When we fixate on the fulfillment of the body-life-mind complex in our external being, the exclusive concentration involved helps us to temporarily lose sight of the larger Oneness of which all are a part. We then put ourselves in opposition to other aspects of the one Reality and treat each part as separate and distinct. This sets up a sense of competition, an artificial fight over control of limited resources, and a sense of self-aggrandisement that engages in a “win-lose” battle to survive and thrive, rather than a “win-win” participation in the universal manifestation by all. Modern day urban life tends to accentuate this feeling of separation and disassociation, and thereby exacerbates our feelings of isolation and disconnectedness. This is one reason that the Mother stresses the opportunity to commune with Nature and the universal forces that act through Nature, as these artificial distinctions disappear, the mind and emotions can open to the wider reality, and a new understanding, albeit not necessarily an intellectual understanding, has a chance to permeate the being.

The Mother writes: “I knew young people who had always lived in cities — in a city and in those little rooms one has in the big cities in which everyone is huddled. Now, they had come to spend their holidays in the countryside, in the south of France, and there the sun is hot, naturally not as here but all the same it is very hot (when we compare the sun of the Mediterranean coasts with that of Paris, for example, it truly makes a difference), and so, when they walked around the countryside the first few days they really began to get a terrible headache and to feel absolutely uneasy because of the sun; but they suddenly thought: ‘Why, if we make friends with the sun it won’t harm us any more!’ And they began to make a kind of inner effort of friendship and trust in the sun, and when they were out in the sun, instead of trying to bend double and tell themselves, ‘Oh! how hot it is, how it burns!’, they said, ‘Oh, how full of force and joy and love the sun is!’ etc., they opened themselves like this (gesture), and not only did they not suffer any longer but they felt so strong afterwards that they went round telling everyone who said ‘It is hot’ — telling them ‘Do as we do, you will see how good it is.’ And they could remain for hours in the full sun, bare-headed and without feeling any discomfort. It is the same principle.”

“It is the same principle. They linked themselves to the universal vital force which is in the sun and received this force which took away all that was unpleasant to them.”

“When one is in the countryside, when one walks under the trees and feels so close to Nature, to the trees, the sky, all the leaves, all the branches, all the herbs, when one feels a great friendship with these things and breathes that air which is so good, perfumed with all the plants, then one opens oneself, and by opening oneself communes with the universal forces. And for all things it is like that.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, General Methods and Principles, Recuperating One’s Energies, pp. 17-22

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.