We tend to accept issues we are having in our lives as something personal to ourselves and thus, we struggle and either consider ourselves to be weak, or sinful, or otherwise unfit. This happens both generally and for those who practice yoga, and the result is, in many cases, some form of depression or disturbance or suffering associated with the struggles and the failure. We usually fail to take into account that there is one pervasive and permeating consciousness in the entire creation and that there are forces larger than our individual egoistic selves at work, in us and through us. We are like a drop of water in the ocean, that thinks it can make its own independent choices, decisions and bear its own consequences, without realizing that the entire force of the ocean is driving it forward!

When we begin to recognise the universal nature of the forces at work in the creation, and the fact that our individuality is a nexus, not a source, for the action of this energy, we begin to realize that it is not sufficient to try to solve the issues of the mind, life and body solely within our individual existence — we have to respond also to the universal reality that is the actual source of these energies and forces that impinge upon us.

The other issue that arises is that the universal creation has a certain inertia or stability to it which is not subject to immediate changes, but which works out change through the instrumentality of Time, in fact, from our perspective, long periods of time. This ‘conservative principle’ in the existence tends to stability. We may actually see the points of resistance as being what we conveniently label ‘laws of nature’. This does not imply they cannot change or be changed, with the advent of a new evolutionary principle; but it does imply that this change will be, in most cases, slow and deliberate, working itself out in evolutionary time, not human time scales.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “There is, moreover, the resistance of the Universal Nature which does not want the being to escape from the Ignorance into the Light. This may take the form of a vehement insistence in the continuation of the old movements, waves of them thrown on the mind and vital and body so that old ideas, impulses, desires, feelings, responses continue even after they are thrown out and rejected, and can return like an invading army from outside, until the whole nature, given to the Divine, refuses to admit them. This is the subjective form of the universal resistance, but it may also take an objective form, — opposition, calumny, attacks, persecution, misfortunes of many kinds, adverse conditions and circumstances, pain, illness, assaults from men or forces. There too the possibility of suffering is evident.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 10, Difficulties in Transforming the Nature, The Resistance of the Nature, pp. 271-273

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.