© Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust

Becoming an individualized being

22 September 1954

... you see, and a certain number of years are needed, years of intensive inner formation, to become a being who thinks for himself, is conscious of his own will, and conscious of his own nature, his purpose of existence, independent of the human mass. A certain time is necessary. Some children begin when very small. If one begins very early, when one is twenty he can be quite formed. But you must begin when very small, and consciously, very consciously; you must begin with a sense of observation of all the movements in yourself, of their relation with others, of--precisely, of your degree of independence, real individuality, of knowing where impulses come from, where other movements come from: whether it is contagion from outside or something that arises from within yourself. A very profound study of all the movements in oneself is necessary in order to succeed simply in crystallising a being who is a little conscious, a little conscious. But when you live fluidly, so to say, when you don't even know what goes on inside you, have some sort of vague impressions, if you question yourself, at least ninety-nine times out of a hundred, if you ask yourself, "Why did I think like that? Why did I feel like that?", even "Why did I do that?", then the reply is almost always the same: "I don't know. It came like that, that's all." That is to say, one is not at all conscious.

Are you able to know, when you are with others, what comes from you and what from the others? To what extent their way of being, their particular vibrations act upon you? You are not aware of this at all. You live in a kind of "approximate" consciousness, half-awake, half-asleep, in something very vague, where you have to grope like this in order to catch things. But do you have a precise, clear, exact notion of what goes on in [old p. 336]you, why it goes on in you? And then, this: the vibrations which come to you from outside and those which come from within you? And [new p. 336]then, again, what can come from others, changing all this, giving another orientation? You live in a kind of hazy fluidity, certain small things suddenly crystallise in your consciousness, you have just caught them for a moment; and it is just clear enough like that, as though there was a projector, just something passing on the screen and becoming clear for a second: the next minute everything has become vague, imprecise, but you are not aware of this because you have not even asked yourself the question, because you live in this way. It stops here, begins here, ends here. That's all. You do from day to day, minute to minute, things which you do, like that... it happens to be like that.

It will come. It will come. Surely it will come. I am not going to leave you like that.... Shake you up a little--I am going to shake you up a little. I shall do what is necessary for this.