© Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust

Psychological Factors In Illness
4 July 1956

"When there is a clearly localised illness in the body, what is the best way of opening the physical consciousness to receive the healing Force?"

For this--as for everything else in this domain which may be called the "outposts" of occultism or the threshold of occultism--each one must find his own movement; for what is most effective for each one is the method for which he has been more or less prepared and which is most familiar to him. So it is very difficult to make a general rule.

But there is a preparation which may be of a general kind. That is, to accustom the body methodically to understand that it is only the outer expression of a truer and deeper reality and that it is this truer and deeper reality which governs its destiny--though it is not usually aware of it.

One can prepare the body through a series of observations, studies, understandings, (Note1) by showing it examples, making it understand things as one makes a child understand them, either by observing its own movements--but generally, in this, one is comparatively blind!--or by observing those of others. And in a more general way, this preparation will be based on recognised studies, on clear facts. Like this, for instance: that a certain number of persons, placed in exactly similar circumstances, experience, each one of them, very different effects. One may go even further: in a given set of definite circumstances, there is a certain number of particular, definite individuals, in apparently quite identical conditions, and for some the effects are catastrophic, while others escape without any harm.

During the war there was a very large number of such examples for study. In epidemics it is the same thing; in cataclysms of Nature, like tidal waves or earthquakes or cyclones, it is the same thing.

The body understands these things if they are shown and explained to it as one explains things to a child: "You see, there was something else that acted there, not only the plain material fact by itself." And, unless some bad will is there, it understands.

This is a preparation.

Gradually, if you make use of this understanding, you must, with a methodical work of infusing consciousness into the cells of the body, infuse at the same time the truth of the divine Presence. This work takes time, but, if done methodically and constantly, it produces an effect.

So you have prepared the ground.

Suppose that as a result of some illness or other, there is some sort of pain at a precise spot. At that moment all will depend, as I said at the beginning, on the approach most familiar to you. But we can give an example. You are in pain, in great pain; it is hurting very much, you are suffering a lot.

First point: do not stress the pain by telling yourself, "Oh, how painful! Oh, this pain is unbearable! Oh, it is becoming worse and worse, I shall never be able to bear it", etc., all this sort of thing. The more you go on thinking like this and feeling like this and the more your attention is concentrated on it, the pain increases amazingly.

So, the first point: to control yourself sufficiently not to do that.

Second point: as I said, it depends on your habits. If you know how to concentrate, to be quiet, and if you can bring into yourself a certain peace, of any kind--it may be a mental peace, it may be a vital peace, it may be a psychic peace; they have different values and qualities, this is an individual question--you try to realise within yourself a state of peace or attempt to enter into a conscious contact with a force of peace.... Suppose you succeed more or less completely. Then, if you can draw the peace into yourself and bring it down into the solar plexus--for we are not talking of inner states but of your physical body--and from there direct it very calmly, very slowly I might say, but very persistently, towards the place where the pain is more or less sharp, and fix it there, this is very good.

This is not always enough.

But if by widening this movement you can add a sort of mental formation with a little life in it--not just cold, but with a little life in it--that the only reality is the divine Reality, and all the cells of this body are a more or less deformed expression of this divine Reality--there is only one Reality, the Divine, and our body is a more or less deformed expression of this sole Reality--if by my aspiration, my concentration, I can bring into the cells of the body the consciousness of this sole Reality, all disorder must necessarily cease.

If you can add to that a movement of complete and trusting surrender to the Grace, then I am sure that within five minutes your suffering will disappear. If you know how to do it.

You may try and yet not succeed. But you must know how to try again and again and again, until you do succeed. But if you do those three things at the same time, well, there is no pain which can resist.

That's all, then.

Note 1: For the body, to understand is to have the capacity of execution, obtained through the contagion of example. For, "to understand" for the body means to be able to do. (Mother's note).