The Integral Yoga depends for its fulfilment upon the workings of the Mother’s Force aided by the sadhaka’s openness, receptivity, aspiration, faith, sincerity, quietude and surrender. Today we take up one of these requirements, which is termed as receptivity.
Words of the Mother
But for the least of these things to be possible, there must first be a basis of perfect balance, the balance given by a total absence of egoism, a perfect surrender to the Supreme, the true purity: identification with the Supreme. Without this basis of perfect balance, the supramental power is dangerous, and one must on no account seek it or want to pull it down, for even in an infinitesimal quantity it is so powerful and so formidable that it can unbalance the entire system.
Since I am speaking to you about it, I would like to recommend something to you. In your desire for progress and your aspiration for realisation, take great care not to attempt to pull the forces towards you. Give yourself, open yourself with as much disinterestedness as you can attain through a constant self-forgetfulness, increase your receptivity to the utmost, but never try to pull the Force towards you, for wanting to pull is already a dangerous egoism. You may aspire, you may open yourself, you may give yourself, but never seek to take. When things go wrong, people blame the Force, but it is not the Force that is responsible: it is ambition, egoism, ignorance and the weakness of the vessel. Give yourself generously and with a perfect disinterestedness and from the deeper point of view nothing bad will ever happen to you. Try to take and you will be on the brink of the abyss.
* * *
It is likely that the greatest resistance will be in the most conscious beings due to a lack of mental receptivity, due to the mind itself which wants things to continue (as Sri Aurobindo has written) according to its own mode of ignorance. So-called inert matter is much more easily responsive, much more – it does not resist. And I am convinced that among plants, for example, or among animals, the response will be much quicker than among men. It will be more difficult to act upon a very organized mind; beings who live in an entirely crystallized, organized mental consciousness are as hard as stone! It resists. According to my experience, what is unconscious will certainly follow more easily. It was a delight to see the water from the tap, the mouthwash in the bottle, the glass, the sponge – it all had such an air of joy and consent! There is much less ego, you see, it is not a conscious ego.
The ego becomes more and more conscious and resistant as the being develops. Very primitive, very simple beings, little children will respond first, because they don’t have an organized ego. But these big people! People who have worked on themselves, who have mastered themselves, who are organized, who have an ego made of steel, it will be difficult for them.
Unless they go beyond all this and have enough spiritual knowledge to be able to make the ego surrender … in which case the realization will naturally be much greater – it will be more difficult to accomplish, but the result will be far more complete.
* * *
Human beings don’t know how to keep energy. When something happens – an accident or an illness, for example – and they ask for help, a double or a triple dose of energy is sent. If they happen to be receptive, they receive it. This energy is given for two reasons: to restore order out of the disorder caused by the accident or illness, and to impart a transformative force to repair or change the source of the illness or accident.
But instead of using the energy in this way, they immediately throw it out. They start stirring about, reacting, working, speaking … They feel full of energy and they throw it all out! They can’t keep anything. So naturally, since the energy was not sent to be wasted like that but for an inner use, they feel absolutely flat, run down. And it is universal. They don’t know, they do not know how to make this movement – to turn within, to use the energy (not to keep it, it doesn’t keep), to use it to repair the damage done to the body and to go deeply within to find the reason for this accident or illness, and there to change it by an aspiration, an inner transformation. Instead of that, right away they start speaking, stirring about, reacting, doing this or that!
In fact, the immense majority of human beings feel they are living only when they waste their energy. Otherwise, it does not seem to them to be life.
Not to waste energy means to utilize it towards the ends for which it was given. If energy is given for the transformation, for the sublimation of the being, it must be used for that; if energy is given to restore something that has been disrupted in the body, it must be used for that.
Naturally, if a special work is given to someone along with the energy to do this work, it’s very good as long as it is being used towards the end for which it was given.
But as soon as a man feels energetic, he immediately rushes into action. Or else, those who don’t have the sense of doing something useful start gossiping. And still worse, those who have no control over themselves become intolerant and start arguing! If someone contradicts their will, they feel full of energy and they mistake that for a ‘godlike wrath’!
July 21, 1958
* * *
But as it’s all-powerful, a certain receptivity must be prepared on earth so its effects are not devastating. Sri Aurobindo has explained it in one of his letters. Someone asked him, ‘Why doesn’t this Love come now?’, and he replied something like this: If divine Love in its essence were to manifest on earth, it would be like an explosion; for the earth is not supple enough or receptive enough to widen to the measure of this Love. The earth must not only open itself but become wide and supple. Matter – not just physical Matter, but the substance of the physical consciousness as well – is still much too rigid.
* * *
There is a big difference between a dead, lackluster, unresponsive silence and the receptive silence of a quieted mind. It makes a big difference.
* * *
I read (yesterday or the day before) a sermon delivered in the U.S.A. by an American (who is a rabbi, a pastor and even a Catholic priest all at the same time!). He heads a group, a group for the “unity of religions.” A fairly young man, and a preacher. He gives a sermon every week, I think. He came here with some other Americans, stayed for two days and went back….
That man says that the minute he entered this place, he felt a peace, a calm, a stability he had never felt ANYWHERE else in his life. He met a man (he doesn’t say who, he doesn’t name him and I couldn’t find out), who he says was such a “monument of divine peace and quietude that I only wished to sit silently at his side.”… Who it is, I don’t know (there’s only Nolini who might, possibly, give that impression). He attended the meditation – he says he had never felt anything so wonderful anywhere. And he left with the feeling this was a “unique” place in the world from the point of view of the realization of divine Peace. I read that almost with surprise. And he’s a man who, intellectually, is unable to understand or follow Sri Aurobindo (the horizon is quite narrow, he hasn’t got beyond the “unity of religions,” that’s the utmost he can conceive of). Well, in spite of that … Those who already know all of Sri Aurobindo, who come here thinking they will see and who feel that Peace, I can understand. But that’s not the case: he was enthralled at once!
It’s the same with people who get cured. That I know, to some extent: the Power acts so forcefully that it is almost miraculous – at a distance. The Power … I am very conscious of the Power. But, I must say, I find it doesn’t act here so well as it does far away. On government or national matters, on the terrestrial atmosphere, on great movements, also as inspirations on the level of thought (in certain people, to realize certain things), the Power is very clear. Also to save people or cure them – it acts very strongly. But much more at a distance than here!
(Although the receptivity has increased since I withdrew because, necessarily, it gave people the urge to find inside something they no longer had outside.) But here, the response is very erratic. And to distinguish between the proportion that comes from faith, sincerity, simplicity, and what comes from the Power …
Three or four days ago, a very nice man, whom I like a lot, who has been very useful, fell ill. (He has in fact been ill for a long time, and he is struggling; for all sorts of reasons of family, milieu, activities and so on, he isn’t taken care of the way he should be, he doesn’t take care of his body the way he should.) He had a first attack and I “saw” him afterwards. But I saw him full of life: his body was full of life and of will to live. So I said, “No need to worry.” Then after some time, maybe not even a month, another attack, caused not by the same thing but by its consequences. I receive a letter in which I am informed that he has been taken to the hospital. I was surprised, I said, “But no! He has in himself the will to live, so why? Why has this happened?” The moment I was informed and made the contact, he recovered … with fantastic speed! Almost in a few hours. He had been rushed to the hospital, they thought it was most serious, and two days later he was back home. The hospital doctor said, “Why, he has received a new life!” But that’s not correct: I had put him back in contact with his body’s will, which, for some reason or other, he had forgotten. Things like that, yes, they’re very clear, they take place very consciously … but anyway, nothing worth talking about!
But this man’s faith is extraordinary, such faith! … The first word he uttered when he regained consciousness: “Has Mother permitted my being taken to the hospital?” You understand. So I give him the full credit for his recovery. With people like that, yes, you can do something, but that’s because they have faith!
* * *
The less the consciousness is turned to the outside, the less it perceives obstacles, resistances – all that appears more and more unreal, transient, extremely relative.
In the necessary and unavoidable everyday contact with people, there is a growing perception that whatever the circumstance (which in itself is so simple, simpler than a child, you know – a perfect simplicity), as soon as it comes into contact with the terrestrial human atmosphere, it becomes ever so complicated! And quite unnecessarily. It seems as if the normal human occupation is to complicate all that could be extremely simple. I see this day after day, for all the small events of every day, of each and every minute. With certain consciousnesses – as soon as it touches certain consciousnesses – it is twisted, sometimes into terrible knots. Then it takes a fantastic labor to undo it – the whole thing PERFECTLY unnecessary!
These last few days, in fact, I have been observing it all and wondering, “Why are things this way? …” It must have been the means – probably the most effective means, I don’t know – to emerge from inertia, from tamas. If everything worked in that Simplicity, that perfect Quietness, well, human consciousness would be in such a state that it would have simply fallen asleep. It would have reached the state … not even of an animal, perhaps of a slumbering plant!
That must be the reason.
But when you see it from the other side, it’s so absurd – fantastically absurd! To such a point that the meaning of every single word you utter is immediately twisted – automatically, you can’t say why. With something clear and obvious, which should have gone smoothly, without hurdles, you are immediately caught in a swirl of complications.
All, all, all activities, all of life is like that.
And then there are little nuances, little differences, which naturally assume considerable proportions in those distorted consciousnesses: they say, “Oh, now everything is fine,” and then, “Oh, now everything is going wrong,” but that’s not true! It’s always the SAME thing, only with little nuances.
But the true everything is fine, THE TRUE THING as it is, is so simple! So simple, so quiet, so immediate, so direct that it’s almost unthinkable for human thought, much less for human sensation. Voilà.
* * *
It’s clear that wherever there is a receptivity, the Force acts, there’s no doubt.
* * *
That’s the method exactly: to broaden your receptivity indefinitely and depend on the forces that circulate constantly in the world, so that only the most physical materiality is dependent on food and sleep. Because even what you eat feeds you differently according to your receptivity, your inner attitude; there is a capacity for extracting the Force from things, which can be gained from a broadening of the receptivity.
He CAN do that, he can.
You understand, to shrink from giving narrows you – you should give generously and receive generously.
* * *
Isn’t the true attitude at present to try and be as transparent as possible?
Above all, one should be trusting.
The big difficulty, in Matter, is that the material consciousness, that is to say, the mind in Matter, was formed under the pressure of difficulties – difficulties, obstacles, suffering, struggle. It was, so to speak, “worked out” by those things, and that gave it an imprint almost of pessimism and defeatism, which is certainly the greatest obstacle.
This is the thing I am conscious of in my own work.
The most material consciousness, the most material mind, is in the habit of having to be whipped into acting, into making effort and moving forward, otherwise it’s tames. So then, if it imagines, it always imagines the difficulty – always the obstacle, always the opposition, always the difficulty … and that slows down the movement terribly. So it needs very concrete, very tangible and VERY REPEATED experiences to be convinced that behind all its difficulties, there is a Grace; behind all its failures, there is the Victory; behind all its pain and suffering and contradictions, there is Ananda. Of all the efforts, this is the one that has to be repeated most often: you are constantly forced to stop, put an end to, drive away, convert a pessimism, a doubt or a totally defeatist imagination.
I am speaking exclusively of the material consciousness.
* * *
“A few definitions.”
The first one was about someone going away who wanted to take something [blessed by Mother] for his family. I told him, “Oh, they aren’t receptive.” So he asked, “What does being receptive mean?” (He didn’t ask me, but when he left the room he was scratching his head and he asked his friend, “What does Mother mean? What does being receptive mean?”) I answered in English and it took many, many forms, and today, it’s one of the things that came in that “vein.” And what’s peculiar in this sort of experience is that when it comes, the words take on a very precise meaning; I am not at all sure if it’s their usual meaning, but they have the vibration of their meaning, a sort of crystalline little vibration. And it comes without alteration. I put:
“To be receptive is to feel the urge to give and the joy of giving to the Divine’s Work all one has all one is all one does.”
July 14, 1965
* * *
And I have an impression, a very strong impression (I don’t have any proof yet) that its contagion is absolute, you understand. So having to explain, having to struggle, having to … oof! it’s all over – it’s contagious.
Bringing that and keeping it. Holding it, learning to hold it. It’s fantastic! And then it becomes just a question of receptivity, that’s all. And the receptivity must be in proportion to the goodwill (that’s what the old experience is saying for the moment, I have no proof), the receptivity must be in proportion to the goodwill or to the aspiration (but the two are very similar), to this something that wants something else. People who are very content, very satisfied and … (this is an interesting illustration) and who have realized a harmony in life (some people have realized a harmony in this life: everything appears so harmonious, so comfortable, they succeed in everything they do, everything that happens to them is …), I think those still have a long way to go before they can receive.
That [vibration] has nothing, but nothing to do with that whole path, that long, long, long path one has walked to prepare oneself, and with such blows, oh! … THAT (gesture like a burst of light), and all the rest no longer matters.
But it isn’t mental. For the time being, it has nothing to do with thought.
* * *
It’s very simple: when you say to people, “Be humble,” they immediately think of “being humble towards others,” and that humility is bad. True humility is humility towards the Divine, that is, the precise, exact, LIVING sense that you are nothing, can do nothing, understand nothing without the Divine, that even if you are an exceptionally intelligent and capable being, that is NOTHING in comparison with the divine Consciousness – and one must keep that constantly, because then one constantly has the true attitude of receptivity. A humble receptivity that sets no personal pretension against the Divine.
* * *
All personal preferences and desires must disappear….
It’s very difficult to say that one no longer has any preferences and desires….
Oh!… But that’s progressive, you see; you can go on working at it all the time, all the time, all the time…. It’s my constant occupation: eliminating all preferences. But the positive means is (we always come back to the same thing): “What You want, what You want…. What You want, what You want….” And when you’re completely still and free from any trepidation (what I call “passive receptivity,” that is, there isn’t any activity, and yet: what You want, what You want …), then – then only – That works. And you really have the feeling (I don’t know how to say it), really that you’re used only as a channel so the Thing – the Force or the Action – can go exactly where it is supposed to go. That’s what our consciousness is used for (gesture of a pipe).
* * *
“We are at a moment of transition in the history of the earth. It is a moment only in terms of the eternity of time. But compared to human life this moment is long. Matter is in the process of changing to prepare for a new manifestation; but the human body is not sufficiently plastic and offers resistance. This is why the number of incomprehensible disorders and diseases is increasing and becoming a problem for medical science.
The remedy lies in union with the divine forces which are at work and in a confident and quiet receptivity that facilitates the process.”