WRITINGS BY THE MOTHER
© Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust
Dealing with difficulties
29 August 1956
"What do you mean by these words: `When you are in difficulty, widen yourself'?"
I am speaking, of course, of difficulties on the path of yoga, incomprehension, limitations, things like obstacles, which prevent you from advancing. And when I say "widen yourself", I mean widen your consciousness.
Difficulties always arise from the ego, that is, from your more or less egoistic personal reaction to circumstances, events and people around you, to the conditions of your life. They also [new p. 286][old p. 287]come from that feeling of being closed up in a sort of shell, which prevents your consciousness from uniting with higher and vaster realities.
One may very well think that one wants to be vast, wants to be universal, that all is the expression of the Divine, that one must have no egoism--one may think all sorts of things--but that is not necessarily a cure, for very often one knows what one ought to do, and yet one doesn't do it, for one reason or another.
But if, when you have to face anguish, suffering, revolt, pain or a feeling of helplessness--whatever it may be, all the things that come to you on the path and which precisely are your difficulties--if physically, that is to say, in your body-consciousness, you can have the feeling of widening yourself, one could say of unfolding yourself--you feel as it were all folded up, one fold on another like a piece of cloth which is folded and refolded and folded again--so if you have this feeling that what is holding and strangling you and making you suffer or paralysing your movement, is like a too closely, too tightly folded piece of cloth or like a parcel that is too well-tied, too well-packed, and that slowly, gradually, you undo all the folds and stretch yourself out exactly as one unfolds a piece of cloth or a sheet of paper and spreads it out flat, and you lie flat and make yourself very wide, as wide as possible, spreading yourself out as far as you can, opening yourself and stretching out in an attitude of complete passivity with what I could call "the face to the light": not curling back upon your difficulty, doubling up on it, shutting it in, so to say, into yourself, but, on the contrary, unfurling yourself as much as you can, as perfectly as you can, putting the difficulty before the Light--the Light which comes from above--if you do that in all the domains, and even if mentally you don't succeed in doing it--for it is sometimes difficult--if you can imagine yourself doing this physically, almost materially, well, when you have finished unfolding yourself and stretching yourself out, you will find that more than [old p. 288]three-quarters of the difficulty is gone. And then just [new p. 287]a little work of receptivity to the Light and the last quarter will disappear.
This is much easier than struggling against a difficulty with one's thought, for if you begin to discuss with yourself, you will find that there are arguments for and against which are so convincing that it is quite impossible to get out of it without a higher light. Here, you do not struggle against the difficulty, you do not try to convince yourself; ah! you simply stretch out in the Light as though you lay stretched on the sands in the sun. And you let the Light do its work. That's all.
Collected Works of The Mother, First Edition, Volume 08, pp. 286-88