There are three major steps in mans development -- behavior, attitude, consciousness -- which occur in sequence but with complex interrelations and dependencies.
Behavior -- the outer activities of man become socialized, organized, under the control of his mind and in accordance with social demands. The animal in man is harnessed and trained. The man of right behavior is civilized.
Attitude -- next man must socialize, control and refine his inner psychological behavior; he must quiet and control his impulses and desires, refine his feelings into emotions and sentiments, clarify his thoughts, beliefs, opinions, judgements etc. The man of right attitude is cultured. This is the level of human character.
Consciousness -- the last phase begins only when civilization is almost complete and culture finally is established. It can not proceed far without achieving perfection in these lower stages but also they cannot be perfected without progress at this level. Here it is not the outer activity or inner movements but the vibrations of consciousness, the states of being that are important. This is done only by yoga. It is spiritual growth.
It is taken for granted that one coming to yoga has achieved self-control in his behavior. Physical inertia or revolt, violence, physical indulgence, acting in a way one consciously knows to be wrong should be impossible for the aspirant to yoga. Yet, in fact, Mother and Sri Aurobindo have accepted people regardless of their mastery even at the physical level. Sloth and inertia, refusal to work with all types of justification, disorderly work, consciously initiated acts to stop the work or sow seeds of trouble, disobeying orders directly given by Her or the department heads, etc. are all too common not to mention the unpardonable treachery to Mother stemming from sexual indulgence, theft, drinking etc. which She has openly said inflict physical pain on Her.
Coming to the psychological field, the work is far more difficult and self-mastery cannot be fully achieved without progress in consciousness. But a certain minimum culture is expected from all who come to Mother. The worst of these are -- anger towards the Divine, jealousy of others, lying, conscious wish (not expressed in action) to stop or destroy work, intentional provocation of trouble, refusal to cooperate.
Beyond these there is another level of attitudes which if not perfected must be attempted sincerely: seeing circumstances as a response to oneself and not blaming others, giving up pride in ones achievements and sorrow for ones deficiencies and failures, taking a cheerful happy attitude refusing depression or self pity any scope, be willing for work and wanting work to succeed (without egotistical attachment.) None of these things are yogic but they are essential prerequisites for cultured behavior.
Then there is a third group of attitudes which are positive steps toward yoga: faith in the Divine in life and reliance on the Divine, recognition of the privilege of serving Mother, gratitude for all that comes to one (at least everything good.) cheerful acceptance of all work and responsibility, patience, good-will, etc.
The level of consciousness progress is prepared by progress in attitude. In an integral yoga for a long time the main progress is in the lower stage until the being is sufficiently refined and purified. Only then the pure yogic capacities -- meditation, concentration, aspiration, consecration, silence etc. -- can be achieved in some permanent fashion. Only then can the psychic come forward and take up the yoga.
In practice few ever graduate from the second phase and many remain in the first. But Mother is truly great and She accepts all and helps all. She deals with the physical brute by beating him i.e. life gives him constant blows but it is the Universal Mother that guides and blesses. By sheer force of pressure the hard rock of animality is "refined" and the beginnings of humanity revealed.
For the psychological man she uses numerous means according to the nature and the time. She rewards greed with fire, rebellion with a club, inertia with a kick, pride with a slap, etc. Through pain and pressure of nature she helps man evolve. As man becomes cultured Her means also change but always She is strongest with those She blesses most. Her blows are Grace. Many are left to evolve like turtles in comfort and security. Only when the psychic aspiration behind is awake, then She breaks down the outer walls with intense pressure or pain or equally intense love or joy or a combination of the two.
The best attitude for the sadhak is to call Mother with strength, courage and joy praying She will destroy the resistance and obstacles and liberate his soul in life.
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