We live in a world that prizes action and that continually impinges upon us with various information feeds and input from all directions. Quiet and stillness, the ability to remain calm without agitation or upset, the ability to achieve true peace in the mind, in the vital and nervous being and in the physical body, are generally not recognised as a true sign of strength. If we try to sit quietly for meditation, we find all kinds of thoughts churning through our minds. If we try to keep the body poised in stillness, we experience endless nervous twitches, discomforts or urges to move, signaling a vital and physical system that does not have the strength to simply ‘be’ rather than ‘do’. Some of this results from a trained attitude of impatience and drive for action, some from a mind that is not trained in concentration, some from nervous weakness, some from physical issues. Whatever the causes may be, as we work toward achieving stillness at each level of our being, we can observe and systematically work to resolve whatever these issues may be.

The Mother notes: “I have seen people, many people, who could not sit still for half an hour without fidgeting. They had to move a foot or a leg, or an arm or their head; they had to stir restlessly all the time, for they did not have the power or the strength to remain quiet.”

“This capacity to remain still when one wants to, to gather all one’s energies and spend them as one wishes, completely if one wants, or to apportion them as one wants in action, with a perfect calm even in action — that is always the sign of strength. It may be physical strength or vital strength or mental strength. But if you are in the least agitated, you may be sure there is a weakness somewhere; and if your restlessness is integral, it is an integral weakness.”

“So, if I tell someone, ‘Be calm’, I may be telling him all kinds of things, it depends upon each person. But obviously, most often it is, ‘Make your mind quiet, don’t be restless all the time in your head, don’t stir up lots of ideas, calm yourself.’ “

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Growing Within: The Psychology of Inner Development, Chapter IV Growth of Consciousness First Steps and Foundation, pp. 77-78

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 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.