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One of the fundamental characteristics of matter is repetition. It wants to continue doing what it has done in the past. We experience that as our physical habits, which are so very difficult to change because they are lodged in our physical consciousness. As mentioned earlier, the atom consists of a nucleus with electrons circling around it. If you asked an atom of nitrogen to become an atom of helium or oxygen, it would refuse. And if you tried to change it by removing some of its electrons, it would explode, releasing atomic energy. The atom says, “Do not tamper with my electrons.” Sri Aurobindo says that the force of the atom trying to maintain its identity as oxygen or hydrogen is the same ego principle present in mind and life. It is the force that seeks to maintain the separate and distinct individuality of each form. The atom is the physical representation of the ego principle. Every atom has its own identity and does not want to be disturbed, just like every human being. How does one create an identity? You create an identity for yourself by being predictable. When somebody says, “I met that man and he was very pleasant.” You respond, “Yes, yes, he is always like that.” That is the predictable characteristic in our behavior. All that has the sense of repetition over and over again is the physical in us which we have inherited from the nature of matter. The physical makes us predictable. That is why our physical bodies behave so predictably, maintaining the same temperature in all circumstances, breathing in and out rhythmically, circulating blood without a moment’s pause.

Repetition and predictability are the basis for creating stable forms and that is the essential function of matter. The Divine’s purpose for creating matter was to create a stable basis, a solid foundation in which stable forms could be created and interact. The only thing that is reliable is the thing that remains the same. Since everything is only energy in constant motion, the only way it can remain the same is by continuing to repeat the same movement over and over again. Matter consists of energy that continues to behave predictably in the same fashion. Unfortunately, since we have evolved out of matter, we continue to behave very much like the atoms. We insist on our predictable habits. We get up at the same time, we eat the same things, we talk in the same way and think the same things. Apart from our physical habits, we also have vital habits, which we call attitudes. Attitudes are the fixed ways in which we respond to things. If someone comes and asks for a book, I say, “I am sorry, I do not lend my books out.” My attitude is that people who borrow will never return things. We all have characteristic ways in which we respond to things around us. We also have fixed opinions of the mind. “Oh, he’s an American, all Americans are like this.” “He is from that community, so he’s like that.” We have fixed and inflexible opinions on everything and we insist on all of them.

Our physical habits, vital attitudes and mental opinions are expressions of the forces of physicality and ego in us striving to create and maintain a separate existence. So long as they are prevalent, we are cut off from other people, from the world around us and from the transcendent divine. Until we overcome these limiting expressions of the ego, we are locked within a finite, fixed, predictable form, like the atom, and can never discover or give expression to our true self that is infinite.

How do I come out of my habits, vital attitudes and mental opinions? The first thing I have to do is recognize that that is not me. These things are not what make me unique. I am something other than my habits, attitudes and opinions. Actually in practice, when someone comes and asks us to change our attitude, we feel it is not possible. We are totally identified with our attitudes. We can change our behavior, but inside we remain the same. Mother says that in the tradition, and even in Western psychology, the normal belief is that character cannot change. Attitudes can change when the vital has an experience that contradicts its attitude. It does not often do that, but it can change. First of all, we have to stop saying ‘my opinions and attitudes are right.’ As long as we feel we are right, we are fully identified with our ego. There are no right or wrong attitudes, there are only attitudes that help or hinder our growth. Positive attitudes help our lives expand. Negative attitudes make it contract. But positive or negative, ultimately all attitudes place limits on our accomplishments, growth and development. So for endless expansion in life or for yoga, all attitudes are to be given up. None are to be justified.

Once we have given up justifying an opinion, we have to decide that the opinion is something we want to change. And then we have to say, “It’s not me.” My opinion is not my whole mind; it is only a thought in my mind. It certainly does not include my life, my heart, or body. It is only one small point. Let me push it away like an object. I decide it is not me, I realize it is not me and I push it away from me. Then I call Mother’s power to dissolve the opinion.

In the same way, I can pray that my attitude should change. The attitudes we have created are one of the ways by which the Infinite has become finite. Our job now is to reverse the direction and make the finite Infinite. The way we do that is to reverse our attitudes, of which we have thousands. There is a method that can work for all of us. Wherever we feel a strong reaction, without trying to justify it in any way, let us say “I offer this attitude to you, Mother. Let me give it up. Let me make a progress.” Call Mother at that point to reverse it, to dissolve that attitude. There is infinite prosperity behind each of our opinions, attitudes and habits. Each time we come forward to give one of them up, we release an enormous energy that translates in our lives as the disappearance of a problem or the sudden appearance of a great opportunity. Surrendering these aspects of our ego is the surest way to invite infinite prosperity into our lives. A young man who consecrated his resentful attitude toward a co-worker was offered a huge business opportunity by the very same person the following day and in subsequent years that person became a continuous source of prosperity for him. If you study your own life or the lives of great achievers, you will see that enormous opportunities have emerged when small attitudes are rejected. Unfortunately, for most of us the opposite is more commonly true.

Beyond our habits, attitudes and opinions, there is something even more fixed in our nature. It is our character. Sri Aurobindo says the character is actually inherited physically. He gives a very interesting insight for the psychologists in this book. He says that character is inherited as a subtle part of the genes. How can we change what it is part of our physical inheritance? Our body is formed of physical substance. Our character is formed of physical consciousness. Substance is much more solid and difficult. Consciousness is more aware. Mother says categorically that if a man wants to change his character and calls Her, he can change it. The supramental force has the power to transform the physical consciousness. This is pure yoga for those who seek transformation. It is not necessary for devotees who are just seeking prosperity.

Our objective here is to discover and experience in our own lives the truths that Sri Aurobindo writes about in The Life Divine. By this knowledge, we can raise our lives ten times higher. If the income of people in Ramapuram could rise in prosperity a hundred times, then how much more is possible for true devotees who rely on Mother? We are talking here of spiritual methods to achieve results in life, not about a system of beliefs or religion. Sri Aurobindo’s greatest discovery is not the ultimate reality of the Absolute, but the ultimate Reality of Life, its divine nature and its divine destiny. If we call this knowledge which is power into our lives, it will uplift us. We must understand ourselves, where we have come from, what our essential nature is, the problems we have. This is a knowledge which purifies and uplifts. 

book | by Dr. Radut