Contacting and Connecting With the Universal Vital Force, Part I

Children naturally have direct contact with the universal vital energy but this tends to fade into the background and be ‘lost’ as the mind ‘learns’ the ‘laws of nature’ which do not recognise the energy or its relationship to us. This is a circumstance of the artificially limiting action of the mind hindering the access to the larger reality of existence of which we are a part, and of which we partake at all times.

The question then is more ‘how do we unlearn’ what our minds ‘know’? The heavy programming that takes place to teach children logical thinking, the processes of the mind in relation to the world, and the apparent laws under which things operate must be modified, or removed. Various practices can aid in this process, including receptivity to Nature, the opening to the psychic being, and a sense of Oneness with the larger creation.

The Mother notes: “First of all, you must know that it [universal vital force] exists and that one can enter into contact with it. Secondly, you must try to make this contact, to feel it circulating everywhere, through everything, in all persons and all circumstances; to have this experience, for example, when you are in the countryside among trees, to see it circulating in the whole of Nature, in trees and things, and then commune with it, feel yourself close to it, and each time you want to deal with it, recall that impression you had and try to enter into contact.”

“Some people discover that with certain movements, certain gestures, certain activities, they enter into contact more closely. I knew people who gesticulated while walking … this truly gave them the impression that they were in contact — certain gestures they made while walking … But children do this spontaneously: when they give themselves completely in their games, running, playing, jumping, shouting; when they spend all their energies like that, they give themselves entirely, and in the joy of playing and moving and running they put themselves in contact with this universal vital force; they don’t know it, but they spend their vital force in a contact with the universal vital force and that is why they can run without really feeling very tired, except after a very long time. That is, they spend so much that if they were not in contact with the universal force, they would be absolutely exhausted, immediately. And that is why, besides, they grow up; it is also because they receive more than they spend; they know how to receive more than they spend. And this does not correspond to any knowledge. It is a natural, spontaneous movement. It is the movement… a movement of joy in what they are doing — of joyful expenditure. One can do many things with that.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, General Methods and Principles, Recuperating One’s Energies, pp. 17-22


Recuperating Energy Through Contact with Nature

Much of modern-day life is centered around urban living. Most urban dwellers have little, if any, exposure to Nature on a consistent basis. They also tend to feel stressed, drained and exhausted by the lives they lead. When they head out to a natural area, they frequently feel a release of stress and an influx of new, invigorating, healing energy within a sense of peace and well-being. This experience points us toward the innate ability to gather energy from direct contact with Nature, particularly when our higher faculties, the mental and emotional aspects of our being, are open and receptive.

We tend to believe that energy comes from food. At some point we begin to recognise that there are various types of energy, corresponding to the different parts of our being, and that we actually have the capacity to receive and assimilate energy at each of these levels.

The Mother observes: “But when one has this capacity in his own consciousness — for example, you go for a walk and come to a place which is somewhat vast, like the seashore or like a great plain or the summit of a mountain, a place where the horizon is fairly vast, then if you have this kind of physical instinct which suddenly makes you as vast as the horizon, you have a sense of infinity, immensity; and the vaster you become, the quieter and more peaceful you become. It is enough for you to have a contact with Nature like that.”

“There are many other means, but this one is very spontaneous. There is also … when you see something very beautiful you can have the same thing: a kind of inner joy and an opening to the forces, and so this widens you and fills you at the same time. There are many means but usually one does not use them. Naturally, if you enter into contemplation and aspire for a higher life and call down the forces from above, this recuperates your energies more than anything else. But there are numerous methods.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, General Methods and Principles, Recuperating One’s Energies, pp. 17-22

Tapping Into the Universal Forces Rather than Interchange with Other People

We are very much creatures of habit, and thus, when it comes to our intake of energy, we tend to habitually turn to a preferred method of reception. For most people, the primary source is food. Most people engage in vital interchange with others, and there is a subtle interaction that can both give and take energy during this interchange. The more set we are in our habits, the less we explore opportunities for new avenues or directions from which to interact with the universal forces and receive them into our being. Much of the energy we receive from others occurs without our conscious awareness, although we may remark afterwards about how we feel “energized” or “drained” after spending time with someone, or how a particular meeting or event led to a feeling of exhilaration or exhaustion.

The Mother writes: “But those who draw back upon themselves, who turn and double up on themselves, cannot do this. One must live all the time in a very vast and very expansive consciousness (I don’t know if you understand the word, it means something which extends very homogeneously and quietly, as when the tide is at its height and the water spreads like that, quietly — that’s the impression). The vital must be like that — then one is open to the universal forces. But if, for example, one has the very bad habit of exchanging vital forces with one’s fellowmen, then one loses the capacity altogether. So unless one is in relation with someone, one receives nothing at all. But naturally if you receive forces through others, you receive at the same time all the difficulties of the other person, perhaps sometimes his qualities also, but these are less contagious. This indeed is something that shuts you up most.”

“Some people … unless they have more or less social relations with others, relations of friendship, conversing … and then it goes still farther … they don’t receive any forces; and this is how they receive them. But this always makes a soup. The forces one receives are already half digested, in any case they don’t have their primal purity, and this affects your own capacity.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, General Methods and Principles, Recuperating One’s Energies, pp. 17-22

Energies Sources: Energies of the Physical Body and the Universal Vital Energies

There are a number of different ways that physically alive beings draw and obtain energy. Human beings tend to rely heavily on eating food, and converting the food into other forms of energy to carry out work in the body. Plants, on the other hand, rely primarily on direct conversion of sunlight into physical energy to fuel the creation of their bodies and the operation of their energetic action. We can understand that there are other and higher forms of energetic reception and action which can provide ‘fuel’ for beings of various sorts. For example, certain beings on the vital plane are said to feed off of the emotional energy that human beings produce, and thus they try to provoke reactions of fear, lust, hatred, etc. to feed their ‘hunger’. Certain individuals, indeed, have been able to directly and consciously receive subtler energies than are provided by the physical food.

People experience constantly the enlivening power of uplifting ideas or ideals, and many people are energized in the presence of individuals who embody a powerful spiritual force and radiate an aura of light-filled energy. We tend to downplay the reality and importance of these subtle energies due to the limitations of our habits of thought. If we look at even simple evidence such as the increase in vital force that can occur through fasting, it becomes possible to break out of this limiting framework and recognize that there are multiple sources of energy upon which we can draw in our lives, and that energy derived from food is one, but not the only, such source.

The Mother notes: “Some people don’t know how to receive the forces at all. These live on the energies concentrated in the body — for there is some concentrated energy in all the cells of the body. They live upon that, but after some time, they are drained out completely if they don’t know how to recuperate; when they have spent all the energies which were concentrated inside them either they fall ill or they never recuperate them. So this cannot last very long; it lasts the average lifetime of human beings, and yet, at the end of a certain number of years they are no longer able to make the same effort or produce as much, or above all to make any progress.”

“But those who know instinctively or who have learnt to receive and accumulate the universal vital forces, these can last almost indefinitely. The wear and tear is very little, especially if they know how to do it and do it with knowledge and method: then here it can reach a certain degree of perfection. … When one knows, sometimes just two or three minutes are sufficient to recuperate the energies spent over a long period. Only, one must know how to do it.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, General Methods and Principles, Recuperating One’s Energies, pp. 17-22

Understanding, Utilizing and Balancing One’s Vital Energy Reserves

When we consider the way we take in and expend energy in our lives, we start by looking at food as the source of energy. Food represents the conversion of solar energy into biological energy through the medium of photosynthesis and (for those who eat animal foods), the conversion of the plant material into animal flesh through eating by the animal. The ultimate source of energy from food is therefore the sun. Yet as we dive into a deeper understanding of the universe within which we live, we understand that there are other forms of energy at work in the world, including cosmic radiation, decay of material elements through radioactivity, tidal motions, electrical energy in the form of static electricity and powerful electrical bolts of lightning, all working on the physical plane, but also we find that there are vital and emotional energies that we can experience as a surge of vigor (or in the opposite case, a draining of our energy). Even on the mental level, we receive packets of information in an energetic medium. The very cells of our body contain miniature energy-producing elements that convert the physical substance of food, broken down into basic components, into electrical energy to power all our physical, vital and mental functions.

There are various experiences in our lives that show us that not all of our life-energy results from food. Some of the other forms of energy actually impact our vitality and, for those who gain an understanding and apply it to energy, there are ways to circumvent food as the primary energy source. While this may impact the physical structure, the energetic vital force and the mental power may actually be enhanced as we rely more on the subtler energetic sources.

Besides the intake of energy, it is important to look at the corresponding expenditure of energy. There must be a balance between the two or breakdowns may result. It is also essential to avoid strong energy-draining forces, including interactions with people who leave one feeling empty and drained!

The Mother observes: “It [reserve of energy] depends on the capacity to receive the universal vital force; because in fact, through food also it is these vital forces one receives but one receives them from below. But in order to have reserves you must know how to receive the universal vital forces constantly and to have a kind of balance in the being which prevents you from spending more than you have.”

“A proportion has to be kept between the receptivity and the expenditure. It is a kind of harmony in the being which must be established. Only, some people have an almost instinctive power of attracting towards them the vital forces or absorbing them — the universal vital forces, I mean — and so they make up their expense as they go along spending. These people can produce much more than others. Some of them, in certain conditions like sleep or a kind of repose or relaxation, can accumulate forces and later they exhaust them, so to say, in their activities and they must yet once again charge the battery afterwards — this is already a much less favourable condition.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, General Methods and Principles, Recuperating One’s Energies, pp. 17-22