THE ADVERSE FORCES
"[...]There is yet another difficulty. The vibrations coming from people or from the universal vital are not the only ones trying to disturb the seeker (actually, distinguishing between these two kinds is hardly possible since individuals are merely ground stations for the universal vital or the universal mind, and vibrations weave endlessly from the one to the other).
There is another type of vibrations, remarkable for their suddenness and violence; the seeker will literally feel these vibrations sweep over him massively; within seconds he becomes “a different person,” having totally forgotten his main purpose, his efforts, his goal, as if everything had been swept away, left devoid of meaning, disintegrated. These are what Sri Aurobindo and Mother call the adverse forces.
They are highly conscious forces whose sole aim, apparently, is to discourage the seeker and divert him from the path he has chosen. The first sign of their presence is easily perceptible; joy is clouded, consciousness is clouded, everything becomes shrouded in an atmosphere of melodrama and gloom. Personal distress is a sure sign of the enemy’s presence. Melodrama is a favorite haunt of these forces; that is how they are able to create the greatest havoc, because they play with a very old teammate within us, who cannot help loving melodrama even as he cries out for relief.
First, they generally make a point of forcing us into sudden, extreme, and irrevocable decisions in order to take us as far away as possible from our path — a pressing, exacting vibration that demands immediate compliance; or else, they take apart, with remarkable skill, the whole system of our quest to prove that we are deluding ourselves and that our efforts will come to nothing; more often, they bring about a state of depression, playing with another well-known teammate within us whom Sri Aurobindo calls the man of sorrows: “a fellow… covering himself with a sevenfold overcoat of tragedy and gloom, and he would not feel his existence justified if he couldn’t be colossally miserable.”
All the vibrations of disorder that we call “our” sorrow or “our” troubles have the immediate result of weakening or disintegrating our protective “field of snow,” which means that the door is wide open to the adverse forces. They have a thousand and one ways of attacking us — for we are indeed under attack — and the more determined we are, the more relentless they become. This may seem like an exaggeration, but only one who has never tried to make progress would doubt it.
As long as we move with the common herd, life is relatively easy, with its moderate ups and downs; but the moment we want to get out of the rut, a thousand forces rise up, suddenly very interested that we should behave “like everyone else,” then we realize how well organized the imprisonment is. We even realize that we can go as far downward as we can ascend, that our downward movements are in exact proportion to our capacity of ascent; many scales fall from our eyes.
If we are a little honest with ourselves, we see that we are capable of anything, and that, as Sri Aurobindo says, our virtue is a pretentious impurity. Only those who have never gone beyond the frontal personality can still harbor any illusion about themselves.
These adverse forces have been given all sorts of devilish and “negative “names through the world’s spiritual history, as if their sole aim were to damn the seeker and give decent people a hard time. The reality is somewhat different, for where is the devil if not in God?
If he is not in God, then there is not much left in God, because this world is evil enough, as are quite a few other worlds, so that not much would remain that is pure, except perhaps for a dimensionless and shadowless mathematical point. In reality, as experience shows, these disturbing forces have their place in the universe; they are disturbing only at the scale of our constricted momentary consciousness, and for a specific purpose.
Firstly, they always catch us with our defenses down—yet were we firm and one-pointed, they could not shake us for a second. In addition, if we look into ourselves instead of whining and blaming the devil or the world’s wickedness, we find that each of these attacks has exposed one of our many virtuous pretenses, or, as Mother says, has pulled off the little coats we put on to avoid seeing.
Not only do the little, or big, coats conceal our own weaknesses, they are everywhere in the world, hiding its small deficiencies as well as its Enormous conceit; and if the perturbing forces yank the coats a bit violently, it is not at random or with wanton malice, but to open our eyes and compel us to a perfection we might otherwise resist, because as soon as we have grasped hold of a grain of truth or a wisp of ideal, we have the unfortunate tendency to lock it up in an hermetic and impregnable construction, and to refuse to budge from there.
For the individual as for the world, these rather ungracious forces are instruments of progress. ”By what men fall, by that they rise,” says the Kularnava Tantra in its wisdom. We protest against the apparently useless and arbitrary “catastrophe” that strikes our heart or our flesh, and we blame the “Enemy,” but [as Sri Aurobindo pointed out] “is it not possible that the soul itself — not the outward mind, but the spirit within has accepted and chosen these things as part of its development in order to get through the necessary experience at a rapid rate, to hew through, durchhauen, even at the risk or the cost of much damage to the outward life and the body? To the growing soul, to the spirit within us, may not difficulties, obstacles, attacks be a means of growth, added strength, enlarged experience, training for spiritual victory?”
We complain against evil, but if it was not there to besiege and defy us, we would long ago have seized the eternal Truth and turned it into a nice, tidy piece of platitude. Truth moves on; it has legs; and the princes of darkness are there to make sure, however brutally, that it does not slumber.
“God’s negations are as useful to us as His affirmations” says Sri Aurobindo. “The Adversary will disappear only when he is no longer necessary in the world”, remarked Mother. “He is undoubtedly necessary, as is the touchstone for gold, to make sure we are true.” Indeed, God may not be a pure mathematical point, external to this world; perhaps He is all this world and all this impurity laboring and suffering to be-come perfect, and to remember Itself here on earth.
The method for dealing with these adverse forces is the same as for the other vibrations: silence, inner stillness that lets the storm blow over. We may not succeed the first time in dissolving these attacks, but more and more they will seem to take place on the surface of our being; we may be shaken, upset, yet deep down we will feel the “Witness” in us, unscathed and unaffected — he is never affected. We fall and get back up again, each time becoming stronger. The only sin is discouragement.
In practice, the seeker of the integral yoga [or any other integral esoteric work with the aim to awaken] will be far more exposed than others [since the seeker’s aim is a threat to the negative realm agenda] (Sri Aurobindo often said his yoga was a battle), because he seeks to embrace everything in his consciousness, without rejecting anything, and because there is not just one passage to open up to the bliss above, not just one guardian of the treasure to subdue, but many passages, to the right and the left and below, at every level of our being, and more than one treasure to discover."
~from Sri Aurobindo or The Adventure of Consciousness ~Satprem
YOUR DONATIONS ARE DEEPLY APPRECIATED!