By Pulkit Sharma
Pulkit Sharma offers four techniques with which to combat the onslaught of negativity upon our being, and rest secure in the positive
it is not easy to live in today's times because negativity presses upon us from all sides. The relentless speed of modern times coupled with the rapid rate of obsolescence is a huge source of stress as we struggle and strive to stay abreast of trends. The spiralling rise of consumerism has brought with it envy, heart-ache, greed, competitiveness and environmental degradation. Terrorism is on the rise, mindless violence against women and children have increased alarmingly, and the politics of hate seems to have spread across the planet. But none of this is cause for despair, for each of us is equipped with a psychic armoury that can help us to combat the darkness and let in the light. According to Sri Aurobindoand The Mother, the founders of Integral Yoga, the adverse forces confronting humanity are nothing but a shadow that augur the presence of a powerful light _ our own inner divinity.
In the epic poem, Savitri, Sri Aurobindo explains that adverse forces and pain are also a creation of the Divine. If there was no pain, we would be comfortably caught up in inertia. Only pain forces us to question various illusions and seek truth. Instead of being perturbed by adverse forces we need to align all our energy to invoke and manifest the Divine light at an individual and collective level. This may seem a daunting task but Integral Yoga offers us four simple and powerful self-transforming techniques to accomplish this:
1.Allow the ‘psychic being’ to lead
Our self is multi-layered and consists of the following parts _ the physical (body), the vital (all our emotions, passions and desires), the mental (higher reasoning and cognitive capacity) and the psychic being (the dynamic representation of the soul or the Divine element within us). We lack complete awareness of our self and as a result these different parts are not unified and often get trapped in conflict. The vital is egoistic and carries a false sense of separateness. It has a lot of energy, and is extremely sensitive to pleasure and pain. Therefore, it cleverly manages to ignore the voice of the psychic and influences the mind and the body to work according to its wishes. As a result, the vital surrenders to all adverse forces coming from within and outside the individual. Sri Aurobindo believed that a genuine spiritual conversion can begin only when the psychic being takes charge of the consciousness, and the physical, vital and mental parts function as its instruments. When the psychic leads us, we can see through the falsehood of adverse forces and rise above their influence. Then our only goal is to live in the truth which is full of goodness, godliness and delight.
Giving the charge of our consciousness to the psychic being is not easy because of resistance from the lower parts of the self. However, through the process of intense ‘aspiration’ we can break this resistance. We need to cultivate a constant and sincere aspiration which burns like a flame throughout the day and the night to connect to the psychic and lead life as per its guidance. Gradually and powerfully, this aspiration works to discover the psychic being and bring it to centrestage. Once the psychic being holds the reins of our consciousness, it marches towards the light because it knows only the light and nothing else.
2. Think positive
Our default state is to be negative. The mind swings compulsively from past traumas, to present injuries and future anxieties. Each such negative thought creates a charge that impacts our psyche, and if left unchanged, can affect our behaviour and form our character. Furthermore, the habitual nature of your thoughts will attract similar events and circumstances in your life. Positive thoughts will attract positive events and elements while negative thinking may invite adverse events. If we want to transcend various shadows and live in the light, then we must pay attention to our thoughts and shape them carefully. Under all circumstances, our aim should be to make more and more positive intentions. According to The Mother, a positive formation or intention is not just a good thought or a fleeting idea but a detailed story of truth, beauty and harmony. We must carefully work with all our attention and force on all its elements including imageries, characters, background, melody and spirit till it becomes perfect. Then we should hand over the formation to The Divine with a prayer to make it happen.
3. Transform the negativity
The root cause of all the negativity that we experience is our ego. We resist getting what we don't want as much as we resist not getting what we want. The ego suffers relentlessly when it does not get pleasure and has to deal with frustration. But have you noticed that no two people react with the same intensity to the same stimulus? If two people are denied leave, one may pull a long face and vilify the boss, while the other may take it in his stride. The difference lies in how each perceives suffering, which not only determines the intensity of pain but also the time taken to heal completely. Sri Aurobindo pointed out that once we accept that suffering is not an aberration but a part of the Divine plan to encourage us to grow, there is a huge change in our perspective. We stop being negative and are able to develop a higher perspective that transcends the small boundaries of our body, ego and mind. This self-expansion enables us to quickly fight negativity and remain joyful under any set of circumstances.
We also need to work rigorously to eliminate each and every negative aspect that exists in our system so that our being becomes receptive to the light. Everything within us that resists this transformation needs to be changed. It is helpful to scrupulously note down all the negativity that exists in our actions, emotions, thoughts and dreams and constantly strive to overcome it because it is not in line with our ultimate goal. We often make the choicest offerings to the Divine based on our abilities and resources. However, the Divine is also happy to receive our candid confessions and the negative parts that we are struggling with. All the negativity should be honestly offered to the Divine with a prayer that either it should be transformed into positivity or obliterated completely. When our hard work is blessed by Divine grace, the negative vanishes.
4. Surrender to the Divine
Even seekers may sometimes refuse to surrender to the Divine, because the idea of giving themselves appears scary and illogical. The Mother believed that the essence of yoga is a union with the Divine and this union can happen only when one offers oneself completely to the Divine. If an aspirant does not surrender then yoga is not possible because the darkness will continue to destroy any progress made. Surrender is an open and joyful self-giving to the Divine consciousness from which we have emanated. Then there is no room for dark forces in our consciousness. A complete surrender should not be confused with any activity because it is rather a state of being. One offers total self with all its layers, qualities, imperfections, habits and tendencies to the Divine and then allows the greater Consciousness to guide and reform oneself. By following this direction the individual becomes a reflection and instrument of the real truth in the way that the Divine wants him to be. The Mother maintained that real transformation is the one in which every part of our being whether big or small has to be divinised. There is no need to disavow or run away from any part within us but to encourage it to experience the light. This transformation can be brought by letting our true self assume charge, keeping positive and working on negativity with a complete faith and surrender to the Divine. We can permanently exist in the abode of light provided everything within us seeks, receives and reflects light without any hesitation. Then there are no shadows but only the light.
Pulkit Sharma is Clinical Psychologist and Spiritual Therapist at Imago- Centre for Self
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