Sri Aurobindo - self delight, experience, etc.
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The Self-delight of being. Sri Aurobindo indicates that this conception of reality as the self-delight of being has practical consequences; and this is the most attractive and liberating part of his teaching. There is a "discovery" which we have yet to make, the discovery of the self-delight of being. When the discovery of self-delight of being is really made -- this is possible for everyone -- then we have mastered the great art of living. The habitual way of our life is to feel pain when things go wrong, and to fell pleasure, when they go according to our wishes. But, "there is no real obligation on us to return to a particular contact a particular response of pleasure, pain or neutral reaction, there is only an obligation of habit."
If we discover the real nature of our self as the self-delight of being, then we could alter the habitual mode of our living. "It is equally within our competence to return quite the opposite response, pleasure where we used to feel pain, pain where we used to have pleasure" -- Sama duhkha sukham, as the Gita says, a perfect gladness, or a perfect indifference in all situations of pain or pleasure.
The human individual has this destiny before him: "to become the master of his own responses to the world's contacts..." How this may be possible is the practical teaching of the 'Integral' yoga of Sri Aurobindo.
("quotes" from Sri Aurobindo "The Life Divine" p98 )

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Experience is a word that covers almost all the happenings in yoga; only when something gets settled, then it is no longer an experience but part of the siddhi; e.g. peace when it comes and goes is an experience - when it is settled and goes no more it is a siddhi. Realisation is different - it is when something for which you are aspiring becomes real to you; e.g. you have the idea of the Divine in all, but it is only an idea, a belief; when you feel or see the Divine in all, it becomes a realisation.

There is no law that a feeling cannot be an experience; experiences are of all kinds and take all forms in the consciousness.
When the consciousness undergoes, sees or feels anything spiritual or psychic or even occult, that is an experience - in the technical yogic sense, for there are of course all sorts of experiences that are not of that character. The feelings themselves are of many kinds. The word feeling is often used for an emotion, and there can be psychic or spiritual emotions which are numbered among yogic experiences, such as a wave of shuddhâ bhakti or the rising of love towards the Divine. A feeling also means a perception of something felt - a perception in the vital or psychic or in the essential substance of the consciousness. I find even often a mental perception when it is very vivid described as a feeling. If you exclude all these feelings and kindred ones and say that they are feelings, not experiences, then there is very little room left for experiences at all. Feeling and vision are the main forms of spiritual experience. One sees and feels the Brahman everywhere; one feels a force enter or go out from one; one feels or sees the presence of the Divine within or around one; one feels or sees the descent of Light; one feels the descent of Peace or Ananda. Kick out all that on the ground that it is only a feeling and you make a clean sweep of most of the things that we call experience. Again, we feel a change in the substance of the consciousness or the state of consciousness. We feel ourselves spreading in wideness and the body as a small thing in the wideness (this can be seen also); we feel the heart-consciousness being wide instead of narrow, soft instead of hard, illumined instead of obscure, the head-consciousness also, the vital, even the physical; we feel thousands of things of all kinds and why are we not to call them experience? Of course it is an inner sight, an inner feeling, subtle feeling, not material, like the feeling of a cold wind or a stone or any other object, but as the inner consciousness deepens it is not less vivid or concrete, it is even more so.

An experience is an unmistakable thing and must be given its proper value. The mind may exaggerate in thinking about it but that does not deprive it of its value.

It is not a question of giving an equal value to everything you do, but of recognising the value of all the different elements of the sadhana. No such rule can be made as that trances are of little value or that experiences are of inferior importance any more than it can be said that work is of no or inferior importance.

(originally in SABCL, volume 23, pages 877-927)
Quotes taken from http://intyoga.online.fr/exp_real.htm Sri Aurobindo Letters on Yoga, with thanks

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