There is the aspiration and dedication that the seeker recognises and treats as his true identity. Then there are all the thoughts, motives and actions that undermine or contradict in some manner that aspiration and dedication. Many people fail to recognise that this contradiction exists, as they have a built in mechanism in the mind and the vital to find excuses or to justify it. The vital is especially powerful in its ability to influence the mind and the mind is able to create justifications based on the vital self-interest that is pressuring it. It takes a considerable sincerity, and a considerable effort of self-examination and tracing back of the sources and motive forces of thoughts, emotions, feelings and actions for the seeker to break through this self-justifying loop. Who really can accurately see himself stripped of all these excuses, and recognise that vital desire, ego-aggrandisement, or motives of vanity, pride, fame, greed, lust or some other power is actually the force acting through the nature?

There is no “instant” solution for overcoming the force of the vital nature, the ego-personality and the mental process that supports the vital’s desires; rather, a systematic, detailed and careful examination, tracing back thoughts, feelings and actions to their roots, without any gloss of self-justification is what can accomplish the necessary step of actualizing the dedication, the aspiratoin, the consecration at all levels of the being.

The Mother notes: “To work for your protection, the first step is to become conscious of yourself, of the different parts of your being and their respective activities. You must learn to distinguish these different parts one from another, so that you may become clearly aware of the origin of the movements that occur in you, the many impulses, reactions and conflicting wills that drive you to action. It is an assiduous study which demands much perseverance and sincerity. For man’s nature, especially his mental nature, has a spontaneous tendency to give a favourable explanation for everything he thinks, feels, says and does. It is only by observing these movements with great care, by bringing them, as it were, before the tribunal of our highest ideal, with a sincere will to submit to its judgment, that we can hope to form in ourselves a discernment that never errs. For if we truly want to progress and acquire the capacity of knowing the truth of our being, that is to say, what we are truly created for, what we can call our mission upon earth, then we must, in a very regular and constant manner, reject from us or eliminate in us whatever contradicts the truth of our existence, whatever is opposed to it. In this way, little by little, all the parts, all the elements of our being can be organised into a homogenous whole around our psychic centre. This work of unification requires much time to be brought to some degree of perfection. Therefore, in order to accomplish it, we must arm ourselves with patience and endurance, with a determination to prolong our life as long as necessary for the success of our endeavour.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Our Many Selves: Practical Yogic Psychology, Chapter 4, Becoming Conscious, pp. 121-122

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 17 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.