t do you any harm, they do you much good. They make you very peaceful.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Exercises for Growth and Mastery, Widening the Consciousness, pp. 150-155

Experiencing the Wideness of the Consciousness

The Vedic Rishis sought the Truth, the Right, the Vast. (satyam, rtam, brihat). They understood that the awareness limited to the ego-personality, the individual body-life-mind complex, was incomplete and could not comprehend the truth or meaning of existence. They sought to identify with the larger reality that manifested our existence as part of its own, not simply as separate beings. What many do not recognise is that this is not some concept of pure philosophy, but an actual experience of consciousness. Occasionally, under a variety of circumstances, individuals actually shift out of their focus on their personal individuality and experience something of a wider consciousness. Sometimes in the case of high fever, the individual can experience a loosening of the body to the body-awareness and feels a wider consciousness; yet, this is not the state envisioned by the Rishis. This widening, while nevertheless exceeding the immediate boundary of the body consciousness, remains limited and appears to be more of an awareness of the energy-body around the physical body.

A truer experience of wideness tends to occur in various places that are naturally conducive, such as along the ocean, or under a star-filled sky, or looking across a plain from a large hill or mountain. We see here the principle of samyama, the process of self-identification, as the vision and mood focuses on the wide horizon or endless vast of space.

The Mother writes: “… there are many ways of doing this [making the consciousness vast]. … The easiest way is to identify yourself with something vast. For instance, when you feel that you are shut up in a completely narrow and limited thought, will, consciousness, when you feel as though you were in a shell, then if you begin thinking about something very vast, as for example, the immensity of the waters of an ocean, and if really you can think of this ocean, and if far, far, far, far, in all directions, like this (Mother stretches out her arms), how, compared with you, it is so far, so far that you cannot see the other shore, you cannot reach its end anywhere, neither behind or in front nor to the right or left… it is wide, wide, wide, wide… you think of this and then you feel that you are floating on this sea, like that, and that there are no limits…. This is very easy. Then you can widen your consciousness a little.”

“Other people, for example, begin looking at the sky; and then they imagine all those spaces between all those stars, and all… that kind of infinity of spaces in which the earth is a tiny point, and you too are just a very tiny point, smaller than an ant, on the earth. And so you look at the sky and feel that you are floating in these infinite spaces between the planets, and that you are growing vaster and vaster to go farther and farther. Some people succeed with this.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Exercises for Growth and Mastery, Widening the Consciousness, pp. 150-155

Gaining Mental Understanding Through Quieting and Widening the Mental Consciousness

Many people, over the years, have told me that reading Sri Aurobindo’s writings is difficult due to the complexity and wideness of the concepts he presents. I have heard, or experienced, similar issues reading Kant, Leibnitz, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Joyce and others. For those engaged in technical fields involving mathematics, physics, astronomy, some of the writing, even with their background in the field, can be daunting, and with advances in quantum mechanics, which seems to be based on a totally different structure of logic than what we have normally held in our general human understanding, we find much that is seemingly incomprehensible.

The Mother provides a methodology for gaining an understanding of what is otherwise obscure or confusing on first read. What is required is a sense of receptivity and a willingness to not try to struggle with the understanding, but to let it percolate and build neural pathways of understanding over time. As the understanding matures within us, we find that things we could not understand previously are suddenly quite clear. This also provides a methodology for the learning we experience as children and into adulthood. Children are receptive generally and their minds mature as they consider new information and new thoughts. We do not expect a young child to fully appreciate or understand all the complexity of any field of study or endeavour, but recognise that in the fullness of time, they will gain the power of comprehension needed if they remain receptive, patient and persistent in their efforts.

The Mother notes: “In thought also. For instance, you are reading something and come across a thought you don’t understand — it is beyond you, you understand nothing and so in your head it lies like a brick, and if you try to understand, it becomes more and more like a brick, a stiffening, and if you persist it gives you a headache. There is but one thing to do: not to struggle with the words, remain just like this (gesture: stretched out, immobile), create a relaxation, simply widen, widen. And don’t try to understand, above all, don’t try to understand — let it enter like that, quite gently, and relax, relax, and in this relaxing your headache goes away. You no longer think of anything, you wait for a few days and after some days you see from inside: ‘Oh! how clear it is! I understand what I had not understood.’ It is as easy as that. When you read a book which is beyond you, when you come across sentences which you cannot understand — one feels that there is no correspondence in the head — well, you must do this; one reads the thing once, twice, thrice, then remains calm and makes the mind silent. A fortnight later, one takes up the same passage again and it is clear as daylight. Everything has been organised in the head, the elements of the brain which were wanted for the understanding have been formed, everything has been done gradually and one understands.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Exercises for Growth and Mastery, Widening the Consciousness, pp. 150-155

Widening the Consciousness: Practical Exercises and Benefits

If we observe what happens to our inner psychology when we experience physical pain, we will see that we mostly tighten ourselves up, tensing the body, focusing intently on the experience of the bodily pain. By doing so, we actually intensify the pain experience through this focus and it takes over our consciousness.

A similar process occurs when we are faced with vital pressures that seem to threaten our vital integrity or well-being: we become defensive and create walls to protect ourselves. The mind also has a similar habit and tends to reject or find ways to minimize, ridicule or otherwise diminish the impact of ideas that run contrary to our own cherished ways of seeing and thinking.

The Mother’s approach is opposite to what is the normal instinctive way we respond. When one consciously works to widen, relax and open up the being, one comes into contact with a wider existence that spreads and releases the tension and the pain, and opens to forces of healing and strength that are available at those greater levels.

Spiritual seekers, such as the Rishis of the Rig Vedic times, speak of the “vast” consciousness, and it is the intent of these exercises to come into contact with and be permeated by that vast existence.

The Mother observes: “The method of relaxing the contraction may be different in the mind, the vital or the body, but logically it is the same thing. Once you have relaxed the tension, you see first if the disagreeable effect ceases, … but if the pain continues… you must, after having relaxed this contraction, begin trying to widen yourself — you feel you are widening yourself. There are many methods. Some find it very useful to imagine they are floating on water with a plank under their back. Then they widen themselves, widen, until they become the vast liquid mass. Others make an effort to identify themselves with the sky and the stars, so they widen, widen themselves, identifying themselves more and more with the sky. Others again don’t need these pictures; they can become conscious of their consciousness, enlarge their consciousness more and more until it becomes unlimited. One can enlarge it till it becomes vast as the earth and even the universe. When one does that one becomes really receptive. As I have said, it is a question of training. In any case, from an immediate point of view, … the method is just the same, you must act upon the contraction. One can act through thought, by calling the peace, tranquility (the feeling of peace takes away much of the difficulty) like this: ‘Peace, peace, peace… tranquility… calm.’ Many discomforts, even physical, like all these contractions of the solar plexus, which are so unpleasant and give you at times nausea, the sensation of being suffocated, of not being able to breathe again, can disappear thus. It is the nervous centre which is affected, it gets affected very easily. As soon as there is something which affects the solar plexus, you must say, ‘Calm… calm… calm’, become more and more calm until the tension is destroyed.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Exercises for Growth and Mastery, Widening the Consciousness, pp. 150-155