© Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust

30 March 1955

Sweet Mother, what does it mean exactly--"to go down into the lower parts or ranges of nature"?

It is precisely to go down into the darkness, to go far away from the light in order to draw nearer to the darkness, to go farther away from the consciousness in order to go closer to the inconscience.

One has in his consciousness the feeling of rising above what is obscure and ordinary and unconscious, of raising himself--because usually our head is on top and our head is more conscious than the rest of our body--and the impression that there is above him a greater consciousness. So when one makes an effort to progress, at the same time one makes an effort of ascent. Sometimes one has even symbolically the impression of climbing a mountain and wanting to reach the summit, that is, as close as possible to the free expanses of the light, of what is purer. And if one doesn't take care, quite naturally, spontaneously, one slips back into the ordinary consciousness.

There is a very great power of attraction in low, obscure, ordinary things--the impression of being drawn by the feet into a deep mire... certain contacts, certain actions, certain movements of consciousness give you the impression that you are sliding into a dark and muddy hole.

Often when one has made an effort and progressed, one has the feeling of rising above himself into a purer, clearer, truer light and consciousness. But if one doesn't keep this aspiration and is not definitively settled there, a very tiny thing is enough, a kind of physical disharmony, for example, or a meeting, a word exchanged or a movement made unconsciously, for one to feel that something is falling; and one can no longer get hold of that height where one was, that light. So one has to withdraw again, climb the slope, escape from the attraction from below. Sometimes it takes time; one slides down very fast but usually climbs back with a certain difficulty.

It is as when one struggles physically by yogic means with a disease, it goes alternately. One can succeed in pulling himself out, so to say, from the disease, in withdrawing from it, in cutting off the relation one had with it; and then suddenly one emerges above this feeling of unease, disorder and confusion and realises that one is cured. But sometimes it is enough even to remember, a movement of wonder is enough, a memory of what it was is enough for everything to be reversed once more and for one to have to begin the same work over again. Sometimes one has to begin again thrice, four times, ten times, twenty times. And then some people can make the effort once, but the second time they no longer do it well, and the third time they don't do it at all; and they tell you, "Oh! One can't be cured by occult means, the divine Force doesn't cure you, it is better to take medicines." So for these, it is better to go to the doctor because this means that they have no spiritual perseverance and only material means can convince them of their effectiveness.

When one wants to change something of the material life, whether the character or the functioning of the organs or habits, one must have an unfaltering perseverance, be ready to begin again a hundred times the same thing with the same intensity with which one did it the first time and as though one had never done it before.

People who are touchy cannot do this. But if one can't do it, one can't do yoga, in any case not the integral yoga, one can't change one's body.

To change one's body one must be ready to do millions of times the same thing, because the body is a creature of habits and functions by routine, and because to destroy a routine one must persevere for years.