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The Outside World

sa sunlit 3

Some of us are not fortunate enough to leave everything and move to the Ashram in sole pursuit of the Divine. We may be drawn by the idea, aspiring for a glimpse, but as yet, unable to give up living in the ‘outside’ world. Is it possible then to combine both our aspiration and our circumstances and move forward? Sri Aurobindo tells us how.

The best way to prepare oneself for the spiritual life when one has to live in the ordinary occupations and surroundings is to cultivate an entire equality and detachment and the samatà of the Gita with the faith that the Divine is there and the Divine Will at work in all things even though at present under the conditions of a world of Ignorance. Beyond this are the Light and Ananda towards which life is working, but the best way for their advent and foundation in the individual being and nature is to grow in this spiritual equality. That would also solve your difficulty about things unpleasant and disagreeable. All unpleasantness should be faced with this spirit of samatà.

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When one is living in the world, one cannot do as in an Ashram – one has to mix with others and keep up outwardly at least ordinary relations with others. The important thing is to keep the inner consciousness open to the Divine and grow in it. As one does that, more or less rapidly according to the inner intensity of the sadhana, the attitude towards others will change. All will be seen more and more in the Divine and the feelings, actions, etc. will more and more be determined, not by the old external reactions, but by the growing consciousness within you.

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The difficulty which you experience from relatives and others is always one that intervenes as an obstacle when one has to practise the sadhana in ordinary or unfavourable surrounding. The only way to escape from it is to be able to live in oneself in one’s inner being – which becomes possible when the responsiveness and luminosity of which you speak in your letter increase and become normal, for then you are constantly aware of your inner being and even live in it – the outer becomes an instrument, a means of communication and action in the outer world. It is then possible to make the relations with people outside free from tie or necessary reaction – one can determine from within one’s own reaction or absence of reaction: there is a fundamental liberation from the external nexuses – of course, if one wills it to be so.

Sri Aurobindo