Disciple: How can one transform the vital?

The first step: will.
Secondly, sincerity and aspiration.
But will and aspiration are almost the same thing, one follows the other.
Then, perseverance. Yes, perseverance is necessary in any process, and what is this process?. . .  

First, there must be the ability to observe and discern, the ability to find the vital in oneself, else you will be hard put to it to say: “This comes from the vital, this comes from the mind, this from the body.” Everything will seem to you mixed and indistinct.

After a very sustained observation, you will be able to distinguish between the different parts and recognise the origin of a movement. Quite a long time is necessary for this, but one can go quite fast also, it depends upon people. But once you have found out the different parts ask yourself, “What is there of the vital in this? What does the vital bring into your consciousness? In what way does it change your movements; what does it add to them and what take away? What happens in your consciousness through the intervention of the vital?”

Once you know this, what do you do? . . .  Then you will need to watch this intervention, observe it, find out in what way it works. For instance, you want to transform your vital. You have a great sincerity in your aspiration and the resolution to go to the very end. You have all that. You start observing and you see that two things can happen (many things can happen) but mainly two.

Dealing with Two Extremes: Enthusiasm and Depression

First, a sort of enthusiasm takes hold of you. You set to work earnestly. In this enthusiasm you think, “I am going to do this and that, I am going to reach my goal immediately, everything is going to be magnificent! It will see, this vital, how I am going to treat it if it doesn’t obey!” And if you look carefully you will see that the vital is saying to itself, “Ah, at last, here’s an opportunity!” It accepts, it starts working with all its zeal, all its enthusiasm and. . . all its impatience.

The second thing may be the very opposite. A sort of uneasiness: “I am not well, how tedious life is, how wearisome everything. How am I going to do all that? Will I ever reach the goal? Is it worth while beginning? Is it at all possible? Isn’t it impossible?” It is the vital which is not very happy about what is going to be done for it, which does not want anyone to meddle in its affairs, which does not like all that very much. So it suggests depression, discouragement, a lack of faith, doubt—is it really worth the trouble?

These are the two extremes, and each has its difficulties, its obstacles.

Depression, unless one has a strong will, suggests, “This is not worthwhile, one may have to wait a lifetime.” Enthusiasm, it expects to see the vital transformed overnight: “I am not going to have any difficulty henceforth, I am going to advance rapidly on the path of yoga, I am going to gain the divine consciousness without any difficulty.” There are some other difficulties. . . One needs a little time, much perseverance.



So the vital, after a few hours—perhaps a few days, perhaps a few months—says to itself: “We haven’t gone very far with our enthusiasm, has anything been really done? Doesn’t this movement leave us just where we were? — perhaps worse than we were, a little troubled, a little disturbed? Things are no longer what they were, they are not yet what they ought to be. It is very tiresome, what I am doing.”

And then, if one pushes a little more, here’s this gentleman saying, “Ah, no! I have had enough of it, leave me alone. I don’t want to move, I shall stay in my corner, I won’t trouble you, but don’t bother me!” And so one has not gone very much farther than before.

This is one of the big obstacles which must be carefully avoided. As soon as there is the least sign of discontentment, of annoyance, the vital must be spoken to in this way, “My friend, you are going to keep calm, you are going to do what you are asked to do, otherwise you will have to deal with me.”

And to the other, the enthusiast who says, “Everything must be done now, immediately”, your reply is, “Calm yourself a little, your energy is excellent, but it must not be spent in five minutes. We shall need it for a long time, keep it carefully and, as it is wanted, I shall call upon your goodwill. You will show that you are full of goodwill, you will obey, you won’t grumble, you will not protest, you will not revolt, you will say ‘yes, yes’, you will make a little sacrifice when asked, you will say ‘yes’ whole-heartedly.”

So we get started on the path. But the road is very long. Many things happen on the way. Suddenly one thinks one has overcome an obstacle; I say “thinks”, because though one has overcome it, it is not totally overcome. I am going to take a very obvious instance, of a very simple observation. Someone has found that his vital is uncontrollable and uncontrolled, that it gets furious for nothing and about nothing. He starts working to teach it not to get carried away, not to flare up, to remain calm and bear the shocks of life without reacting violently.

If one does this cheerfully, it goes quite quickly. (Note this well, it is very important: when you have to deal with your vital take care to keep your good humour, otherwise you will get into trouble.) One keeps one’s good humour, that is, when one sees the fury rise, one begins to laugh.

Instead of being depressed and saying, “Ah! In spite of all my effort it is beginning all over again”, one begins to laugh and says, “Well, well! One hasn’t yet seen the end of it. Look now, aren’t you ridiculous, you know quite well that you are being ridiculous! Is it worthwhile getting angry?” One gives it this lesson good-humouredly.



And really, after a while it doesn’t get angry again, it is quiet—and one relaxes one’s attention. One thinks the difficulty has been overcome, one thinks a result has at last been reached: “My vital does not trouble me any longer, it does not get angry now, everything is going fine.” And the next day, one loses one’s temper. It is then one must be careful, it is then one must not say, “Here we are, it’s no use, I shall never achieve anything, all my efforts are futile; all this is an illusion, it is impossible.” On the contrary, one must say, “I wasn’t vigilant enough.”

Click HERE to a parable on the significance of vigilance

One must wait long, very long, before one can say, “Ah! It is done and finished.”
Sometimes one must wait for years, many years. . .

I am not saying this to discourage you, but to give you patience and perseverance—for there is a moment when you do arrive. And note that the vital is a small part of your being—a very important part, we have said that it is the dynamism, the realising energy, it is very important; but it is only a small part. And the mind!. . . which goes wandering, which must be pulled back by all the strings to be kept quiet! You think this can be done overnight?

And your body?. . . You have a weakness, a difficulty, sometimes a small chronic illness, nothing much, but still it is a nuisance, isn’t it? You want to get rid of it. You make efforts, you concentrate; you work upon it, establish harmony, and you think it is finished, and then. . .

Take, for instance, people who have the habit of coughing; they can’t control themselves or almost can’t. It is not serious but it is bothersome, and there seems to be no reason why it should ever stop. Well, one tells oneself, “I am going to control this.” One makes an effort—a yogic effort, not a material one—one brings down consciousness, force, and stops the cough. And one thinks, “The body has forgotten how to cough.” And it is a great thing when the body has forgotten, truly one can say, “I am cured.”

But unfortunately it is not always true, for this goes down into the subconscient and, one day, when the balance of forces is not so well established, when the strength is not the same, it begins again. And one laments, “I believed that it was over! I had succeeded and told myself, ‘It is true that spiritual power has an action upon the body, it is true that something can be done’, and there! it is not true. And yet it was a small thing, and I who want to conquer immortality! How will I succeed?. . . For years I have been free from this small thing and here it is beginning anew!” It is then that you must be careful.



Also see:
Let Endurance be Your Watchword

Arm Yourself with Endless Patience and Endurance

You must arm yourself with an endless patience and endurance. You do a thing once, ten times, a hundred times, a thousand times if necessary, but you do it till it gets done. And not done only here and there, but everywhere and everywhere at the same time. This is the great problem one sets oneself.

That is why, to those who come to tell me very light-heartedly, “I want to do yoga”, I reply, “Think it over, one may do the yoga for a number of years without noticing the least result. But if you want to do it, you must persist and persist with such a will that you should be ready to do it for ten lifetimes, a hundred lifetimes if necessary, in order to succeed.” I do not say it will be like that, but the attitude must be like that.

Nothing must discourage you; for there are all the difficulties of ignorance of the different states of being, to which are added the endless malice and the unbounded cunning of the hostile forces in the world. . . They are there, do you know why? They have been tolerated, do you know why?—simply to see how long one can last out and how great is the sincerity in one’s action. For everything depends upon your sincerity.

If you are truly sincere in your will, nothing will stop you, you will go right to the end, and if it is necessary for you to live a thousand years to do it, you will live a thousand years to do it.



(The Mother, CWM, Vol. 4, pp. 247- 252)

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