How — and where — do we find the inner peace, calm, and happiness we always seem to be seeking but so few actually experience except in short bursts? Let’s turn briefly to a book called Sri Aurobindo or The Adventure of Consciousness by Satprem for some answers.

Satprem points out that mankind lives “dispersed in a multitude of thoughts,” which means inwardly he/she “lives in a surreptious racket.” Our mind’s need for knowledge, he says, is mostly “a need for something to grind.” We, as mankind, also “receive people’s thoughts, wishes and desires in the true form…exactly as they are — assaults.”

Why does there seem to be so much repetition in the things we go through? Why do they seem to occur, in different guises and places, again and again? “A person becomes accustomed to selecting from the Universal Mind a certain fairly narrow range of vibrations with which he has an affinity,” Satprem writes, and while turning round and round in his cage “it is merely a new set of acrobatics in the same milieu.” We are restricted because we are, it seems, “perpetually capturing the same wavelength,” but once we can master silence, “we can run through the whole range of wavelengths and choose to reject [or accept] as we please.”

According to Satprem, there are two parts to the mind. One is Active — a factory of thoughts. The quiet and masterful part is “a Witness and a Will.” What we want to learn to do, as much as and as often as possible, is to make decisions “from the summit of consciousness.” Only then are we able “to establish some order in this anarchy [of thoughts and images and feelings] by organizing all these tiny feudal states under its own sovereignty.”

What occurs when you finally experience emotional peace and calm — no more emotional upset — within as well as outside yourself? “If thoughts of activities come, they…cross the mind as a flight of birds crosses the sky in windless air…Even if a thousand images of the most violent events pass across it,” Satprem says, “the calm stillness remains as if the very texture of the mind were a substance of Eternal and indestructible peace.”

“Our being is a receiving station from top to bottom,” Aurobindo notes. “Truly we do not think, will or act but thought occurs in us, will occurs in us, impulse and act occur in us.” Does our self have a true fixity? Apparently not “because it always has the same wavelengths that we pick up, or rather that pick us,” Satprem adds. “Thus this small ‘frontal being’ is…set in motion by a whole hierarchy of worlds.” If we become aware, however, that we possess an Inner Consciousness, Aurobindo claims “one can do all sorts of things with it, send it out as a stream of force, erect a circle or wall of consciousness around oneself, direct an idea so that it shall enter somebody’s head in America….”

In mastering silence, “stillness dissolves the vibration; there is a sort of snow field around us in which all impacts are absorbed and neutralized,” Satprem writes. “…you can take in someone’s vibration of depression, even thousands of miles away in the Himalayas, a whole wave hits you. We require a ‘protective envelope,’ our own field of snow around us before they enter us,” so that these images, thoughts, feelings simply flash by as if we were viewing a movie screen.

We need to watch the formation of what Satprem calls Formations. Formations are “an amalgam of vibrations that end up taking on a kind of personality of [their] own through sheer repetition.” What recognition of the formations we are constantly creating is that there is very little of us in their repetition except — Satprem points out — “a habit of esponse.” Formations are remarkable for their suddenness and violence, these “vibrations that swoop down on us with rage; within seconds we become another person.” Satprem calls them “highly conscious forces whose sole aim is to discourage the seeker and divert him.” So true.

Tragedy, he indicates, is one of their favorite haunts. “They can create the greatest havoc because they play with a very old teammate in us who cannot help loving tragedy even as it cries out for relief.” Depression is another Formation teammate. Think of all the people you know, to use Aurobindo’s phrase, “who would not feel his [or her] existence justified if he couldn’t be colossally miserable.” Each attack on our psyche exposes many of our virtuous pretenses.

Satprem says Formations are not dream beings; “they are real beings” we are actually “harboring forces.” He says that, at night, the little vibrations that are stuck to us and make up our nature, “disperse into small entities and run all over the place,” which means these fragments are NOT integrated around “the true center, the Psychic.”

“We all make formations, involuntarily, with our desires and thoughts (good or bad), then we forget them,” Satprem writes. “But the formations do not forget; they come back, maybe two years, maybe ten years later, their work done — the particular desire or thought is fulfilled, certain circumstances are managed — while we’ve stopped thinking about them long ago; we don’t even recognize the result as coming from us. We are thus besieged by all sorts of little living entities that go on seeking realization, whereas we no longer want them.” In other words, watch your self-talk, observe what you tell yourself about whatever may come up in life, and especially be aware of what you say you want because you may just get it — long after it doesn’t matter any more.

Regarding inspiration, such as that known by artists, writers, speakers, healers, and what we often think of as the creatively gifted, Satprem mentions that “The seeker tunes in upward because he senses life there…When he speaks or writes, he can feel very concretely an expanse above his head from which he draws his thoughts like the luminous thread of a cocoon — he doesn’t move; he merely remains under the flow and transcribes it.” It appears then, Satprem says, that “Our only role is to transcribe and materially embody the truths of the plane we belong to.”

The great Indian sage Aurobindo says: “I have made no endeavour in writing. I have simply left the Higher Power to work and when it did not work, I made no effort at all.” He proceeded to add that “It is out of a silent mind that I write whatever comes ready-shaped from above,” adding that “The best relief for the brain is when the thinking takes place outside the body and above the head.” Aurobindo also indicated that the sole purpose of writing books and reading philosophies for him was not really to enlighten his mind, “but to silence it so that it can experience things directly and receive direct inspirations.”

Satprem also mentions what he calls the surface Vital. Here I’m not exactly sure what he means by the phrase but Satprem indicates that it “mistakes the force of his feelings for the force of truth; as an incorrigible charlatan, it likes to claim that it makes huge efforts to struggle against itself, which is its clever way of protecting itself on all fronts.” I include the quote because we have all, at times, caught ourselves doing just that.

The only moments we have really lived, Satprem says are “when a real I has emerged on the surface out of hundreds of hours of nonexistence.” If you’ve sometimes felt all of life is an illusion, it is “a surface phenomenon,” Satprem writes, “with an immense Divine Reality behind it…above it….” What we call Absolute or Supreme is “only the limit of our present consciousness.”

It is also a paradox that “When we have a goal in this life…something unique to express, that situations keep coming up “as if we born the exact shadow of our light — a particular shadow or difficulty or problem that presents itself to us again and again with extraordinary insistance always the same under different masks and in the most removed circumstances, which returns after every battle won with increasing strength, in exact proportion to our new intensity of consciousness, as if we had to fight the same battle again and again on each newly conquered plane of consciousness. The clearer the goal becomes,” Satprem says, “the stronger the shadow. We have met the foe.”

He quotes Mother on page 254 who discloses this extraordinary insight into why life is not always a smooth road. She says: “You have a special goal, a special mission, your own particular realization, and you carry within yourself all the obstacles needed to make this realization perfect.”

Speaking of the Supramental, which Satprem says is truth consciousness, it seems that “Wherever it penetrates, its first immediate effect is to touch off a crisis, that is, to place the shadow in front of its own light.” Have you ever noticed how associations with certain types of people always tend to attract accidents or troubles? Watch your associations — especially spending time with those who seem so adept at emotionally upsetting or beating you up psychically. Some people, believe me, will become your own unacknowledged “shadow aspect,” engaging in behavior that drives you crazy, irritates you beyond belief, yet welcome to a mirror into this unacknowledged aspect of your being.

Both Satprem and Aurobindo believed that we are “architects of immortality,” and one day we shall all “regain our solar totality.” What is that? “…man will at last be normal. For to be normal is to be divine. Another race,” Aurobindo felt, “is to be born among us.” Presently, of course, our attention has been captured by the “frenzy of forms” into which we were born.

So what about our illnesses, our trials, our challenges in this life? Do they have any meaning at all or are we playthings of the universe — God’s lab rats? According to Mother, who is quoted on page 361, “Each of you represents one of the difficulties to be overcome for the transformation to be complete — and that means a lot of difficulties…Each one represents an impossibility to be worked out; when all these impossibilities are worked out, the Work will be done.”

We are all dogged, you might say, by a shadow that just won’t leave us alone. “Each person has a shadow that keeps goading him and seems to contradict the very goal of his existence,” Satprem says. “This is the particular vibration he must transform, his field of work, his impossible knot.” Doesn’t it seem, sometimes, that the battle with ourselves, the world, and all we’re going through is never won? Doesn’t it get exhausting to feel you’ve made progress, advanced quite a bit, only to be hurled back to a starting point you believed far removed from who you are presently — what you have become? “It would seem that the seeker becomes the special battlefield for a fierce and symbolic battle against the same knot of darkness in the rest of humanity,” Satprem writes. “Trying to set straight a tiny vibration in oneself triggers reactions from myriads of tiny sister vibrations all over the world.” When we conquer falsehood and disorder in ourselves, we conquer them “as representatives of the same adverse and inexhaustible forces in the world.”

And the point, then, of this human experience? “For this little earth…is the symbolic ground of a battle involving all the cosmic hierarchies, just as a conscious human being is the symbolic ground of a battle fought in all mankind — if we conquer here, we conquer everywhere.” This explains why, as we conquer each obstacle, we are also “architects of immortality,” harbingers of that which is yet to be on a cosmic scale. The old world energy is hanging on and it’s still very powerful, still controlling ordinary consciousness, but Satprem says The Supermind is already present in earth consciousness and subtly shifting and breaking up the old patterns of thinking, among them I would add, the way so many of us are making major shifts in our own health and healing, plus our definition of what truly constitutes prosperity and happiness. Aubobindo said that “…often it is truth that wears a disguise in order to arrive unobserved near to its goal.” He also realized that “It is our own faulty vision that hides from us the happiness [and I would add well-being] absolute in the heart of things.”

Author's Bio: 

James worked as a television broadcaster in Texas for many years. He also taught news gathering, reporting, writing, and public speaking at three universities. More about James can be found at
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