The Contagion to Other Body-Cells (End of ‘Mother’s Agenda’ 22.11.1967)

How the Happy Contagion started:  

Picture from studyblue.com, with my thanks

Picture from studyblue.com, with my thanks

In the continuation and end of the same ‘Agenda’ talk of 22.11 1967, the first part of which I quoted in my previous post, the Mother explains  when her body-cells started awakening, and the happy contagion catching on among them… even from her body to other bodies as well…

It began when the doctors declared I was seriously ill, that was the beginning.[[The turning point of March 16, 1962, culminating on April 13, 1962: the great pulsations. ]] Because the entire body was emptied of its habits and forces, and then, slowly, slowly, the cells woke up to a new receptivity and opened directly to the divine Influence.

Every cell is vibrating.

Otherwise, it would be hopeless! If this matter, which began as … Even a stone is already an organization; it was certainly worse than a stone: the inert, absolute Inconscient. Then, little by little, little by little, it awakens. One can see it, you know, one sees it: one just has to open one’s eyes to see it. Well, the same thing is now taking place: for the animal to become a man, it didn’t take anything else than the infusion of a consciousness – a mental consciousness – and now, it’s the awakening of that consciousness which was there, deep down, in the very depths. The mind has withdrawn, the vital has withdrawn, everything has withdrawn; when I was supposedly ill, the mind had gone away, the vital had gone away, and the body was left to itself – purposely. And that’s why, it’s precisely because the vital and mind had gone that it looked like a very serious illness. And then, in the body left to itself, the cells little by little started awakening to the consciousness (gesture of a rising aspiration); once those two had gone, the consciousness which had been infused into the body THROUGH the vital (from the mind to the vital and from the vital to the body) started slowly, slowly emerging. It began with that burst of Love from all the way up, from the extreme, supreme altitude; then, little by little, little by little, it came down to the body. Then that sort of physical mind, that is, something totally and completely idiotic going round and round in circles, forever repeating the same thing over and over again, cleared up little by little and grew conscious, organized, then fell silent. And then in that silence, the aspiration expressed itself in prayers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       (silence)

It’s a denial of all the spiritual assertions of the past: “If you want to live fully conscious of the divine life, leave your body – the body cannot follow.” Well, Sri Aurobindo came and said, “Not only can the body follow, but it can be the base that will manifest the Divine.”

The work remains to be done.

But now there is a certitude. The result is still very far – very far ahead, there is much to do before the crust, the outermost surface experience as it is, can manifest what takes place within (not “within” in the spiritual depths: within in the body). For it to be able to manifest what is within … That will come last, which is very good because if it came earlier, we would neglect the work; we would be so happy that we’d forget to complete the work. Everything must have been done within, everything must be fully and thoroughly changed, then the outside will express it.

But it’s all ONE SINGLE substance, the very same everywhere, which was unconscious everywhere; and so, the remarkable thing is that things are taking place AUTOMATICALLY (gesture of points scattered throughout the world), quite unexpected things here and there, even in people who don’t know anything.

(silence)

These material cells had to gain the capacity to receive and manifest the consciousness; and what permits a radical transformation is that instead of an ascent which is so to speak eternal and indefinite, there is the appearance of a new type – a descent from above. The previous descent was a mental one, while this is what Sri Aurobindo calls a “supramental descent”; the impression is, a descent of the supreme Consciousness infusing itself into something capable of receiving and manifesting it. Then, out of that, once it has been thoroughly kneaded (there’s no knowing how much time it will take), a new form will be born, which will be the form Sri Aurobindo called supramental – it will be … anything, I don’t know what those beings will be called.

What will be their mode of expression? How will they make themselves understood and so on?… In man, it developed very slowly. Only, mind has done a lot of kneading and, after all, has made things move faster.

How will we get there?… There will certainly be stages in the manifestation with, perhaps, a specimen that will come and say, “Here is how it is.” (Mother looks in front of her) One can see that.

Only, when man emerged from the animal, there was no way to record – to note and record the process; now it’s quite different, so it will be more interesting.

(silence)

But even at this moment in time, the vast majority – the vast majority – of human intellectuality is perfectly satisfied being busy with itself, satisfied with its little progress like this (Mother draws a microscopic circle). It doesn’t even, doesn’t even have a desire for something else!

Which means the advent of the superhuman being may well … it may very well go unnoticed, or not be understood. We can’t say, because there is no analogy; it’s obvious that if one of the apes, the large apes, had met the first man, he would just have felt there was a somewhat … strange being, that’s all. But now it’s different because man thinks, reasons….

But anything higher than him man has been used to thinking of as … divine beings; that is to say, bodiless beings, appearing in the light, anyway all the gods in human conception – but it’s not that at all!

(long silence)

Shall we translate this?

(Mother translates into French
the “prayer of the cells in the body”
silence)

So?

Aren’t you convinced?

Why don’t you try?

But I do! That’s why I asked you the question. I am not doubting anything. I asked you how it’s done, that’s what I don’t see…. For instance, I shave every morning. Well, in the morning you are dazed, tired, the mind doesn’t work, the vital doesn’t work….

Yes, it’s an excellent opportunity.

Well, yes, so that’s what I do! But I tell you, I just don’t see, I don’t. I don’t know how it can be stirred – it doesn’t stir…. It doesn’t stir unless I apply the mind or the vital or the heart.

Bah!

It’s not that I doubt! I say that my body is a donkey, quite possibly, but I don’t doubt.

It’s not a donkey, poor thing! (Mother laughs)

Doubt there isn’t. But there is a question on the “how,” that’s what I don’t know.

That problem never arose for me, because … When you do music or when you do painting, you very clearly notice how the consciousness permeates the cells and those cells become conscious. This experience, for instance: there are objects in a box, and you say to your hand, “Take twelve of them.” The hand goes like that, without your bothering about it, and it finds the twelve (without counting, just like that), it takes the twelve and gives them to you. That’s an experience I had long ago; when I was twenty I began with experiences of that kind. So I know, I knew how the consciousness works. You understand, it’s impossible to learn the piano or painting without the consciousness coming into the hands, and the hands become conscious INDEPENDENTLY of the brain – the brain may be busy elsewhere, it doesn’t matter in the least. Besides, that’s what happens in those people who are called “sleepwalkers”: they have a consciousness belonging to their body, which makes them move about and do things quite independently of the mind and the vital.

I mean that when I am shaving in front of the mirror, if within myself I don’t apply the mantra or an aspiration from the heart, well, it’s an inert chunk shaving, and in addition the physical mind keeps running. But if I apply a mantra or a mental will …

No! It’s THE BODY that ends up saying the mantra spontaneously! So spontaneously that even if you happen to be thinking of something else, your body will be saying the mantra. Don’t you have that experience?

No.

And it’s the body that aspires, the body that says the mantra, the body that wants the light, the body that wants the consciousness – you yourself may be thinking of something else, Tom, Dick or Harry or a book or anything, it doesn’t matter.

But now I understand, I understand very well! In the beginning I didn’t, I thought I had been made supposedly very ill in order to stop the life I led downstairs[[ Since the “illness” of 1962, Mother has not left her rooms upstairs. ]] – the life I now lead is far more busy than the one I led downstairs, so … I wondered why, whether it was a transitional phase. But now I understand: cut off – I would keep fainting. What made the doctor declare that I was ill is that I couldn’t take a step without fainting: if I wanted to walk from here to there, poff! I would faint on the way; I had to be held up so my body wouldn’t drop to the ground. So the doctor’s decision: to bed and no moving. But as for me, not for one minute did I lose consciousness! I would faint but remain conscious, I would see my body and know I had fainted; I didn’t lose consciousness, the body didn’t lose consciousness. So now I understand! The body was cut off from the vital and the mind and left to its own means; and then little by little, little by little …

I remember, for instance, all that the doctors do: they give you vitamins, this and that. All right. So as soon as I had taken those vitamins, I saw that sort of physical mind start stirring and stirring and stirring: “Vitamins,” I said, “I don’t want them, they cause excitement in the brain.” Then they changed and gave me something some other time, and that was good. And all that, all of it was simply THE BODY: all that it knew, all the experiences it had had, all the mastery from all the parts of the being, from the vital to the mind and above, all of that was gone! And this poor body was left to itself. Then, naturally, little by little something was rebuilt. For a long time I remained unable … unable to do hardly anything (a little something, but hardly anything), but little by little it all was rebuilt, increasingly rebuilt: a conscious, purely conscious being – which is now chattering away! (It was unable to express itself.)

Yes, I understand. I understand. Well, perhaps that is what Sri Aurobindo meant when he said, “Your body is at present the only one on earth that can do this work.” I thought it was a kindness on his part…. But it’s true that it was cut off, I knew it – I saw it – cut off, the states of being were sent away: “Go away, all of you are not wanted anymore.” Then the body had to rebuild a life for itself. And instead of having to go through all those states of being as it did before, through successive awakenings (gesture of ascent from degree to degree, in the way of the yogis of old), up to the highest height, the highest height beyond the form, now it’s no longer that at all, the body no longer needs anything of all that, it simply has … (gesture of a rising aspiration opening out like a flower). Something within opened and developed, which caused that idiotic mind to become organized and capable of falling silent in an aspiration. And then … then there was the direct Contact, without intermediaries – the direct contact. That it now has constantly. Constantly, every single moment, the direct contact. And it’s THE BODY: it doesn’t go through all kinds of things and states of being, not at all, it’s direct.

But once that has been done (this is something Sri Aurobindo had said), once ONE body has done it, it has the capacity of passing it on to others; and I tell you, there is now (I am not saying in its totality and in detail, probably not), but here and there (scattered gesture to show various points on earth) people suddenly get one experience or another. Some of them (most) get frightened, so naturally it goes away – that is because they weren’t prepared enough within (if it’s not the little routine of every minute, ever the same, they get frightened), and once they get frightened it’s over, it means they will need years of preparation for the experience to recur. But still, some don’t; suddenly, an experience: “Ah!” something wholly new, wholly unexpected, which they had never thought of.

It’s contagious. That I know. And it’s the only hope, because if everyone had to go through the same experience again … Well, I am ninety now – at the age of ninety people are tired, they’ve had enough of life. To do this work one must feel as young as a small child.

It takes a long time, I clearly see that it has taken a long time.

And it isn’t done, of course, it’s BEING done – it isn’t done, far from it. Far from it … What’s the proportion of conscious cells? We don’t know.

From time to time, some cells scold others, that’s very funny! They scold them, they catch hold of them, say a thing or two (in their own way) to those which want … (Mother draws a tiny circle) to go on with the old habits: digestion has to be done in a certain way, absorption has to be done in a certain way, circulation has to be done in a certain way, breathing has to … all the functions have to be done according to Nature’s method. And when it isn’t like that, they are worried. Then those which know catch hold of them and give them a good bombardment of the Lord, it’s very funny!

There is something that translates into words (it’s wordless, but something in there translates into words), and so there are conversations between the cells (Mother laughs): “You fool, what are you afraid of? Don’t you see it’s the Lord doing this to transform you?” Then the other: “Ah! …” And then it falls quiet, opens out, and waits. And … the pain goes away, the disorder goes away, and then everything works out.

It’s wonderful.

But if by some mischance the mind comes in, starts watching or judging, then everything stops and falls back into the old habit.

(long silence)

Basically, it’s the vital, mental – and so on – ego, it’s all of that which was – poff! – taken away.

It was a radical operation.

So now there is a sort of suppleness and plasticity. And all this is learning (it’s very much in touch with everything [horizontal gesture]), it’s learning to find its whole support, its whole strength, its whole knowledge, its whole light, its whole will, everything like that (vertical gesture, turned to the Supreme), exclusively like that, in an extraordinary plasticity.

And then – the splendor of the Presence.

(silence)

There.

So what should I do to you?

I don’t know, an operation!

A radical operation (Mother laughs).

Yes, perhaps.

But tell me, when they put you to sleep to open your stomach, were you conscious? Nothing at all? Nothing?

No.

We’ll see….

We’ll see.


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19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. donsalmon
    Mar 24, 2014 @ 12:52:59

    it seems that when Mother says something like, when you’re playing the piano, the hands become conscious independent of the brain,

    she’s using words in a free, colloquial manner. This seems clear further one when she describes sleepwalkers, or when the body is doing something and you’re “thinking” of something else.

    I think technically what she’s talking about, for example with the piano, is the cerebrum (which is associated with conscious thought) may be elsewhere but the brain stem, which controls movements of the hands – and without which the hands would be completely inert – may be active.

    I used to do all kinds of experiments along these lines playing the piano. Improvising is especially interesting – I’d see if I could read a complex text and improvise, and try making the improvisations increasingly complex. In this case, it wasn’t the brain stem that was controlling the improv but other parts of the cortex – so reading the text may have been predominantly left hemisphere, while the right hemisphere was coordinating the limbic system and cerebellum (the cerebellum, or little brain, has an intelligence of its own, which has recently been discovered, instead of just being involved with balance and other motor movements).

    Another interesting parallel with Mother’s observations – Dan Seigel (who developed “interpersonal neurobiology” and with his group has published dozens of world-renowned books on neuroscience with practical applications, including over 1000 schools that have applied his integral approach to neuroscience) – Dan insists on talking about the brain and body as one integral entity. The brain is throughout the body, he says, as is clear from the fact there is not only a brain in the head (cortex, limbic system and brain stem) but in the heart, the gut (the enteric nervous system( and ultimatley, in every cell of the body.

    In fact, he goes further and says that since every moment we interact with someone they are affecting our brain and we theirs, it’s not right to say brain-body, but brain-body-world. Still further, almost alone among contemporary (respected, mainstream) neuroscientists, he refuses to reduce mind to brain, and does not insist that the brain produces the mind. His friend Michel Bitbol has written an essay, “Is Consciousness Primary?” which if taken seriously, would revolutionize virtually every field of science (far more sophisticated essay, I think, than most of the near death, robert monroe or parapsychological literature, even Jim Carpenter, whose “first sight” theory of psi is radicalizing the whole field).

    Bitbol’s essay is available for free online; just search the title. It’s difficult but worht the effort.

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    • Bhaga
      Mar 24, 2014 @ 13:58:44

      Thank you for this especially thoughtful comment, Don.

      But let me say immediately that Mother DOESN’T speak colloquially at all when she says what she says, in this case as well as most of the time. She speaks on the contrary with as much precision as possible, because she knows how different what she inwardly observes is from what ordinary observation, and so-called scientific observation too, both mistakenly pre-suppose, given the mistaken assumptions they have, based on the prevalent materialistic dogma still obscuring most of contemporary Science.
      Your Dan Seigel and his friend seem much closer to the real truth of the matter, and I will definitely go and find that article on internet that you mention, thank you for that very precious info to check…
      Tonight I need to sleep very early, I am tired already, so it won’t be now that i look for it, but after reading it i”ll come back to you.

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      • donsalmon
        Mar 24, 2014 @ 15:53:15

        Hi bhaga: when I first read your comment, I thought we were headed for a vital struggle. I’m rereading it and it feels different, but I’d still like to step back and check in with you before addressing your specific point (which I actually think I agree with, but want to explore in more detail).

        First let me check – I felt a bit of vital reactivity in myself when I read your comment. I perhaps wrongly assumed something about your comment about the Mother – it’s something I’ve found I tend to argue with and get caught up in my own egoistic reactions when it comes up. It has to do with the idea that we can never challenge anything Mother says, or question it in any way.

        And I’m still not saying this well, because I don’t want to start by getting into an argument about this question about the Mother. What I’m trying (somewhat badly) to get at is how we – you and I – talk about something we have a disagreement about. I’d like to honor what Mother wrote in Her writings on mental education, about the value of seeing someone else’s point of view and trying to look from their perspective.
        Well I’m not sure what else to write before hearing from you (this is one of the great disadvantages of email vs talking in person or at least online instant messaging; that the free back and forth flow can be more difficult at times, especially when there is a possibility of vital reactivity).

        I’ll wait and hear your thoughts, both about Mother’s comment, the brain and the hands, and also about how we relate to each other when we disagree.

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  2. donsalmon
    Mar 25, 2014 @ 12:06:24

    Hi again:

    I’ve thought quite a bit about your interesting and provocative comment, and thought also about what extent I have let my brain studies “cloud” my consciousness, and incline me toward a more materialistic view. I’m trusting enough that we can have an open dialog that I’m going ahead and jotting down some thoughts. There’s not really much to agree or disagree about, since I’m not sure of what I’m writing, but just moving toward an intuitive guess.

    Now, about the way Mother speaks:

    I’m not sure what you meant by Mother’s precision. I can think of a number of examples where she spoke metaphorically and poetically (actually, probably hundreds, but here’s a few). You may recall she made a rather controversial statement in one of the Agendas to the effect that the Chinese had no souls, no psychic being. In another instance, she said they were “from the Moon.”

    I found many sadhaks had a very negative reaction to this (and not just Chinese sadhaks:>)) and was intrigued to find that Mother Herself was asked about this, and explained that she was speaking poetically, and simply meant that in Her experience, many Chinese (and Japanese) people she had met had their inner and inmost beings so covered over by the strong Confucian/mental/ethical influence that not much of the psychic light came through (the “Moon”, She said, was even more of a poetic statement).

    There’s also the fact that the words we know are translations from the French. Since you know the original French, it might be interested to see what was translated as “brain” in this particular passage.

    *************

    But enough for the way Mother speaks. I was thinking a lot about an “inner view” of this. Here’s a few random, not too well edited intuitive guesses.

    In every human being, as long as they are alive (whether awake, asleep or in a coma), the brain is constantly in contact, influencing and being influenced by the nervous system which is spread throughout the body, and certainly, throughout our hands.

    The conscious mind, associated primarily with the cerebral cortex, may, through the somatic nervous system, control the hands. And even this control is of two very different kinds. When I’m learning the notes for a Bach fugue, the left hemisphere is very much involved – the left is also known as “the interpreter module” and it makes up many of the stories (I’m a Democrat, I’m French, “I’m an Aurobindonian and you’re not”) that get us into trouble and cause much suffering in our lives, but it is also responsible for much of the complexity of modern civilization).

    Once I’ve learned the piece well, say I want to improvise on it. I no longer have to “think” (that is, use the left hemisphere quite so actively) about the notes, and it feels like the hands are just playing it themselves, which leaves another – non verbal/right hemisphere – part of my mind free to “look” and “allow” new combinations, improvised melodies and harmonies” to arise.

    Now, to a more non materialistic view – the “brain”, the “hemispheres” even the “hands’ – the visual/tactile images that appear to our senses which we call “physical” – don’t DO anything. In every moment, they are moved by inner, lower, higher, deeper Forces, Energies. So in that sense, we may see a non-mental purely physical, or subtle physical, or intuitive-spiritual or even supramental Force directly moving the hands without intervention of the conscious mind, what to say of the “brain.”

    But at the same time, if we looked at the brain with some hi tech scan, and at the same time looked at an xray or other hi tech dynamic image of the hands, we would see nerve messages being sent between the hands and brain.

    To make this all much simpler, I still suspect that the Mother was speaking poetically in this passage (as she often speaks of the psychic as being behind the “solar plexus” even at the same time pointing above the solar plexus to the heart, the “cardiac center”). By “head” or “brain” she simply meant the conscious mind, the buddhi, and when she was speaking of the consciousness in the hands being the physical consciousness or physical/mental consciousness without involvement of our ordinary conscious minds. I don’t mean for this to be a materialistic view, and in fact, almost no neuroscientist – not even Dan Siegel – would accept such a non-materialist view of the relationship of different levels of consciousness to the brain.

    I don’t have time to look for them now, but as I’m writing this, at least a dozen passages are coming to mind where Mother explicitly uses “head” or “brain” (or the translator used the words “head” or “brain”) to refer to the conscious mind. And again, I don’t think one needs to be a materialist to associate PART of the brain with the conscious mind and other parts of the brain with a submental consciousness moving the hands.

    So we may disagree on the details, but I have to say, your comment inspired a great deal of quiet, intuitive contemplation, for which I am most grateful.

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    • Bhaga
      Mar 25, 2014 @ 14:38:56

      Sorry for not being able to reply to you earlier today:
      This morning I had to go for the second time (I did already last Monday) to the French Consulate – which luckily is right down there in Pondy – to have a new passport made for me, as my old one is expiring soon, and I need the new one to renew my visa as well afterwards.
      The journey there and back again by bike with a friend, plus being in Pondy for several hours, tend to be tiring for me, so after our return by about 2 pm, I had to take a nap… which turned out to go on until 6 pm!!!
      Then I had an early little dinner, in order to be able later to sleep as early as I feel like it again. The weather is becoming warmer here, now that the end of March is approaching; after the few months of ‘Winter’ with nice and cool days and almost chilly nights where you need a light blanket, the change is a bit difficult for the body, my nose and throat are doing their best to repel a cold trying again and gain to establish itself…!
      So I’m quite glad you don’t see any longer any belligerent intention on my part in my first comment, for there was none, and I wouldn’t any way have gone for a ‘vital struggle’. The relative slowness of this form of communication we are having through these ‘Comments’ can be an advantage if we use that intervening time for some quiet introspection, as you so wisely did, and I thank you for that.
      The words of Mother aren’t ‘holy’ to me in a religious way, but only to the extent that, depending on the case, they may or not represent indeed the expression of an experience she herself had, that we aren’t necessarily able to understand yet, if we haven’t had the same experience yet.
      I’ll be back here hopefully tomorrow when sufficiently rested, now I need to reach again for my bed…🙂

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      • donsalmon
        Mar 25, 2014 @ 14:52:01

        wonderful, sweet reply – thank you.

        When you’ve rested, we might also have a conversation about the very joyful exercise (game!) of putting consciousness (opening to the influx of consciousness) into one’s nose, throat, eyes, and whole body when tired and on the verge of a cold!

        I once helped lead a research study testing the use of imagery to raise temperature in the hands, and I’ve several times lowered a fever from as much as 103 degrees to 98 degrees with a few minutes of meditation. I also notice very interesting differing kinds of vibrations that create excess fatigue or make me more or less susceptible to a cold (particularly during seasonal changes – it just happened this weekend to both Jan and me, and we seem to have escaped any major symptoms )

        very interesting yoga of the body (and not just what we “think” of as the “material” body:>)))

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  3. gopal.M
    Mar 25, 2014 @ 18:21:59

    sorry to intrude into this conversation a little late. Don, i have seen this comment on the chinese even in sandeeps blog. Thought i should share my views on this . But first whatever you said in your first post didn’t seem at all like challenging Mother.

    In Mothers’ own words, their words are a force in action. Looking at it from that point of view the chinese comment has also to be looked at the context in which it was said. You see it was during the Indo China war. May be Mother was informing some force in the cosmos, of the dangers from the chinese side through these words. She and sri Aurobindo are mystiques and do not always utter words mentally or intellectually like how we do. Also another thing to take into consideration is to whom are these words addressed to. Many a times they may be trying to set right, a particular state of the sadhak’s consciousness . There are many in their writings that need a contextual understanding and it really becomes both a problem and a game of synthesis, especially when we are following them through the intellect . If we surpass their understanding of things , be it in any particular plane say only the mental or physical plane, Mother , Aditi herself, would only be too happy for her children.

    And Bhaga get well soon.

    May peace and force be with us to serve and become better instruments of the divine.

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    • Bhaga
      Mar 26, 2014 @ 09:15:31

      First of all, thank you for your good wishes, Gopal… I wasn’t sick, though, and didn’t become sick in the meantime either, probably thanks to the valiant response from my cells, to your good wishes… and to the Divine Grace for sure!!!🙂

      As for your comment about the Chinese, all that you say is true, and must be indeed remembered whenever we read something by Sri Aurobindo or Mother that seems somewhat surprising or even shocking.

      In the specific case of the Chinese, though, just a small correction: it wasn’t the first time that the Mother made that remark about them in her “Agenda”; the first time it was on 18.7.61 in Vol. 1, that is, long before the war with the Chinese. In the same passage she mentions also the Japanese as having, many of them, the same tamasic tendency in their physical body, translating as lack of sensitivity, but she doesn’t say anything about the origin of the Japanese.

      Thank you for jumping in!

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      • donsalmon
        Mar 26, 2014 @ 11:14:27

        Ah, I see:>))

        As far as my comments about anything written by Mother and Sri Aurobindo (this is for Gopal as well), in a way, you could say that it has nothing to do with the “correctness” of what They write. It is part of my own process of surrender.

        This may sound contradictory, but I’ll try to make it clearer. I read what Mother wrote about the consciousness in the hands independent of the head. On the surface it appeared to contradict the mental knowledge I have of the brain.

        So following Mother’s instructions for reading Their writings, I aspire for as much silence as possible, open to whatever psychic intuition or “above head” intuition may arise. To the extent there is Silence, “Don” is not present.

        What I wrote arose out of that. It may be COMPLETELY absurd, illogical, contradictory, but I’m not so much interested in the outcome in terms of “my” words as the inner movement of consciousness.

        There’s a passage toward the end of Synthesis of Yoga in which Sri Aurobindo gives 4 different approaches to transforming the mind, the ordinary human mind, into a transformed receptacle for Divine intuition. One of the ways is to actually use the thinking mind but with a very quiet (or best of all, Silent) consciousness “behind”, and very consciously replacing ordinary thought with intuition, with gradually “higher” or “deeper” or whatever spatial metaphor you like, levels until it becomes a Mind of light.

        This approach is one of the ones I have taken since the early 1970s. It is how we spent 5 years on our Yoga Psychology book, and it is how we write for our website. I find this approach is very much, very frequently misunderstood within IY circles as “mentalizing”, and in fact, this misunderstanding has led me recently to conclude it’s not possible to have a reasonable, intelligent discussion on Auroconference, which is the main online group of the IY community (about 200 sadhaks in the group).

        What a striking difference here – Bhaga has an undeniable depth of devotion and bhakti, and an exquisite sensitivity to the body consciousness, yet also understands that, this being an INTEGRAL yoga, one can work equally with the mind, on a basis of inner silence, opening to psychic and higher intuition.

        That is, as badly as I state it, what I was attempting to follow through on in my comment about Mother’s statements in the Agenda.

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  4. Bhaga
    Mar 26, 2014 @ 10:13:44

    Hi Don!
    Here I am again, with no cold… the concerned cells having done their job well, with all the sincere aspiration they too have to manifest the Divine Perfection they are more and more aware of being part of.
    I am very happy with learning about what you and Jan are doing these days to counteract the vibrations that tend to bring a cold. Congratulations also for the biofeedback training you have actively and so successfully participated in. This is, among other things, the kind of experiments I would have liked to have going also at the Laboratory of Evolution since its beginning in 1984, but we never got the space, the equipment and the specialists to conduct the experiments and keep track of them, so it never happened yet here.
    Luckily, for cellular consciousness to discretely develop in your own body, you don’t need anything external, so this has progressed quite nicely since around 1978 when I became for the first time directly conscious of a crowd of cells in one part of my body. Their number and degree of consciousness have increased by leaps and bounds since then, to my complete amazement, giving me all the work I could wish for as a researcher-cum-voluntary-guinea-pig, not only for observing and noting down all the progresses I discover day after day, but also for verifying from personal experience some of what Mother speaks of in her “Agenda” when it’s about her own cellular experiences.
    The ‘precision’ I was talking about in my first reply to you, regarding the way Mother speaks, was actually above all regarding those cellular experiences, which were the main topic of my post, almost entirely straight from the “Agenda”. Sorry if my own way of speaking hasn’t been precise enough to make that clear from the start!… ;-D

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  5. donsalmon
    Mar 26, 2014 @ 11:23:24

    hi again – here’s the passage from Synthesis. (From the chapter “The Intuitive Mind”). He describes several methods, then goes on to describe developing the intellect by gradually “intuitivising” it. I find as a musician – particularly improvising – the “method” of opening to the psychic intuition is more prominent, particularly when improvising with dancers. When writing about science and IY, this 4th method is more prominent. But I also find the other 2 methods particularly useful in the midst of action. As usual, it is “integral”, not one or the other!

    A fourth method is one which suggests itself naturally to the developed intelligence and suits the thinking man. This is to
    Page – 775
    develop our intellect instead of eliminating it, but with the will not to cherish its limitations, but to heighten its capacity, light, intensity, degree and force of activity until it borders on the thing that transcends it and can easily be taken up and transformed into that higher conscious action. This movement also is founded on the truth of our nature and enters into the course and movement of the complete Yoga of self-perfection. That course, as I have described it, included a heightening and greatening of the action of our natural instruments and powers till they constitute in their purity and essential completeness a preparatory perfection of the present normal movement of the Shakti that acts in us. The reason and intelligent will, the buddhi, is the greatest of these powers and instruments, the natural leader of the rest in the developed human being, the most capable of aiding the development of the others. The ordinary activities of our nature are all of them of use for the greater perfection we seek, are meant to be turned into material for them, and the greater their development, the richer the preparation for the supramental action.
    The intellectual being too has to be taken up by the Shakti in the Yoga and raised to its fullest and its most heightened powers. The subsequent transformation of the intellect is possible because all the action of the intellect derives secretly from the supermind, each thought and will contains some truth of it however limited and altered by the inferior action of the intelligence. The transformation can be brought about by the removal of the limitation and the elimination of the distorting or perverting element. This however cannot be done by the heightening and greatening of the intellectual activity alone; for that must always be limited by the original inherent defects of the mental intelligence. An intervention of the supramental energy is needed that can light up and get rid of its deficiencies of thought and will and feeling. This intervention too cannot be completely effective unless the supramental plane is manifested and acts above the mind no longer from behind a lid or veil, however thin the veil may have grown, but more constantly in an open and luminous action till there is seen the full sun of Truth with no cloud to moderate its splendour. It is not necessary, either, to develop the intellect fully in its separateness before calling down this
    Page – 776
    intervention or opening up by it the supramental levels. The intervention may come in earlier and at once develop the intellectual action and turn it, as it develops, into the higher intuitive form and substance.
    The widest natural action of the Shakti combines all these methods. It creates, sometimes at first, sometimes at some later, perhaps latest stage, the freedom of the spiritual silence. It opens the secret intuitive being within the mind itself and accustoms us to refer all our thought and our feeling and will and action to the initiation of the Divine, the Splendour and Power who is now concealed in the heart of its recesses. It raises, when we are ready, the centre of its operations to the mental summit and opens up the supramental levels and proceeds doubly by an action from above downward filling and transforming the lower nature and an action from below upwards raising all the energies to that which is above them till the transcendence is completed and the change of the whole system integrally effected. It takes and develops the intelligence and will and other natural powers, but brings in constantly the intuitive mind and afterwards the true supramental energy to change and enlarge their action. These things it does in no fixed and mechanically invariable order, such as the rigidity of the logical intellect might demand, but freely and flexibly according to the needs of its work and the demand of the nature.

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    • Bhaga
      Mar 26, 2014 @ 12:12:50

      Wonderful quote from Sri Aurobindo, Don, thank you for bringing it here!
      Oh yes, our mind too can aspire and be gradually transformed into its true way of being and functioning, so as to happily play its true role in our life, among the other parts of our outer nature that are also undergoing their own progress towards their Divine Nature – full supramentalization included some day, if we are patient and persistent and trustful enough!… With the help of the Divine Grace, nothing is impossible, we just have to keep at it, the more joyfully the better.

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      • donsalmon
        Mar 26, 2014 @ 12:38:00

        and an even more important point:

        (from the passage quoted above)

        “The subsequent transformation of the intellect is possible because all the action of the intellect derives secretly from the supermind, each thought and will contains some truth of it however limited and altered by the inferior action of the intelligence.”

        in the Kena Upanishad, Sri Aurobindo specifically (precisely!!) draws links between the 4 functions of the supermind – sanjnana, prajnana, vijnana and ajnana – and shows their parallels – derivatives, if you like – in the ordinary mind (sensation, perception, intellect and volition).

        We made this the (hidden, somewhat) basis of our entire 400+ page book on integral yoga psychology. When you look closely at any moment of perception (particularly in regard to the activity of the cells of the body) at times, if you are silent enough to perceive the eternal calm from which the Word is ever proceeding, you can almost detect the Higher Force “forming” the vibrations which in our surface mind are “translated” into the (apparent) material/physical world we ignorantly take to be Real. And if you persist (who are “you”!:>)) the ignorant apparent world takes on a Divine form and is seen to be no other than That.

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  6. donsalmon
    Mar 26, 2014 @ 11:29:10

    hmm, i’m on a roll, as they say here in the states (a less kind description would be I’m being a bit compulsive in writing here today:>))

    This statement of Sri Aurobindo’s caught my attention: “The reason and intelligent will, the buddhi, is the greatest of these powers and instruments, the natural leader of the rest in the developed human being, the most capable of aiding the development of the others.”

    it was a discussion about this a few weeks ago on Auroconf that led me to realize that intelligent discussion on that forum was not possible; or at least, not likely.

    If there is any one thing that has plagued the IY community from at least the 1930s (Sri Aurobindo actually has written specifically about this, as Mother as as well) it is this refusal to acknowledge one’s ordinary humanity – at least, no matter how “psychicized”, “intuitivized”, etc, the acknowledgement that there are moments when the highest, or best instrument one has at a particular moment is the buddhi. What happens instead – and we see it in Auroville/Ashram conflicts, in intra-Ashram conflicts and in all kinds of arguments and conflicts in IY communities around the world – what happens instead is reason is abandoned in the belief one is “surrendering” and the lower vital is then given free reign, under the guise of “following the dictates of the Force”, when the only force being followed is the prana shakti of one’s gut (or lower!)

    Forgive me, please, this mini-rant. I think there is a deep sadness I’ve been feeling the last few weeks to see this same issue surfacing, one that led me frequently over the years to separate myself from various IY communities, then returning when there was a glimpse of hope there might be another possibility. I do think things have improved overall over the years – particularly as the 1960s generation ages and a younger, more enlightened group emerges, one not so prone to the vital indulgence so common to my age group and older.

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    • Bhaga
      Mar 26, 2014 @ 12:37:46

      Don’t worry, Don, your expressing how you feel about all this helps me a lot to come in contact with the context you come from and have grown inwardly with in the US, which is quite different from what I have experienced myself, here in Auroville since 1972.
      The disappointment and to some extent sadness and distress you’re feeling are actually not very surprising, and I have felt the same here very often. But nowadays I see it more as a way for the Divine to show us we shouldn’t count on the approval of others, or even their understanding, for what is our own way, inevitably individualized, to live this IY, at the same time so complex and so simple to practice.- what I call ‘Mother’s Five Point Programme’ comes to my mind once again, the recommendation I give to all my visitors in an older post of mine here on this blog, under that very title… Even a child could do the Yoga in that way, and for many adults who take themselves too seriously, it is a great way to become childlike again, with the complete trust in the Divine Mother that our Psychic Being has and can give to all the other parts of our being.

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      • donsalmon
        Mar 26, 2014 @ 12:40:13

        “But nowadays I see it more as a way for the Divine to show us we shouldn’t count on the approval of others, or even their understanding”

        Ah, so true!

        “for many adults who take themselves too seriously, it is a great way to become childlike again, with the complete trust in the Divine Mother that our Psychic Being has and can give to all the other parts of our being.”

        You and I, Bhaga, are children playing in the sandbox together. please pass the shovel:>) how do you say, si vous plait? and if you’re nice I’ll share a piece of candy with you later.

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    • Bhaga
      Mar 26, 2014 @ 13:24:32

      I want now to come back to your original question, Don:
      “it seems that when Mother says something like, when you’re playing the piano, the hands become conscious independent of the brain,

      she’s using words in a free, colloquial manner. This seems clear further one when she describes sleepwalkers, or when the body is doing something and you’re “thinking” of something else.

      I think technically what she’s talking about, for example with the piano, is the cerebrum (which is associated with conscious thought) may be elsewhere but the brain stem, which controls movements of the hands – and without which the hands would be completely inert – may be active.”

      This is exactly the important point, the crucial one we have to realize once and for all
      Besides the brain as such and whatever part of it that may be involved, or not, in doing something, there is ALWAYS also, at least equally needed, the involvement of the part of the body that is actually doing it in the end.
      That part necessarily has to some extent a consciousness of its own, in all its cells, and it is that consciousness in that part itself that grows and develops as it does a certain action again and again, more and more often, and in certain cases better and better – usually but not necessarily because the individual trains that part of his or her body to do that action.

      The consciousness so developed exists independently of the physical part, of the physical cells composing that part. Those cells become more conscious, but their consciousness itself, once sufficiently developed in that way, exists as such and can remain independently in the form that the physical hands had, even after the death of the individual, in the subtle-physical, available again to the same being if that same soul wants to use it again in another lifetime (child prodigies with a certain extraordinary talent have done just that); or it can be used by another being as well, whose hands will then show the same skill that had been acquired in another lifetime by the cells of the hands of another musician.
      Somewhere in ‘Questions & Answers’ Mother gives examples of that, which she has herself known.

      Do you mind, Don, if I make of this reply the beginning of the next post I had planned to write exactly on all this, precisely because i know this is what most people have trouble understanding and accepting as the central fact when we speak of ‘the consciousness of the cells’?

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      • Bhaga
        Mar 26, 2014 @ 13:41:14

        P.S. I forgot to tell you I’ll be very nice, and if you are too, you too can have some of my candy as well! 😀

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      • donsalmon
        Mar 26, 2014 @ 15:38:32

        (I like anything mint flavored!) – and don’t worry too much about being nice – we can playfully “fight”

        unfortunately for our play fight, though, I’m afraid I agree with what you wrote above. The consciousness independent of the material covering we call our “hands” – the image we see which we mistake for “matter” – all that seems to me clear in your post.

        Also in your statement “however much the brain may be involved” acknowledging the brain sending nerve messages to the hands, fits what I was saying too.

        I’ll just add something I’d like you to reflect on for your post – I think it’s funny that we speak about the “brain” AND the “body.”

        Is there a separation (I know you didn’t mean it, but sometimes our casual use of words may mislead us).

        Dan Siegel frequently has talks with his teenage daughter about this issue. He goes to great length to talk about the brain-in-the-body, making clear that they are inseparable, and that there are also “brains’ throughout the body (there’s the three brains in our head – the instinctive, emotional and thinking brains) and the heart brain (4th chakra) and enteric nervous system (central and lower vital, or 3rd and 2nd chakras) and who knows what else. She’ll say, “Dad, why do you even talk about the brain-body? Why not just say “the body” since it’s all one body, and then add that the “brain” is at the upper end of the body, and the feet at the lower end!?

        So, just something to think about while you’re trying out the mints and caramel.

        And in fact, just to be fun, Dan also goes to great lengths to talk about brain/body/mind/relationships meaning we can’t put the mind or brain in the body but because we are all so inseparably interlinked there is only an unbroken field of awareness. (or consciousness, if you prefer – well, he doesn’t go quite that far, but comes close)

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