At certain stages along the way, a particular technique or method of standpoint may be helpful to the growth of the spiritual consciousness or the implementation of that consciousness in the outer being and life. These same methods, however, can lead to stagnation if practiced without heed to changing needs or circumstances. Each individual needs to start from where they are and then systematically, step by step, address the issues, limitations and obstacles placed before him. Generally, the individual can find within himself the means of taking the next step for a considerable distance along the way, until such time as all human means reach a stopping point and at that moment, the Divine Grace must be called on to act!

Due to the complexity of the human instrument, and the inter-relationships of mind, life and body, as well as the interaction with the outer world and other beings, an individual always has issues to address and obstacles to surmount. Careful observation, quiet aspiration, and constant focused energy, combined with persistence, are what allow the individual to adopt the means to the end, and continue to move forward. That is why what works for one individual in one circumstance cannot be arbitrarily applied to another being variously situated, nor even to his own situation as it changes over time.

The Mother observes: “I do not say this to discourage you; only, things happen like that. And the worst of all is to get discouraged when it happens. You must tell yourself, ‘With the means of transport at my disposal I have reached a certain point, but these means do not allow me to go further. What should I do?… Sit there and not stir any longer? — not at all. I must find other means of transport.’ This will happen quite often, but after a while you will get used to it. You must sit down for a moment, meditate, and then find other means. You must increase your concentration, your aspiration and your trust and with the new help which comes to you, make a new programme, work out other means to replace those you have left behind. This is how one progresses stage by stage.”

“But you must take great care to apply at each, as perfectly as possible, what you have gained or learnt. If you remain in an indrawn state of consciousness and do not apply materially the inner progress, a time will certainly come when you will not be able to move at all, for your outer being, unchanged, will be like a fetter pulling you back and hindering you from advancing. So, the most important point (what everybody says but only a few do) is to put into practice what you know. With that you have a good chance of succeeding, and with perseverance you will certainly get there.”

“You must never get discouraged when you find yourself before a wall, never say, ‘Oh! what shall I do? It is still there.’ In this way the difficulty will still be there and still there and still there, till the very end. It is only when you reach the goal that everything will suddenly crumble down.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Disturbances of the Vital, Transforming the Vital, pp. 69-85

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at 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.