We observe the effects of training and conditioning the body to reach its peak of efficiency and perfection in action. The mind, the vital ambition, both play into the ability to bring the body to a state where it can undertake to achieve things that most people cannot even imagine. Recently in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, we were given the opportunity to examine the interaction of the mind with the trained bodily awareness, when one of the premier gymnasts in the world withdrew from a number of events due to, as she explained it, a case of the “twistees” which was, simply explained, the mind interfering in the moment of action to confuse the highly conditioned body from simply carrying out the skills the body had internalized deeply. The danger was that she would lose track of the motion in mid-stream and come crashing down, with the threat of injury or death.

We learn of many cases where, after extensive conditioning of the body, it enters into what is known as the “zone” and can virtually automatically, without conscious input, act automatically to do what it has been trained to do, but in a state of supreme perfection and fluid action that does not involve immediate mental intervention.

The natural question arises that if the mental training and conditioning can accomplish so much to awaken the innate capabilities of the body and enhance overall performance, would it be possible to actually awaken the individual cells to conscious awareness, particularly if the higher consciousness, with capacities well beyond that of the mental intelligence, takes an active part in that process.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “These are some of the effects of the descent of higher Consciousness into the most physical. It brings light, consciousness, force, Ananda into the cells and all the physical movements. The body becomes conscious and vigilant and performs the right movements, obeying the higher will or else automatically by the force of the consciousness that has come into it. It becomes more possible to control the functions of the body and set right anything that is wrong, to deal with illness and pain, etc. A greater control comes over the actions of the body and even over happenings to it from outside, e.g. minimising of accidents and small mishaps. The body becomes a more effective instrument for work. It becomes possible to minimise fatigue. Peace, happiness, strength, lightness come in the whole physical system. These are the more obvious and normal results which grow as the consciousness grows but there are as many others that are possible. There is also the unity with the earth-consciousness, the constant sense of the Divine in the physical, etc. …”

“It is, of course, not easy to make the physical entirely conscious in this way — for it is the seat of unconsciousness and obscurity and inertia — but a partial and sufficiently effective introduction of the higher Consciousness can be established as a basis and the rest of the ground conquered as its force increases on the body.” Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 8, The Triple Transformation: Psychic, Spiritual and Supramental, The Spiritual Transformation, pp. 209-229

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 editor in chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.