LIFE AS IF WE WEREN’T EVEN HERE – SRI AUROBINDO – MERE
The ordinary life is that of the average human consciousness separated
from its own true self and from the Divine
and led by the common habits of the mind, life and body
which are the laws of the Ignorance.
The spiritual life, on the contrary, proceeds directly by a change of consciousness, a change from the ordinary consciousness, ignorant and separated from its own true self and from God, to a greater consciousness in which one finds one’s true being and comes first into direct and living contact and then into union with the Divine.
For the spiritual seeker this change of consciousness is
the one thing he seeks and nothing else matters.
He also mentions it in these verses from His epic Savitri:
All still was darkness dread and desolate;
There was no change, nor any hope of change.
In this black dream which was a house of Void,
A walk to Nowhere in a land of Nought,
Ever they drifted without aim or goal…
In the bazaar of a blind destiny,
A gift of priceless value from Time’s gods
Lost or mislaid in an uncaring world,
Life is a marvel missed, an art gone wry;
A seeker in a dark and obscure place,
An ill-armed warrior facing dreadful odds,
An imperfect worker given a baffling task,
An ignorant judge of problems Ignorance made,
Its heavenward flights reach closed and keyless gates,
Its glorious outbursts peter out in mire.
Absorbed they lived in the passion of the scene,
But knew not who they were or why they lived:
Content to breathe, to feel, to sense, to act,
Life had for them no aim save Nature’s joy
And the stimulus and delight of outer things;
Identified with the spirit’s outward shell,
They worked for the body’s wants, they craved no more.
The narrow horizon of their days was filled
With things and creatures that could help and hurt:
The world’s values hung upon their little self.
Isolated, cramped in the vast unknown,
To save their small lives from surrounding Death
They made a tiny circle of defence
Against the siege of the huge universe:
They preyed upon the world and were its prey,
But never dreamed to conquer and be free.
People usually do things so automatically and spontaneously, without watching themselves doing them, that if they were to ask themselves how it comes about, they would require some time before the process becomes conscious to them. You are so used to living that you don’t even know how it happens.
All the gestures and movements of life are made spontaneously,
automatically, almost unconsciously,
in a semi-conscious state,
and one doesn’t even realise this very simple fact that in order to do something, one must ﬁrst know what one is going to do and then must want to do it.
One throws oneself out all the time;
all the time one lives, as it were, outside oneself, in such
a superﬁcial sensation that it is almost as
though one were outside oneself.
As soon as one wants even to observe oneself a little, control oneself a little, simply know what is happening, one is always obliged to draw back or pull towards oneself, to pull inwards something which is constantly like that, on the surface.
And it is this surface thing which meets all external contacts, puts you in touch with similar vibrations coming from others.
That happens almost outside you. That is the constant dispersal
of the ordinary consciousness
That is the attitude of men in general: they come into life, they don’t know why; they know that they will live a certain number of years, they don’t know why; they think that they will have to pass away because everybody passes away, and they again don’t know why; and then,
most of the time they are bored because they have nothing in themselves, they are empty beings and there is nothing more boring than emptiness;
and so they try to ﬁll this by distraction,
they become absolutely useless, and when they reach the end they have wasted their whole existence, all their possibilities – and everything is lost. This you will see: take a thousand men, out of them at least nine hundred and ninety are in this condition.
It happens that they are born in certain circumstances or certain others, and they try, you see, to pass their time as well as they can, to be bored as little as possible,
to suffer as little as possible, to have as good a time as possible; and everything
is dull, lifeless, useless, stupid, and absolutely
without any result.
Then the being enters a sort of torpor, its physical needs of food and sleep increase, its intelligence is clouded, its inner vision veiled, and in spite of the little interest it really finds in such superficial activities, they occupy it almost exclusively.
This state is extremely painful and tiring,
for nothing is more tiring than materialistic thoughts, and the mind, worn out, suffers like a caged bird which cannot spread its wings
and yet longs to be able to soar freely.
Why don’t you let your mind free to spread its wings?
Nothing is more worthwhile.
This is the majority of human beings, and they don’t even think.. they don’t even ask themselves,
“But indeed, why am I here? Why is there an earth?
Why are there men? Why do I live?”
No, all these things are absolutely uninteresting.
The only interesting thing is to try to eat well, to have good fun, be nicely distracted, well married, have children, earn money and have all the advantages one can get from the point of view of desires,
and above all, above all not think, not reﬂect, not ask
any questions, and avoid all trouble.
Yes, and then get out of it like that, without too many catastrophes.
This is the general condition; this is what men call being reasonable. And in this way the world can turn round indefinitely for eternity, it will never progress.
And this is why all these are like ants; they come, crawl, die, go away, come back, crawl again, die again, and so on.
Why all this noise, all this movement, this vain
and futile agitation;
why this whirlwind carrying men away like a swarm of ﬂies caught in a storm?
How sad is the sight of all that wasted energy,
all those useless efforts!
When will they stop dancing like puppets on a string, pulled they know not by whom or what? When will they ﬁnd time to sit quietly and go within,
to recollect themselves and open that inner door
which screens from them Thy priceless treasures, Thy inﬁnite boons? . . . How sorrowful and miserable seems to me their life of ignorance and obscurity, their life of mad agitation and unprofitable dispersion! – when one single spark of Thy sublime light, one single drop of Thy divine love, can transform this suffering into an ocean of delight! O Lord, my prayer soars towards Thee:
May they know at last Thy peace and that calm and irresistible strength
which comes of an immutable serenity –
the privilege of those whose eyes have been opened and who are able to contemplate Thee in the ﬂaming core of their being.