Widening our Mind: a Necessity for Conscious Evolution

For a long time I have felt the need, in my role and responsibility as a Researcher as well as an Aurovilian, of pointing out for other human beings, clearly and in very simple terms, what exactly is wrong with our usual human way of thinking, and how this wrong functioning of our mind is one of the major obstacles to our further evolution as individuals and as a species.
Auroville life itself has forced me recently to  start explaining such things in the very context of the meetings organized since some weeks with the various administrative groups of Auroville to see how Repos could have some new phase of its develoment take place with the involvement of new people besides me, and the help of some collective funds put aside for that specific purpose.
At our last meeting the only other person from Repos, normally in quite friendly terms with me, spoke out very strongly against one of our employees, and I had to explain why I was keeping him. What was surfacing was one of those rocks usually hidden in the ocean of collective life, that the new persons ready to dive in had to be warned about, so back at home I wrote and sent to all the participants the following email. As I underline in my email, the other Aurovilian happens to be a Tamil person, and I happen to be French, but this only adds a communication problem to a conflicting situation whose cause is completely universal, common to all human beings from whatever origin, and a source of conflict everywhere:
Dear all,
In the first point in my previous email I had to express my negative feeling about somebody’s attitude on that specific point.
I wouldn’t want this to give the impression that I don’t appreciate the qualities he also has and which are very beneficial to Repos. I do appreciate them a lot, and voice that appreciation aloud often enough, to this person himself, and also in public.But like most human beings this person is not aware of this inbuilt defect in our human mind, the tendency to always construct a totally one-sided view and opinion about any situation and any person, including ourselves.
For the ordinary way of functioning of the mind, everything has to be either good, or bad, but cannot be both.
To arrive every time at such a clear-cut conclusion, and still base it on what it can call ‘objective proof’, our mind will simply list out all the facts that are evidence of ‘good’, for example… and then simply forget to list out also all the facts that give evidence of ‘bad’ as well… or vice-versa. Nothing is more difficult to admit for the ordinary mind, than that both may be true at the same time. It will obstinately deny and refuse to see the evidence contrary to its own one-sided perception, rather than to admit that the true, real picture might be more balanced than it believes it to be and wants it to be. Although this Aurovilian himself has been many times a victim of that kind of one-sided (or even downright slanderous) perception of himself by various other persons, he doesn’t realize he is doing exactly the same wrong thing with them or other persons, and he feels more and more indignant towards me because he is absolutely convinced that whenever I don’t agree fully with him, my more balanced view of some workers or Aurovilians is only due to some favoritism on my part, or blindness to their defects, or fear of those persons.
Conversely, of course, it is impossible to point at to him any of the defects he himself has; he prefers unconsciously to believe and affirm that he has none, putting an imagined, illusory perfection in the place of the self-correcting work any Aurovilian is supposed to do all the time on himself or herself. This attitude of fake perfection obviously doesn’t help in gaining him any respect on the part of the workers, who are no fools; but then they too have only a one-sided, negative view of him, which is just as wrong. This problem has been there between us since a long time, to the point now that he couldn’t control himself during the meeting, it had to come out. He is so utterly convinced that he is right in his one-sided stand, we cannot communicate at all any more on this point. I think only if the real reason for this problem would be explained clearly to him, directly in Tamil, by someone he trusts, could he start perhaps to doubt the correctness of his attitude, which for the time being makes him, just like the persons he condemns, a part of the problem instead of its solution.Of course this problem is not limited to Repos. It is extremely common everywhere, inside and outside of Auroville, and even in the Ashram most of the disciples were victims of this wrong turn of mind, forcing Sri Aurobindo and Mother to spend a lot of time and energy trying to pacify constant such quarrels among the inmates…! This problem is one of the main obstacles to this Human Unity that is the very purpose of Auroville, so the sooner we all become aware of it the better for all of us.Sorry for having been a bit long this time… It is all a rather subtle thing to describe.Bhaga”An ideal  way to spread this kind of very practical psychological knowledge at least within Auroville, would be if that explanatory text of mine, and some other ones later, could come out in some depersonalized form, not only in the English version, but also the Tamil and the French versions of our internal weekly newsletter. Then little by little I could try and build-up, week after week or whatever, a  collective common understanding of the usual flaws of the human mind and of what we should do to remedy them. Let’s see if such an ideal way of reaching more or less all the Aurovilians will  ever become possible…

The challenge of spreading  the knowledge  necessary to a deeper understanding is part of the difficulties specific to a collective attempt at Conscious Evolution like Auroville: in addition to the personal problems one encounters within oneself with one’s own outer personality to be put under the gradual influence of one’s soul, there is also the enormous, pretty overwhelming burden of the collective consciousness, which takes even longer to change, its progresses depending precisely on the progress of the individuals who are part of that collective.

As long as most everybody has no idea that our mind, the ordinary mind all of us follow blindly to start with since childhood, does have serious flaws which make it quite unreliable once one is trying to really find the Truth, people and the societies they form will go on repeating unwittingly the same deep mistakes, with heavy consequences for the level  of consciousness manifested by that society in its daily way of functioning.

H ere in Auroville, how to avoid those two major pitfalls, regarding the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, of the two opposite but equally extreme and so, wrong attitudes:

– the pure and simple rejection of their recommendations by those individuals who do not understand them or just choose to ignore them, the usual arrogance of the Mind making those people imagine that an ideal place like Auroville can be built by the usual human means, without giving to the spiritual dimension of our being the attention it must absolutely and centrally be given;

– the  stultification of what they said, into a sort of new religion with its own dogmas and supposedly indispensable rituals, by those whose devotional nature will insist on following those teachings, but without the real understanding of them that would keep their application free of all mental rigidity.

Faced already with all these problems from the very start of Auroville, just as she had been faced with them for decades before and continued to be, having to deal with the inmates of the Ashram in Pondicherry, the Mother had found only one solution that worked: to present each problem to the Evolutive Force of a higher, ‘Supramental’ degree, now at work upon Earth, so that the intensity of its Light would find the right way to gradually erode the resistance in each individual and arrive at the needed result, otherwise impossible to obtain from the individuals concerned.

I see it all the time in myself too: in spite of the good will and even intense ardor the central part of our being has for this transformative work, most of the other parts of ourselves are laggards on the way, when not altogether stubbornly hostile to any change in their usual way of functioning…

“Each of us is an impossibility to be solved”, the Mother used to say!…

Then, on 28 August 1971, she explained:

“For each problem there is a solution that can give satisfaction to everybody; but for finding this ideal solution each one must want it instead of meeting the others with the will to enforce one’s own preference. Enlarge your consciousness and aspire for the satisfaction of all.”

And on 17 September 1971:

“You see only your side of the question, but if you want to widen your consciousness it would be better to look from all sides impartially. Later you will discover that this attitude has great advantages.”

So… whenever I am facing a problem I try my best to do just what Mother explains one should do (and it is not always easy, even after forty years of practice!…) and I pray for the transformation of all of those involved in the confrontational situation, including myself; for, as long as one’s ego isn’t totally transformed, the reactions of the ego can manage to blind you to some narrowness of view or mental rigidity on your own part, making you judgmental… Ah, the ego and its tricks, posing as the truthful one, and often indignantly so on top of it…! It is so easy to start feeling superior to the others, and fall into the deadliest trap of all: the spiritual ego, so satisfied with itself, and convinced that it is of course above all blame… Only a constant, vigilant sincerity, and the simplicity that goes with it, can save us from that utmost danger lurking in oneself at every moment. A good sense of humor does help to keep going!…


IMG_5217 (Photo credit: Ajay Tallar)


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