| 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
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"
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