If we let energy go out in work, are we not open to any forces that can take hold of our mind?
Certainly not — if the consciousness remains within, there is no harm done by the energy being put out. The energy is meant to go out in work — even when there is right consciousness energy goes out. It is the consciousness that ought not to go out.
During work, how is the consciousness to be kept within when the energy goes out? Are consciousness and energy really the same thing?
If consciousness and energy are the same thing, there would be no use in having two different words for them. In that case instead of saying “I am conscious of my defects” one can say “I am energetic of my defects.” If a man is running fast, you can say of him “He is running with great energy.” Do you think it would mean the same if you said “He is running with great consciousness”? Consciousness is that which is aware of things — energy is a force put in action which does things. Consciousness may have energy and keep it in or put it out, but that does not mean that it has to go out when the energy goes out and that it cannot stand back and observe the energy in action. You have plenty of inertia in you but that does not mean that you and inertia are the same and when inertia rises and swamps you it is you who rise and swamp yourself.
Could you not kindly make the above point of consciousness and energy a little more clear?
How do you expect it to be made clearer to you except by self-observation and experience?
I requested more elaboration, because I want to use the knowledge for a practical use. The question is how to separate the consciousness from the energy when it is put out in action; can that not be done by the mind or the inner being? But the mind and the inner being are not consciousness.
Certainly the mind and the inner being are consciousness. For human beings who have not got deeper into themselves mind and consciousness are synonymous. Only when one becomes more aware of oneself by a growing consciousness, then one can see different degrees, kinds, powers of consciousness, mental, vital, physical, psychic, spiritual. The Divine has been described as Being-Consciousness-Ananda, even as a Consciousness (Chaitanya), as putting out a force or energy, Shakti that creates worlds. The mind is a modified consciousness that puts forth a mental energy. But the Divine can stand back from its Energy and observe it at its work, it can be the Witness Purusha watching the works of Prakriti. Even the mind can do that — a man can stand back in his mind consciousness and watch the mental energy doing things, thinking, planning, etc.; all introspection is based upon the fact that one can so divide oneself into a consciousness that observes and an energy that acts. These are quite elementary things supposed to be known to everybody. Anybody can do that merely by a little practice; anybody who observes his own thoughts, feelings, actions, has begun doing it already. In Yoga we make the division complete, that is all.
If the consciousness is by its nature detached from the mind and life, how is it that ordinarily it always goes out with the energy and loses its separateness?
It is not by its nature detached from the mental and other activities. It can be detached, it can be involved. In the human consciousness it is as a rule always involved — but it has developed the power of detaching itself — a thing which the lower creation seems unable to do. As the consciousness develops, this power of detachment also develops.
Not only so, the consciousness always feels a tendency towards identification or going out with the energy!
That is the normal movement of the Ignorance.
When the consciousness is separated from the vital and physical, it is not easy to separate it from the mind. Even to make it realise that it is not the mind but something deeper and higher takes years of sadhana.
It is because man is a mental being and therefore closely identified with his mind.
When we try to separate ourselves from the mental activities we can’t understand them properly.
A man with a very developed introspective mind often identifies himself with the witness part of his mind and observes his own thoughts and studies their nature. That is a beginning which makes it easy for the full detachment to come. For others it is less easy, but it can be done by all.
Is this power of detachment developed in the course of evolution in a universal way? This power might have been developed, but the animal nature in man is still much undeveloped.
In what other course than that of evolution could it have been developed? And what is meant by a universal way? It is in man that it is developed and it is not there in all men. What is an undeveloped animal nature in man? The animal nature is developed in the animal; in man it has to be humanised. The man who has learned to detach his mind from its activities can be merely a thinker observing his thoughts or creative mental activities and trying to perfect them or he may observe his vital nature also and try to perfect that by making it more mental, human and controlled by the thought and will. Obviously he can do that much better if he is detached and introspective than if he isn’t — in fact the non-introspective man can only control his nature according to rules given him (morality etc.), he can’t truly perfect it.