Mental health is generally understood as an absence of marked psychological disturbances such as fear, anxiety, depression, insecurity, restlessness, anger, jealousy, suspicion, etc. However it is increasingly felt that it is not the mere absence of these elements, but the presence of certain positive characteristics imparting a sense of psychological well-being such as peace, inner security, confidence, a sense of mastery, that should denote mental health. Moreover, the constant chatter and distractibility of the mind, the perpetual hankering for different objects of desire, and the recurrent pull of inertia are also states of psychological disturbance which mar inner well-being.
Yoga is a psychological approach which aims at a radical change of consciousness so as to lead to a state of peace, freedom and joy.
This book presents some of the principles and methods of Sri Aurobindo's integral yoga for overcoming psychological disturbances and for attaining positive mental health.
Well, there is a static power. How to explain it to you? Look, there is the same difference between static power and dynamic power as between a game of defence and a game of attack; you understand? It is the same thing. Static power is something which can withstand everything, nothing can shake it -- it is immobile, but it is invincible.
Dynamic power is something in action, which at times goes forth and may at times receive blows. That is to say, if you want your dynamic power to be always victorious, it must be supported by a considerable static power, an unshakeable base. I know what you want to say... that a human being becomes aware of power only when it is dynamic; a human being doesn't consider it a power except when it acts; if it doesn't act he does not even notice it, he does not realise the tremendous force which is behind this inaction - at times, even frequently, a force more formidable than the power which acts. But you may try it out in yourself, you will see, it is much difficult to remain calm, immobile, unshakeable before something very unpleasant -- whether it be words or acts levelled against you -- infinitely more difficult than to answer with the same violence.
Suppose someone insults you; if in the face of these insults you can remain immobile (not only outwardly, I mean integrally), without being shaken or touched in any way; you are there like a force against which one can do nothing and you do not say a word, all the insults thrown at you leave you absolutely untouched, within and without; you can keep your heart-beats absolutely quiet, you can keep the thoughts in your head quite immobile and calm without their being in the least disturbed, that is, your head does not answer immediately by similar vibrations and your nerves don't feel clenched with the need to return a few blows to relieve themselves; if you can be like that, you have a static power, and it is infinitely more powerful than if you had that kind of force which makes you answer insult by insult, blow by blow and agitation by agitation.
- The Mother
About the Authors:
Born in Paris in 1878, the Mother studied painting at an art studio and became an accomplished artist. Primarily interested in inner development, she was associated with several groups of spiritual seekers in France.
In 1914 she journeyed to India to meet the Indian mystic Sri Aurobindo in Puducherry and settled there permanently in 1920. For nearly fifty years, she was the head of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, from its founding in 1926 until her passing in 1973. She also established a school, the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, in 1952, and an international township, Auroville, in 1968.
Sri Aurobindo was an Indian/Hindu nationalist, scholar, poet, mystic, evolutionary philosopher, yogi and guru. After a short political career in which he became one of leaders of the early movement for the freedom of India from British rule, Sri Aurobindo turned to the development and practice of a new spiritual path which he called the "integral yoga," the aim of which was to further the evolution of life on earth by establishing a high level of spiritual consciousness which he called the Supermind that would represent a divine life.
Sri Aurobindo wrote prolifically in English on his spiritual philosophy and practice, on social and political development, on Indian culture including extensive commentaries and translations of ancient Indian scriptures, on literature and poetry including the writing of much spiritual poetry.