With focus, over time and with dedicated effort, the power of concentrated attention, samyama, eventually bears fruit and one can escape the boundaries of the ego-consciousness and enter into an identification with others. As this occurs, we understand their motivations and the direction of their thoughts and actions. The Mother points out that this can even occur while reading a book. As the concentration deepens, it is possible to enter into the mind of the author. This is not an intellectual exercise, based in the mind and some kind of process of logic or memory, but rather, comes about when one reads with a quiet or silent mind, and allow the force of the writing to enter and transform the view.

The Mother has described elsewhere how she recommends the writings of Sri Aurobindo be read, and her description mirrors the process of allowing the consciousness to shift away from the logical intellect and the hold of the ego-consciousness to one in which the force and standpoint of Sri Aurobindo’s writing is simply absorbed and begins to transform the awareness. Many have reported an experienced breakthrough of the consciousness outside the bounds of the ego while reading various books of Sri Aurobindo, with Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol being the predominant vehicle.

The Mother notes: “At first you won’t succeed very well, but if you persist, you will end up by succeeding admirably. This adds a lot of interest to life. And besides it is a work which really makes you progress, for it makes you come out of that little armour of yours in which you are nicely shut up, in which you knock against everything. You have seen moths knocking against the light, haven’t you?… Everyone’s consciousness is like that, it goes along knocking here, knocking there, for these are things foreign to it. But instead of knocking about, one enters within, then it begins to become a part of oneself. One widens oneself, breathes freely, has enough space to move in, one doesn’t knock against anything, one enters, penetrates, understands. And one lives in many places at the same time. It is very interesting, one does it automatically.”

“For instance, when you are reading a book that interests you very much, a wonderful novel full of exciting adventures, when you are completely absorbed in the story, at times you forget your class-hour or even dinner-time or your bed-time. You are completely absorbed in what you are reading. Well, this is a phenomenon of self-identification. And if you do it with a certain perfection, you succeed in understanding ahead what is going to happen. There is a moment when, being fully absorbed in the story, you come to know (without trying to look for it) towards what end the author is leading you, how he is going to unfold his story and come to his conclusion. For you have identified yourself with the creative thought of the author. You do it more or less perfectly, without knowing that you are doing it, but these are phenomena of self-identification.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Exercises for Growth and Mastery, Identification, pp. 144-149

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com and podcast at https://anchor.fm/santosh-krinsky He is author of 16 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.