Book Highlight: Becoming One

Becoming One: The Psychology of Integral Yoga, compiled by Paulette Hadnagy, is a comprehensive compilation of the Mother’s conversations and writings on various psychological themes, which ultimately gives a broad view and introduction to what may be termed, the Psychology of Integral Yoga, the system of Yoga put forward by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

It also includes a few introductory articles on the subject authored by the compiler and an appendix containing relevant articles from other Integral Yoga scholars and disciples including Satprem, Nolini Kanta Gupta & Kishor Gandhi, plus other articles of interest connecting the psychological system of Integral Yoga to the systems of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.

The main theme presented in the book is the psychological task placed in front of each person: to unify themselves by becoming conscious of themselves, their many different parts and personalities, and discovering the psychic center within which has the power to organize and harmonize these different parts into an integral whole.

Subjects

Compilation headings include:

  • A Mission to Fulfill, a Role to Play: a Function That I Alone Can Execute
  • The Inconscient, The Subconscient and the Subliminal: The Necessity of the Ego
  • Ego, Desire, and Opening to Adverse Forces: Reason Must Be the Master
  • Thoughts are Forms Created by the Universal Mind
  • Individualisation: Master of Oneself and One’s Destiny
  • A Huge Black Shadow and the Corresponding Light
  • At the Least Opening Hostile Forces Rush In
  • Become as Conscious of Nights and Sleep as One is Conscious of Days
  • Dreams as Path of Self-Revelation
  • Meditation as Subjective Illusion Versus Dynamic Meditation and Concentration
  • Love: Supreme Power of Attraction and Irresistible Need for Self-giving

Excerpts

“To know oneself and control oneself”, what does this mean?

This means to be conscious of one’s inner truth, conscious of the different parts of one’s being and their respective functions. You must know why you do this, why you do that; you must know your thoughts, know your feelings, all your activities, all your movements, of what you are capable, etc. And to know oneself is not enough: this knowledge must bring a conscious control. To know oneself perfectly is to control oneself perfectly.

But there must be an aspiration at every moment. It is never too early to begin, never too late to continue. That is, even when you are quite young, you can begin to study yourself and know yourself and gradually to control yourself. And even when you are what is called “old”, when you are quite aged, it is not too late to make the effort to know yourself better and better and control yourself better and better. That is the Science of Living.

The Mother, Becoming One, pp.21-22

Each man has then a mission to fulfil, a role to play in the universe, a part he has been given to learn and take up in the cosmic Purpose, a part which he alone is capable of executing and none other. This he has to learn and acquire through life-experiences, that is to say, not in one life but in life after life. In fact, that is the meaning of the chain of lives that the individual has to pass through, namely, to acquire experiences and to gather from them the thread—the skein of qualities and attributes, powers and capacities—for the pattern of life he has to weave. Now, the inmost being, the true personality, the central consciousness of the evolving individual is his psychic being. It is, as it were, a very tiny spark of light lying in normal people far behind the life-experiences. In grown-up souls this psychic consciousness has an increased light—increased in intensity, volume and richness. Thus there are old souls and new souls. Old and ancient are those that have reached or are about to reach the fullness of perfection; they have passed through a long history of innumerable lives and developed the most complex and yet the most integrated personality. New souls are those that have just emerged or are now emerging out of the mere physico-vital existence; they are like simple organisms, made of fewer constituents related mostly to the bodily life, with just a modicum of the mental.

The Mother, Becoming One, p.33

The starting-point is what can be called the psychic discipline. We give the name “psychic” to the psychological centre of our being, the seat within us of the highest truth of our existence, that which can know this truth and set it in movement. It is therefore of capital importance to become conscious of its presence in us, to concentrate on this presence until it becomes a living fact for us and we can identify ourselves with it.

In various times and places many methods have been prescribed for attaining this perception and ultimately achieving this identification. Some methods are psychological, some religious, some even mechanical. In reality, everyone has to find the one which suits him best, and if one has an ardent and steadfast aspiration, a persistent and dynamic will, one is sure to meet, in one way or another—outwardly through reading and study, inwardly through concentration, meditation, revelation and experience—the help one needs to reach the goal. Only one thing is absolutely indispensable: the will to discover and to realise. This discovery and realisation should be the primary preoccupation of our being, the pearl of great price which we must acquire at any cost. Whatever you do, whatever your occupations and activities, the will to find the truth of your being and to unite with it must be always living and present behind all that you do, all that you feel, all that you think.

The Mother, Becoming One, p.121

Fundamentally, whatever be the path one follows—whether the path of surrender, consecration, knowledge—if one wants it to be perfect, it is always equally difficult, and there is but one way, one only, I know of only one: that is perfect sincerity, but perfect sincerity!

Do you know what perfect sincerity is?…

Never to try to deceive oneself, never let any part of the being try to find out a way of convincing the others, never to explain favourably what one does in order to have an excuse for what one wants to do, never to close one’s eyes when something is unpleasant, never to let anything pass, telling oneself, “That is not important, next time it will be better.”

The Mother, Becoming One, p.169

What is the way to take rest before going to sleep?

There are many methods, but I will give you one. First, your body must be comfortable, on a bed, in an easy-chair—anywhere so long as it is comfortable. Then you learn how to relax your nerves one after the other, until you achieve complete relaxation. You should relax all your nerves—you can relax them all together, but perhaps it is easier to relax them one after the other, and this becomes very interesting. And when that is done, you must make your brain quiet and silent and at the same time keep your body like a rag on the bed. You must make the brain so still and absolutely quiet that it is not aware of itself. And then, don’t try to sleep, but pass very gently from this state into sleep without being aware of it. When you wake up the next morning you will be full of energy. But if you go to bed very tired and without even trying to relax, to calm down, you will fall into a heavy, dull and unconscious sleep and the vital will lose all its energy. Perhaps this won’t have any immediate effect, but it is better to try it than to plunge into sleep when you are very tired.

If you relax very gently before going to sleep, you will feel great pleasure in going to sleep. If you manage to relax the nerves, even of only one arm or leg, you will see how pleasant it is. If you go to sleep with your nerves tense, you will have a very restless sleep and change position very often during the night. That kind of rest is no good.

The Mother, Becoming One, p.212

Human beings are in the habit of basing their relationships with others on physical, vital and mental contacts; that is why there is almost always discord and suffering. If, on the contrary, they based their relationships on psychic contacts (between soul and soul), they would find that behind the troubled appearances there is a profound and lasting harmony which can express itself in all the activities of life and cause disorder and suffering to be replaced by peace and bliss.

The Mother, Becoming One, pp.293-294

At first one loves only when one is loved.
Next, one loves spontaneously, but one wants to be loved in return.
Then one loves even if one is not loved, but one still wants one’s love to be accepted.
And finally one loves purely and simply, without any other need or joy than that of loving.

The Mother, Becoming One, p.302

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