When an illness strikes the body, its energy must go to recuperation and rebuilding its basic strength. For a practitioner of yoga, as well as for those who have a developed mental or emotional consciousness, or an aesthetic sense, the recuperation and rebuilding phase can be irksome, as there is a desire to continue the normal activities and progress in whatever the individuals’ focus normally tends to be. We tend to begrudge the time needed for the body’s recuperation and we exhibit impatience and in some cases, we overdo the activity at too early a stage. These are due to the Guna of Rajas as it rebounds from the weakness and indolence associated with a serious health condition or illness. This tendency, however, needs to be both understood and rejected by the seeker. In order to do so, the individual needs to have a clear insight to the actual needs of the body and have the patience to supply those needs without disturbance. The body is an outstanding instrument when it is participating in the process, and having its basic requirements met. When it is struggling under some weakness, however, it needs support.

When there is a basic peace and equanimity in the being, it can abide even during physical discomforts or inconveniences, as well as illnesses and other bodily weaknesses. When this is operative in the being, the individual can take an attitude of calm towards the time and effort needed, while not ‘accepting’ the illness or weakness as something to be either welcomed or accepted, so that the energies of the mind, vital being and the body itself can be marshalled toward the recovery and strengthening of the body.

Sri Aurobindo notes; “[After an attach of influenza:] The first thing to do is to keep throughout a perfect equanimity and not to allow thoughts of disturbed anxietey or depression to enter you. It is quite natural after this severe attack of influenza that there should be weakness and some fluctuations in the progress to recovery. What you have to do is to remain calm and confident and not worry or be restless — be perfectly quiet and prepared to rest as long as rest is needed. There is nothing to be anxious about; rest, and the health and strength will come.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Disturbances of the Body and Physical Consciousness, Rest, Quiet, Goodwill, pp. 86-88

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.