WRITINGS BY THE MOTHER
© Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust
Is an emotion always a vital movement?
It depends on the emotion and it also depends on what you [new p. 323]call an emotion. For example, there is a state where, if you find yourself in the presence of a very precise, very clear psychic movement, a distinctly psychic movement--this happens quite often--the emotion is so powerful that tears come to your eyes. You are not sad, you are not happy, neither one nor the other; it doesn't correspond to any particular feeling, but it is an intensity of emotion which comes from something that is clearly, precisely psychic. It may be in yourself, but it is even more often in someone else. When you are in contact with an act, a movement, a manifestation which belongs to the psychic, then, all of a sudden, the eyes are filled with tears. If you call that an emotion... obviously it is an emotion. But usually, it comes from one thing: the physical being has a not very conscious but very intense longing for a contact with the psychic life. It feels poor, destitute, isolated and abandoned when it is not in contact with the psychic being. Not one physical being in a million is aware of this. But this kind of impression of being lost, left hanging, without protection, without support, of lacking something and not knowing what it is, something you don't understand but which you lack, an emptiness somewhere: well, this comes more often than one thinks--people have no idea what it is. But then, when for some reason or other this consciousness suddenly comes into contact with a clearly psychic phenomenon, with psychic forces, psychic vibrations, the feeling is so strong, so strong that certainly, most often, the body can hardly hold it. It is like a joy that is too great, that overflows on all sides, that you can't contain, can't hold in yourself. It is like that. There is suddenly a sort of revelation, not very conscious, not clearly expressed, the revelation of... this is it, this is what I must have. And it is so powerful, so powerful that it gives you an emotion, which is made up of so many things that you can hardly say what it is. These are emotions that are not vital.
Vital emotions are of an altogether different nature--they are very clear, very precise, you can express them very distinctly; [old p. 345]they are violent, they usually fill you with an intensity, [new p. 324]a restlessness, sometimes a great satisfaction. And then the opposite comes with the same force. And so people, many people think--we have mentioned this several times already--some people imagine they experience love only when it is like that, when love is in the vital, when it comes with all the movements of the vital, all this intensity, this violence, this precision, this glamour, this brightness. And when that is absent they say, "Oh, this is not love."
And yet that is exactly how love gets distorted: already it is no longer love, it is beginning to be passion. And this is an almost universal error among human beings.
Some people are full of a very pure, very high, very selfless psychic love and yet they know nothing about it and think they are cold, dry and without love because this admixture of vital vibration is absent. For them love begins and ends with this vibration.
And as it is something highly unstable which has movements and reactions and violences of all kinds, in depression as in satisfaction, love is something very ephemeral for these people: they have minutes of love in their lives. It may last a few hours and then it becomes dull and flat again and they imagine that love has deserted them.
As I said, some people are quite beyond that, they have been able to control it in such a way that it does not get mixed up with anything else; they have in themselves this psychic love which is full of self-forgetfulness, of self-giving, compassion, generosity, nobility of life, and is a great power of identification. So most of these people think they are cold or indifferent--they are very nice people, you see, but they do not love--and sometimes they themselves do not know. I have known people who thought they had no love because they didn't have this vital vibration. Usually, when people speak of emotions, they are speaking of vital emotions. But there is another kind of emotion which is of an infinitely higher order and doesn't [old p. 346]express itself in the same way, which has just as much intensity, but an intensity that is [new p. 325]under control, contained, condensed, concentrated, and is an extraordinary dynamic power.
True love can achieve extraordinary things, but it is rare. All kinds of miracles can be done out of love for the person one loves--not for everyone, but for the people or the person one loves. But it has to be a love free from all vital mixture, an absolutely pure and selfless love which demands nothing in return, which expects nothing in return.