“There is an ascending evolution in nature which goes from the stone to the plant, from the plant to the animal, from the animal to man. Because man is, for the moment, the last rung at the summit of the ascending evolution, he considers himself as the final stage in this ascension and believes there can be nothing on earth superior to him. In that he is mistaken.... Sri Aurobindo came upon earth to teach this truth to men. He told them that man is only a transitional being living in a mental consciousness, but with the possibility of acquiring a new consciousness, the Truth-consciousness, and capable of living a life perfectly harmonious, good and beautiful, happy and fully conscious.”
— THE MOTHER
“Essentially there is but one single true reason for living: it is to know oneself. We are here to learn—to learn what we are, why we are here, and what we have to do. And if we don’t know that, our life is altogether empty—for ourselves and for others.”
— THE MOTHER
In one of her classes at the Ashram Playground The Mother said, These powerful words of The Mother say it all. But what does she really mean when she says that the reason for living is “to know oneself”? Does it mean that one knows oneself when one has found out that one has a beautiful voice and likes to sing or that one dislikes mathematics? These things are knowledge about our surface nature, but the true knowledge about ourselves is an inner knowledge of our true eternal self. What The Mother means is that, if we really want to know ourselves and learn why we are here, we have to come in conscious contact with our soul. Why? The soul is a spark of the Divine himself. It is our inmost self. Only the soul in us knows the truth and can help us to take decisions that are based on truth. Our outer being (which is made up of our mind, our emotions and personality, and our body) is meant to give expression not only to the qualities of the soul but also to the decisions made by the soul. The outer being should not be the decision taker, because it cannot see the truth. That is so because of the process of evolution. In the evolution God first created out of himself matter. But in matter his consciousness is hidden so completely that it appears to be without consciousness; it is called inconscient. Rocks belong to this most inconscient layer of the creation. Since it was God’s wish to reveal himself more, plants evolved. This process went on and he unveiled himself even more in the form of animals. And then man, the thinking animal was created. Though man is the highest form of evolution till now, his body, vital and mental have still a lot of the original ignorance of the matter in them. That is why these parts of ourselves cannot take the best decisions. It is only when we learn to listen to our divine center, our psychic, that we can take decisions in harmony with our highest aim. When we are in contact with our psychic center we experience the world in a different way: everything becomes more beautiful, we stop making judgments, we see the deep harmony that exists in spite of outer appearances and we spread loving goodwill and harmony ourselves. We realize that it is important to make our body, vital and mind strong and pure, supple and open, so that they can express the psychic element in us as perfectly as possible, without distortions.
But one does not find the soul just like that. Usually a long preparation is necessary. To prepare ourselves for the discovery of the psychic being is a beautiful journey, but it does need effort and determination on our part. We have to make a repeated effort to start living within and to create inside ourselves an environment where the psychic can come to the front. We need determination because our mind, our vital and our body have formed habits and preferences that they will not give up easily. God does not impose himself, but is ever presently and ever ready to help us. Similarly the psychic, our divine center, does not impose itself. It has to be invited constantly. We invite it by sincerely wanting to know its truth, by becoming quiet and pure enough to hear its silent voice and by choosing to follow it. Besides the fact that only the soul in us can know the truth and guide us, there is one more good reason to start our inner journey. “We are on earth to progress,” says The Mother. This is the reason for taking birth after birth, because our psychic can only make progress here on earth when it takes on a human body. Today the importance of making progress has a new dimension thanks to the marvelous work done by The Mother and Sri Aurobindo.
Sri Aurobindo has said that in the next step of the evolution the Supramental consciousness will reign on earth. The Supramental consciousness is also called the Truth consciousness. To be able to be part of the Supramental creation our psychic being will have to be continuously in front. The Mother and Sri Aurobindo devoted their whole life to bring this new consciousness down into the earth's atmosphere. On 29th February 1956 it came down. Years later The Mother declared that the Supramental consciousness was sufficiently established on earth and that the New World that would be able to express this consciousness was born. She invited everybody who wanted to become part of this new creation to prepare themselves for it in all sincerity. Knowing this, you can understand how important it is for students who have a whole new life in front of them, that teachers are able to make them aware of the existence of the world within themselves and that we help them to discover and remain in contact with their psychic being. Is this not giving an added meaning and a new
urgency for going on an inner quest ourselves? We can only help our students, our children well, if we ourselves have consciously begun and experienced the search for our psychic center. This search and discovery will give true meaning to our lives. It is the task of teachers in integral schools to create an environment
that helps students to find the deeper aim of their lives. When we started ourselves to look and live within we discover a new dimension in our life that extends itself to our work and makes it more beautiful. Real integral education is to create a classroom environment where concern for the deepest, truest part in the students is consciously integrated in every aspect of the teaching-learning process that we facilitate.
THE GREAT OPPORTUNITY
“In the whole manifestation there is an infinite Grace constantly at work to bring the world out of the misery, the obscurity and the stupidity in which it lies. From all time this Grace has been at work, unremitting in its effort, and how any thousands of years were necessary for this world to awaken to the need for something greater, truer, more beautiful.”
— THE MOTHER
“People sleep, they forget, they take life easy—they forget, forget all the time....But if we could remember...that we are at an exceptional hour, a unique time, that we have this immense good fortune, this invaluable privilege of being present at the birth of a new world, we could easily get rid of everything that impedes and hinders our progress. So, the most important thing, it seems, is to remember this fact; even when one doesn’t have the tangible experience, to have the certainty of it and faith in it; to remember always, to recall it constantly, to go to sleep with this idea, to wake up with this perception; to do all that one does with this great truth as the background, as a constant support, this great truth that we are witnessing the birth if a new world. We can participate in it, we can become this new world. And truly, when one has such a marvelous opportunity, one should be ready to give up everything for its sake.”
— THE MOTHER
The Great Discovery
The first work to be done is to have a closer look at ourselves. We
live day in and day out, but how well do we know who we are?
Does this seem to be a strange question to you? Probably yes, at
least if you define yourself only by the body you live in, the relationships
you have, the work you do. But what is meant here is your
real, inner self—your psychic being, the divine in you. We talked
about “the ignorance” in the previous chapter. It is due to this ignorance
in our surface awareness that the psychic is hidden from us.
So it takes effort to become really aware of the psychic being, it takes
effort to regularly look for it inside ourselves, it takes effort to live
within constantly. This chapter is written to help you decide if you
really want to start this effort of preparing yourself for the psychic
“Is it then really so important to go in search of my psychic?”
you may ask. Here is, in short, a description of the different parts of
our being. It may help you to look at yourself with more clarity.
There are three main parts: each human being has an outer
nature, an inner nature and an innermost core. The outer nature
is made up of the physical, the vital and the mental nature. It is
everything in you that is visible on the surface for others. Through
your outer nature you deal with your surroundings. All that you
see, hear, taste, smell, touch comes to you through the outer nature.
All your actions, your interactions and communications with
others belong to it. Reading this book, cooking a nice dish, having
a good conversation with a few friends, it all belongs to, is
done by your outer nature.
Next comes the inner nature. It is everything in you that is
going on behind the scene, that is not visible to others and often
not even to yourself. Here also there are three main parts. There
is an inner mental, inner vital and inner physical. For example, a
noble character typically comes from special qualities in the inner
vital. Some people are afraid of dogs, others love them. The
outer vital being notices and expresses the fear or love for dogs,
but this fear has its origin in the inner nature; you do not exactly
know why it is so that you love or fear them.
Lastly, there is our core, our central being. This has two main
parts: the Self and the soul. The Self, also called Atman, is immortal
and remains the same through all our lives. You can contact
it just above the head. Then there is the psychic which you
can find behind the heart. The Mother mentions in one of her
Playground talks that each human being is unique and that each
one has a role to fulfil. The uniqueness is in our psychic being
and it can express itself in the world through some special qualities
of our inner and outer nature. These qualities may change or
may be perfected from birth to birth, but our essence remains
always the same.
The psychic is often called the soul; it is your divine centre.
The psychic is constantly in touch with the Divine. It is the portion
in you that remains permanent and comes down again and
again in a human body. From life to life the psychic can grow
from a small presence behind the veil into a fully developed psychic
being. You can help it grow. It does so every time you put in
the effort to allow it to develop and manifest itself. This effort has many facets but we can give it the common name “self-preparation”.
The psychic being
Because this book is about psychic education here follows a more
detailed description of the psychic being. Each one of us has at
the centre of our being a spark of the Divine Consciousness; this
is what is called the soul. This core is permanent, it generally
enters the body at birth. After it has entered the body it gathers
around itself elements for the development of a psychic consciousness.
In this way, slowly, around the soul, grows a psychic presence.
This presence is the beginning of a psychic individuality.
Over many lives this psychic presence can grow into a psychic
being. There comes a moment when the psychic being is so well
formed that it expresses an individual and independent Divine
Consciousness. Thus each psychic being is unique and expresses
a unique part of the individual Divine. Another way to put this is
to say, that the psychic being is the part in you that expresses the
Divine Truth in a unique way.
The role of the psychic being is to support the evolution or
the unveiling of the Divine Consciousness on earth, so that one
day there will be a Divine Life possible right here on earth. The
psychic being is the link between your outer nature, (mind, vital
and physical) and your highest Self or Atman. The psychic aspires
that the inner and outer nature may open themselves to the
Divine so that they can express the divine will here on earth. The
outer nature which is full of ignorance has to be prepared for
this, and this process is called purification. Sri Aurobindo in his
letters to sadhaks and The Mother in her Playground Talks have
often spoken about purification. You will read more about it in
the two chapters about Purification . The psychic aspires to feel the presence and power of the Divine
within the heart, it really wills that your whole being becomes
one with the Divine. It aspires for contact with the higher
consciousness so that this may penetrate your outer and inner
nature. This process is called unification, and this is discussed in
the chapter called Unification .
Then there is what Sri Aurobindo calls the transformation of
your mind, life and body. This individual psychic being is able to
make a beginning with the transformation of your outer mental,
outer vital and outer physical nature into divine mental, divine
vital and divine physical nature. This divine nature will become
an instrument for expression in the world. The full transformation
can happen only after the psychic being is fully developed.
The psychic influence
When the psychic is in the foreground you will always act from
your highest truth, the divine truth. This will not make you unconcerned
about the miseries of human life, but you will not be
effected by them. So, if you feel that life is often painful and hurtful,
because of the surface ignorance, there is a noble way to come
to terms with this: to go in search of your psychic being. If you
yearn to become (more) perfect in all your actions, if you want to
grow in divine consciousness, the mind and the vital will not take
you far. It is the psychic influence that creates perfection.
There is still more: if there is an urge in you to help in establishing
a divine life on earth—the new world of which The Mother
speaks—then the best and most effective way to help is to start
living within, to aspire to find your psychic and to aspire for its
development, so that it becomes a full being. Remember: the innermost
centre, the soul, remains the same through all your lives, but
the psychic being grows around this from a small presence to a real
being over many lives. A fully developed psychic being is a conscious
instrument of the Divine Will, says The Mother. It is in direct
touch with the Divine Truth. Naturally, this is needed to live a divine
life on earth.
For parents and teachers there is another important reason to go
in search of the soul. Very young children often have a natural contact
with their soul. If you want to help growing children remain in
contact with their psychic being or to find it back when they have
lost it, it will be of great help if you have gone through this process
consciously yourself. This conscious experience will enable you to
be a true helper and guide: only if you have had contact with your
psychic consciousness can you be sensitive to it in others. Psychic
education and psychic parenting have to start with yourself.
Time for reflection
The first step is to intensely want to find your true self.
To come to know your true self asks for effort and perseverance
on your part. It needs a strong motivation to keep up this
commitment, because in the inner worlds you will have to travel
all by yourself. Before starting, it may be good to ask yourself if
you are ready to make daily an effort to set time apart for this
self-discovery and self-preparation, so that the psychic presence
can become stronger in you. If the answer is “yes” the rest of the
book is there to support you in this process.