Whether consciously or subconsciously, suggestions reach the being from the outside world, in some cases impacting directly on the body, and in others through the mind or the vital being. When these suggestions arrive subconsciously, we only recognise the thought or feeling when it arises within us and we take “ownership” of it as our own. At this point, it is much more difficult to reject it as we have already let it in and made it part of our being! The first step, therefore, in overcoming the impact of suggestion on the being and its health is to actually begin to see and recognise it as it tries to enter and see that it is coming from an external source. Some people are able to develop the sensitivity of the vital envelope so they can feel the pressure on that vital sheath, and thus, use that to identify the incoming suggestion and reject those that are inimical to the health of the body, life or mind.

There is also the force of suggestion, in fact a very palpable force that can aid the being in strengthening it, supporting it and building up its ability to grow and resist the forces of illness and disintegration that pressure the being. Ideally, as one becomes sensitive to the incoming play of forces, the difference can be distinguished and those that are supportive allowed to work, while those that are harmful are rejected.

Some practitioners of yoga determine to rely entirely on this healing force and thus, avoid the use of medicinal substances. For many however, this is not workable as parts of the being may not have fully embraced and adapted to the working of the higher force, and thus, they continue to suffer under the pressure of illness or disease even though the mind and the heart potentially have recognised the need to open to that higher potentiality. The body in particular has a direct relationship to the physical, material world and thus, is particularly receptive to the use of medicines to act as physical carriers of an energy and vibration of healing. These medicines in some cases play an active role in and of themselves by releasing certain powers of healing and immunity within the being; while in other cases, they simply focus the being on the inner strength and, although not containing any specific active ingredients, help the body fend off the assault.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “A suggestion is not one’s own thought or feeling, but a thought or feeling that comes from outside, from others, from the general atmosphere or from external Nature, — if it is received, it sticks and acts on the being and is taken to be one’s own thought or feeling. If it is recognised as a suggestion, then it can be more easily got rid of. This feeling of doubt and self-distrust and hopelessness about oneself is a thing moving about in the atmosphere and trying to enter into people and be accepted; I want you to reject it, for its presence not only produces trouble and distress but stands in the way of restoration of health and return to the inner activity of the sadhana.”

“As for medical treatment it is sometimes a necessity. If one can cure by the Force as you have often done it is the best — but if for some reason the body is not able to respond to the Force (e.g. owing to doubt, lassitude or discouragement or for inability to react against the disease), then the aid of medical treatment becomes necessary. It is not that the Force ceases to act and leaves all to the medicines, — it will continue to act through the consciousness but take the support of the treatment so as to act directly on the resistance in the body, which responds more readily to physical means in its ordinary consciousness.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Disturbances of the Body and Physical Consciousness, Faith and Suggestion, pp. 94-98

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.