[In the path of Integral yoga, Aspiration – Rejection are two inseparable aspects of the preparatory discipline. Aspiration means constant, continuous and focused turning of all our being on the divine ideal. Rejection means elimination of all that are contrary to the ideal. Both are equally necessary for a smooth and safe progress in the path. But most of the new age teachings tend to ignore the “negative” aspect of the discipline made of rejection and purification. Here are some illuminating perspectives from the Mother on the discipline of aspiration – rejection followed by a commentary.]
The aspiration must be very vigilant. I have known people (many, not only a few, I mean among those who do yoga), I have known many who, every time they had a fine aspiration, and their aspiration was very strong and they received an answer to this aspiration, every time, the very same day or at the latest the next day, they had a complete setback of consciousness and were facing the exact opposite of their aspiration. Such things happen almost constantly. Well, these people have developed only the positive side. They make a kind of discipline of aspiration, they ask for help, they try to come into contact with higher forces, they succeed in this, they have experiences; but they have completely neglected cleaning their room; it has remained as dirty as ever, and so, naturally, when the experience has gone, this dirt becomes still more repulsive than before.
One must never neglect to clean one’s room, it is very important; inner cleanliness is at least as important as outer cleanliness. Vivekananda has written (I don’t know the original, I have only read the French translation): “One must every morning clean one’s soul and one’s body, but if you don’t have time for both, it is better to clean the soul than clean the body.”
The Mother, CWM
We tend to think rejection as a “negative” discipline and aspiration as “positive.” If our judgment is based on the nature of discipline then this may be true but if it is based on its impact on our consciousness, we get a different perspective. An enlightened discipline of rejection may have a very positive impact on our mind and heart and conversely an ignorant aspiration may lead to hypocrisy and pretention.
Take for example rejection of gossip, criticism and judgement, which Sri Aurobindo and Mother repeatedly emphasized in their letters and conversations. When we put this discipline into practical…. not mechanically as an ethical credo or religious belief, but with a clear perception of its rationale and purpose, with a vigilant and sensitive self-observation which feels the negative inner results of these habits, rejecting not only the outer behavior, but also the inner impulses which lead to it…its impact is very positive; it brings greater charity, sympathy and understanding to our mind and heart. How can a discipline which brings such a positive impact are called as negative. How can something which makes you healthier be called negative?
Similarly, without rejection, our aspiration can not be pure and sincere. For example if I constantly criticize and judge people negatively, my aspiration for love, kindness, and compassion cannot be sincere because my speech and behavior are contrary to my aspiration. Vivekanada talks about cleaning our inner rooms but before cleaning I have to be conscious how dirty my inner house is. I am not even aware of the immense amount of dirt and filth hiding within the dark cellars of my mind and heart. Here comes the work of sincerity. As a quality, sincerity is a positive virtue. But when you look at the discipline of sincerity, as described by the Mother, it is a negative work of becoming more and more conscious of all the hundreds of insincerities, self deceptions, self- seeking and contradictions of our ego and desire, hiding in every nook and corner of our being… many of them behind noble disguises…, bring them to the light of consciousness and reject them. Without this constant work of sincerity our aspiration can’t be sincere. How can a true aspiration come out of the muddy swamp of unconscious and half conscious insincerities in which we live happy, contented and satisfied? There is the other positive aspect of sincerity which is to integrate all the parts of our being around our spiritual self which is the truth of our being. But this comes later, in the move advanced stages, when we become more and more conscious of this higher self beyond our ego. The first stage of the discipline is the process of purification. This is probably the reason why all the matured spiritual traditions of the world like Raja Yoga, Vedanta, Buddhism and Sufism, insists on the purification- practices as an indispensible preliminary discipline before moving on to the more aspirational practices like meditation, concentration, Introversion.