December 13, 1960
During these last days, I was face to face with a problem as old as the world which had taken on an extraordinary intensity.
It's what Sri Aurobindo calls disbelief, and it's located in the most material physical consciousness – it isn't doubt (which mainly belongs to the mind), it is almost like a refusal to accept the obvious as soon as it doesn't belong to the little daily routine of ordinary sensations and reactions – a sort of incapacity to accept and recognize the exceptional.
This disbelief is the bedrock of the consciousness. And it comes with a... (“thought” is too big a word for such an ordinary thing) a mental-physical activity which makes you... (I am forced to use the word) “think” things and which always foresees, imagines or draws conclusions (depending on the case) in a way which I myself call DEFEATIST. In other words, it automatically leads you to imagine all the bad things that can happen. And this occurs in a realm which is absolutely run-of-the-mill, in the most ordinary, restricted, banal activities of life – such as eating, moving... in short, the coarsest of things.
It's fairly easy to manage and control this in the realm of thought, but when it comes to those reactions that rise up from the very bottom... they're so petty that you can barely express them to yourself. For example, if someone mentions that so-and-so ate such-and-such a thing, immediately something somewhere starts stealing in: “Ah, he's going to get a stomach-ache!” Or you hear that someone is going somewhere – “Oh, he's going to have an accident!”... And it applies to everything; it's swarming down below. Nothing to do with thought as such!
It's quite a nasty habit, for it keeps the most material state in a condition of disharmony, disorder, ugliness and difficulty.
I tried every possible way... To get out of it is relatively easy. But then it doesn't change.
The problem appeared again to me very intensely when I read Sri Aurobindo's The Yoga of Self-Perfection. I was confronted with a whole formidable world to be transformed – to transform what is already luminous is quite easy, but to transform that!... ugh – this stuff of life, so low and so coarse, so ordinary... it's much more difficult.1
For the last several days, I've been at grips fighting with it. How can I stop this idiotic, coarse and above all defeatist automatism from constantly manifesting? It's truly an automatism; it doesn't respond to any conscious will, nothing. So what will it take to...? And it's QUITE INTIMATELY related to the body's illnesses (the old habits the body has of coming out of its rhythmic movement, of entering into confusion) – the two things are very intimately linked.
I'm deep in the problem.
For me, “the problem” doesn't mean explaining the thing (it's easy to explain), but controlling, mastering and transforming it. That will take some time.
We shall see.
Now X is coming, and these days of meditation with him.2 What is going to happen?... By the way, he no longer writes that he's coming to “help the Ashram.” He wrote to Amrita that he's coming to have the opportunity (I can't exactly remember his words)... anyway, to take advantage of his meditations with me so that he can make the necessary transformations!... Quite a changed attitude. I had several visions concerning him which I'll tell you later.
1 Later, Mother added the following: “In this regard – I don't know where, but somewhere – Sri Aurobindo spoke of this physical mind, and he said that there was nothing you could do with it; it must only be destroyed.”
Mother may be alluding to the following passage from The Synthesis of Yoga: “There is nothing to be done with this fickle, restless, violent and disturbing factor but to get rid of it whether by detaching it and then reducing it to stillness or by giving a concentration and singleness to the thought by which it will of itself reject this alien and confusing
element.” (Cent. Ed., Vol. XX, p. 300.)
2 The tantric guru. During his periodic visits to the Ashram, Mother used to give him almost daily meditations.