Read Summary of Stillness
Stillness and Immobility
The ideal condition for progress.
Silence The ideal condition for progress. Passiflora Incarnata X cincinnata 'Incense' Passion flower Striking royal purple intensely fragrant medium- sized flower composed of two rings of numerous filaments banded with white towards the rose pink centre; the three prominent styles and five anthers arise from the centre on a short staminal column; borne singly or in pairs from the leaf axils. A robust perennial vine with deeply cut three-lobed leaves.
Silence is the condition of the being when it listens to the Divine.
In silence lies the greatest receptivity. And in an immobile silence the vastest action is done. Let us learn to be silent so that the Lord may make use of us.
With words one can at times understand, but only in silence one knows.
Follow the world’s winding highway to its source: There in the silence few have ever reached, Thou shalt see the Fire burning on the bare stone And the deep cavern of thy secret soul.”---Savitri 7.3.8
Meets the sheer self-discovery of the soul; A wall of stillness shuts it from the world, A gulf of stillness swallows up the sense And makes unreal all that mind has known, All that the labouring senses still would weave Prolonging an imaged unreality. Self’s vast spiritual silence occupies Space; Only the Inconceivable is left, Only the Nameless without space and time: Abolished is the burdening need of life: Thought falls from us, we cease from joy and grief; The ego is dead; we are freed from being and care,We have done with birth and death and work and fate. 
- 1 What is Stillness?
- 2 Why Stillness Must be Practised?
- 3 How Best Can One Practice Stillness?
- 4 What Does Stillness Mean in Yoga?=
- 5 The Mother’s Own Experiences
- 6 References
- 7 References
What is Stillness?
Quiet, calm and peace can all be described as tranquillity, silence is akin to what is meant by stillness. 
In a more outward sense the word silence is applied to the condition in which there is no movement of thought or feeling etc., only a great stillness of the mind. 
… stillness, the emptiness of mind and vital and cessation of thoughts and other movements, was the coming of the state called "samadhi" in which the consciousness goes inside in a deep stillness and silence. This condition is favourable to inner experience, realisation, the vision of the unseen truth of things, though one can get these in the waking condition also. It is not sleep but the state in which one feels conscious within, no longer outside. 
Everyone has in himself a being which he calls the “Self”, and which is completely silent and immobile. So, if one becomes conscious of this being in himself, one has the experience of the silent Self. It is an immobile and silent being which is within, which is like an aspect of the true being and also an aspect of the witness we were just speaking about. It is this silent being which, when it turns to things and looks at them, becomes the witness. But it can turn inwards, not look on, be in its silent contemplation. It depends on which side one turns to. It is a solid point in the being, in which the light of truth shines. 
Stillness in the Physical Being
You don’t understand how one can be immobile and strong at the same time, is that what is bothering you? Well, I reply that the greatest strength is in immobility. That is the sovereign power.
And there is a very small superficial application of this which perhaps you will understand. Someone comes and insults you or says unpleasant things to you; and if you begin to vibrate in unison with this anger or this ill-will, you feel quite weak and powerless and usually you make a fool of yourself. But if you manage to keep within yourself, especially in your head, a complete immobility which refuses to receive these vibrations, then at the same time you feel a great strength, and the other person cannot disturb you. If you remain very quiet, even physically, and when violence is directed at you, you are able to remain very quiet, very silent, very still, well, that has a power not only over you but over the other person also. If you don’t have all these vibrations of inner response, if you can remain absolutely immobile within yourself, everywhere, this has an almost immediate effect upon the other person. That gives you an idea of the power of immobility. And it is a very common fact which can occur every day; it is not a great event of spiritual life, it is something of the outer, material life.
There is a tremendous power in immobility: mental immobility, sensorial immobility, physical immobility. If you can remain like a wall, absolutely motionless, everything the other person sends you will immediately fall back upon him. And it has an immediate action. It can stop the arm of the assassin, you understand, it has that strength. Only, one must not just appear to be immobile and yet be boiling inside! That’s not what I mean. I mean an integral immobility. 
But here in India, that stillness comes from contempt for the body: it must be nullified as much as possible. Its very existence must be nullified. And that's precisely what Sri Aurobindo rose up against, saying, "No! The body must PARTICIPATE in the experience… BE the Divine, without distinction between the body and the rest-to be the Divine…. 
A quietness in the cells of the body, even a sense of immobility (so that the body seems to be moved rather than to move) is a different thing and easily distinguishable from the inertia. The downflow of peace usually brings much of the static Brahman into the consciousness down to the physical, so that one feels the Upanishadic “unmoving it moves”. 
Stillness in the Mental Being
The stillness of the mind means, first, the falling to rest of the habitual thought movements, thought formations, thought currents which agitate this mind-substance. That repose, vacancy of movement, is for many a sufficient mental silence. But, even in this repose of all thought movements and all movements of feeling, one sees, when one looks more closely at it, that the mind-substance is still in a constant state of very subtle formless but potentially formative vibration—not at first easily observable, but afterwards quite evident—and that state of constant vibration may be as harmful to the exact reflection or reception of the descending Truth as any formed thought movement or emotional movement… When I speak of a still mind, I mean then one in which these subtler disturbances too are no longer there. As they fall quiet one can feel an increasing stillness which is not the lesser quietude of repose and also a resultant clearness as palpable as the stillness and clearness of a physical atmosphere. 
... in the calm mind, it is the substance of the mental being that is still, so still that nothing disturbs it. If thoughts or activities come, they do not rise at all out of the mind, but they come from outside and cross the mind as a flight of birds crosses the sky in a windless air. It passes, disturbs nothing, leaving no trace. Even if a thousand images or the most violent events pass across it, the calm stillness remains as if the very texture of the mind were a substance of eternal and indestructible peace. 
That is to say, [when there is sometimes stillness and sometimes mechanical thoughts] the Power is still working on the physical consciousness (the mechanical mind and the subconscient) to bring stillness there. Sometimes the stillness comes but not complete, sometimes the mechanical mind reasserts itself. This oscillation usually takes place in a movement of the kind. Even if there is a sudden or rapid transforming shock or downrush, there has to be some working out of this kind afterwards—that at least has always been my experience. For most, however, there comes, first, this slow preparatory process. 
Why Stillness Must be Practised?
Silence of the being is the first natural aim of the Yoga. 
You can be at once in the state of aspiration, of willing, which calls down something—exactly the will to open oneself and receive, and the aspiration which calls down the force you want to receive—and at the same time be in that state of complete inner stillness which allows full penetration, for it is in this immobility that one can be penetrated, that one becomes permeable by the Force. 
When there is a complete silence in the being, either a stillness of the whole being or a stillness behind unaffected by surface movements, then we can become aware of a Self, a spiritual substance of our being, an existence exceeding even the soul individuality, spreading itself into universality, surpassing all dependence on any natural form or action, extending itself upward into a transcendence of which the limits are not visible. It is these liberations of the spiritual part in us which are the decisive steps of the spiritual evolution in Nature. 
This serene peace and massive stillness has to stabilise itself, fill the whole nature, widen itself until all existence internal and external seems full of it. This may take time, but the beginning once there it is sure to take place, if one is steady and constant. It becomes besides the sure base on which all the rest,—power and strength, light and knowledge, Ananda and divine love, can come in and securely fill the consciousness. 
...we habituate ourselves by practice to the sense of duty, to a firm fidelity to principle, a stoical fortitude or a religious resignation, a quiet or an ecstatic submission to God's will. But it is not these things that the Gita intends, useful though they are in their place; it aims at something absolute, unmitigated, uncompromising, a turn, an attitude that will change the whole poise of the soul. Not the mind's control of vital impulse is its rule, but the strong immobility of an immortal spirit.
The Various Benefits of Stillness
The stillness … in the meditation is a very good sign. It comes usually in that pervading way when there has been sufficient purification to make it possible. On the other side, it is itself the beginning of the laying of the foundations of the higher spiritual consciousness. 
The Yogin who has experience knows that the small beginnings are of the greatest importance and have to be cherished and allowed with great patience to develop. He knows for instance that the neutral quiet so dissatisfying to the vital eagerness of the sadhak is the first step towards the peace that passeth all understanding, the small current or thrill of inner delight the first trickling in of the ocean of Ananda, the play of lights or colours the key of the doors of the inner vision and experience, the descents that stiffen the body into a concentrated stillness the first touch of something at the end of which is the presence of the Divine. He is not impatient; he is rather careful not to disturb the evolution that is beginning. 
Benefits to the Physical Being
Peace and stillness are the great remedy for disease. 
The first object of the immobility of the Asana is to get rid of the restlessness imposed on the body and to force it to hold the Pranic energy instead of dissipating and squandering it. The experience in the practice of Asana is not that of a cessation and diminution of energy by inertia, but of a great increase, inpouring, circulation of force. The body, accustomed to work off superfluous energy by movement, is at first ill able to bear this increase and this retained inner action and betrays it by violent tremblings; afterwards it habituates itself and, when the Asana is conquered, then it finds as much ease in the posture, however originally difficult or unusual to it, as in its easiest attitudes sedentary or recumbent. It becomes increasingly capable of holding whatever amount of increased vital energy is brought to bear upon it without needing to spill it out in movement, and this increase is so enormous as to seem illimitable, so that the body of the perfected Hathayogin is capable of feats of endurance, force, unfatigued expenditure of energy of which the normal physical powers of man at their highest would be incapable. For it is not only able to hold and retain this energy, but to bear its possession of the physical system and its more complete movement through it. The life energy, thus occupying and operating in a powerful, unified movement on the tranquil and passive body, freed from the restless balancing between the continent power and the contained, becomes a much greater and more effective force. 
...to receive the supreme Force, what's needed is, on the contrary, the equivalent of stillness—the stillness of sleep, but an ABSOLUTELY CONSCIOUS sleep, absolutely conscious. The body feels the difference. 
Benefits to the Vital Being
A desire, a passion is a very living thing and continues to live for a very long time, even independently of the being who… is subjected to them, I might say, rather than creates them, because they are things that one is subjected to, that rush upon you from outside like a storm that seizes you and carries you away, unless you keep very calm like that, very still, very quiet, as though one were clinging to something solid and immobile in oneself, allowing the storm to pass over when it begins to blow—it blows, but one must not stir, one must not let oneself tremble or shiver or shake; one must remain altogether immobile and know that these are passing storms. And when the storm has blown over, it passes and goes away; then one can heave a deep breath and resume one’s normal balance; and there has been only a minimum destruction. In such cases, generally, things turn out well in the end. 
Benefits to the Mental Being
The normal activity of our minds is for the most part a disordered restlessness, full of waste and rapidly tentative expenditure of energy in which only a little is selected for the workings of the self-mastering will… 
... just as the restless active mind seems to seize on and use irregularly and imperfectly whatever spiritual force comes into it, but the tranquilised mind is held, possessed and used by the spiritual force.  We may feel imperfectly by the emotional mind, we may have a sense by the sense-mind or a conception and perception by the intelligent mind of the Spirit present in Matter and all its forms, the divine Delight present in all emotion and sensation, the divine Force behind all life-activities; but the lower will still keep its own nature and limit and divide in its action and modify in its character the influence from above. Even when that influence assumes its highest, widest, intensest power, it will be irregular and disorderly in activity and perfectly realised only in calm and stillness…
Behind the mind and using it as its own surface activity there is a stable consciousness in which there is no binding conceptual division between itself in the present and itself in the past and future; and yet it knows itself in Time, in the present, past and future, but at once, with an undivided view which embraces all the mobile experiences of the Time-self and holds them on the foundation of the immobile timeless self. This consciousness we can become aware of when we draw back from the mind and its activities or when these fall silent. But we see first its immobile status, and if we regard only the immobility of the self, we may say of it that it is not only timeless, but actionless, without movement of idea, thought, imagination, memory, will, self-sufficient, self-absorbed and therefore void of all action of the universe. 
A mind that has achieved this calmness can begin to act, even incessantly and powerfully, but it will keep its fundamental stillness—originating nothing from itself but receiving from Above and giving it a mental form without adding anything of its own, calmly, dispassionately, though with the joy of the Truth and the happy power and light of its passage. 
How Best Can One Practice Stillness?
...the "Only solution" is to be in a state of inner stillness that does not seek to know or foresee, and to let the Force flow through the instrument; then, automatically, what has to be done is done, what has to be received is received. 
Quiet, quiet and more quiet, calm strength, calm gladness are what are needed in mind and nerves and body as a basis for the siddhi—precisely because the Force, the Light, the Ananda that come down are extremely intense and need a great stillness in the being to bear and support them. 
A constant aspiration for that [to be constantly governed by the Divine] is the first thing—next a sort of stillness within and a drawing back from the outward action into the stillness and a sort of listening expectancy, not for a sound but for the spiritual feeling or direction of the consciousness that comes through the psychic. 
First, you must become conscious of the receiving of energies, their passing into your being and their expenditure. Next, you must have a sort of higher instinct which tells you whence the most favourable energies come; then you put yourself in contact with them through thought, through stillness or any other process—there are many. You must know what energy you want, whence it comes, of what it is composed. Later comes the control of the energy received. … Ninety per cent of men do not absorb enough energy or they take in too much and do not assimilate what they take—as soon as they have had a sufficient dose they immediately throw it out by becoming restless, talking, shouting, You must know how to keep within you the received energy and concentrate it fully on the desired activity and not on anything else. If you can do this, you won't need to use your will. You need only gather together all the energies received and use them consciously, concentrate with the maximum attention in order to do everything you want.
The stillness of the mind is prepared by the process of concentration. In the science of Rajayoga after the heart has been stilled and the mind prepared, the next step is to subjugate the body by means of asan or the fixed and motionless seat. The aim of this fixity is twofold, first the stillness of the body and secondly the forgetfulness of the body. When one can sit still and utterly forget the body for a long period of time, then the asan is said to have been mastered. In ordinary concentration when the body is only comparatively still it is not noticed, but there is an undercurrent of physical consciousness which may surge up at any moment into the upper current of thought and disturb it. The Yogin seeks to make the forgetfulness perfect. In the higher processes of concentration this forgetfulness reaches such a point that the bodily consciousness is annulled and in the acme of the samadhi a man can be cut or burned without being aware of the physical suffering. Even before the concentration is begun the forgetfulness acquired is sufficient to prevent any intrusion upon the mind except under a more than ordinarily powerful physical stimulus. 
Release from the Ego
So, at first, to begin with, one must be able to get out of the ego. Afterwards, it has to be, you understand, in a certain state of inexistence. Then you begin to perceive things as they are, from a little higher up. But if you want to know things as they really are, you must be absolutely like a mirror: silent, peaceful, immobile, impartial, without preferences and in a state of total receptivity. And if you are like that, you will begin to see that there are many things you are not aware of, but which are there, and which will start becoming active in you.
Then you will be able to be in these things instead of being exclusively enclosed within the little point you are in the universe.
There are all kinds of ways of getting out of yourself. But it is indispensable if you want to begin to know things as they are and not in terms of yourself. 
...an uncompromising abolition of the ego-sense at its very basis and source. ... This, if persistently done, changes in the end the mental outlook on oneself and the whole world and there is a kind of mental realisation; but afterwards by degrees or perhaps rapidly and imperatively and almost at the beginning the mental realisation deepens into spiritual experience—a realisation in the very substance of our being. More and more frequent conditions come of something indefinable and illimitable, a peace, a silence, a joy, a bliss beyond expression, a sense of absolute impersonal Power, a pure existence, a pure consciousness, an all-pervading Presence. …In the beginning when the restless confusion and obscuring impurity of our outward nature is active, when the mental, vital, physical ego-sense are still powerful, this new mental outlook, these experiences may be found difficult in the extreme: but once that triple egoism is discouraged or moribund and the instruments of the Spirit are set right and purified, in an entirely pure, silent, clarified, widened consciousness the purity, infinity, stillness of the One reflects itself like the sky in a limpid lake. 
Usually the cessation of the lower activities brings a sense of freedom, release, repose. The inner consciousness does not miss the mental jumpings or the vital swirl—it feels as if the silence were its native element. 
In the Physical Being
For example, you see, some people suffer from unbearable toothache. It depends above all… some people are more or less what I call “coddled”, that is, unable to resist any pain, to bear it; they immediately say, “I can’t! It is unbearable. I can’t bear any more!” Ah, this indeed changes nothing in the circumstances; it does not stop the suffering, because it is not by telling it that you don’t want it that you make it go away. But if one can do two things: either bring into oneself—for all nervous suffering, for example—bring into oneself a kind of immobility, as total as possible, at the place of pain, this has the effect of an anaesthetic. If one succeeds in bringing an inner immobility, an immobility of the inner vibrations, at the spot where one is suffering, it has exactly the same effect as an anaesthetic. It cuts off the contact between the place of pain and the brain, and once you have cut the contact, if you can keep this state long enough, the pain will disappear. You must form the habit of doing this. But you have the occasion, all the time, the opportunity to do it: you get a cut, get a knock, you see, one always gets a little hurt somewhere—especially when doing athletics, gymnastics and all that—well, these are opportunities given to us. Instead of sitting there observing the pain, trying to analyse it, concentrating upon it, which makes it increase indefinitely…. There are people who think of something else but it does not last; they think of something else and then suddenly are drawn back to the place that hurts. But if one can do this… You see, since the pain is there, it proves that you are in contact with the nerve that’s transmitting the pain, otherwise you wouldn’t feel it. Well, once you know that you are in contact, you try to accumulate at that point as much immobility as you can, to stop the vibrations of the pain; you will perceive then that it has the effect of a limb which goes to sleep when you are in an awkward position and that all of a sudden… you know, don’t you?… and then, when it stops, it begins to vibrate again terribly. Well, you deliberately try this kind of concentration of immobility in the painful nerve; at the painful point you bring as total an immobility as you can. Well, you will see that it works, as I told you, like an anaesthetic: it puts the thing to sleep. And then, if you can add to that a kind of inner peace and a trust that the pain will go away, well, I tell you that it will go. 
So the thing to be done … is to remain very objective within that peace; then you can benefit from the peace without accepting its limits. You should, for instance, be able to keep that peace in the cells (the brain cells if you feel tired) without allowing yourself to be enclosed like that. ... There is always a vibration subtler than his vibration of peace, and that one must remain free, without getting enclosed in the other. For example, if something pulls and causes a mental tension in the head, just keep in contact with that peace (oh, he does have a capacity of mental immobility), and let it penetrate you, but without concentrating all your being on it: allow the rest of your activity to unfold as usual in an infinity. It’s only the vibrations of the physical mind that you should keep in that stability.
In the Vital Being
It is when one is full of peace that one laughs most gladly. It is an inner condition, not something external like being silent or not laughing. It is a condition of serenity and stillness within in which there is no disturbance even if things go wrong or people are unpleasant or the body feels unwell—the state of serene inner gladness remains the same. It is self-existent. 
It is the silence of the mind and vital—silence implying here not only cessation of thoughts but a stillness of the mental and vital substance. There are varying degrees of depth of this stillness. 
To go within yourself, that is the first step. And then, once you have succeeded in going within yourself deeply enough to feel the reality of that which is within, to widen yourself progressively, systematically, to become as vast as the universe and lose the sense of limitation. These are the first two preparatory movements. And these two things must be done in the greatest possible calm, peace and tranquillity. This peace, this tranquillity brings about silence in the mind and stillness in the vital. 
In the Mental Being
Equally must the sense-mind be stilled and taught to leave the function of thought to the mind that judges and understands. When the understanding in us stands back from the action of the sense-mind and repels its intermiscence, the latter detaches itself from the understanding and can be watched in its separate action. It then reveals itself as a constantly swirling and eddying undercurrent of habitual concepts, associations, perceptions, desires without any real sequence, order or principle of light. It is a constant repetition in a circle unintelligent and unfruitful. Ordinarily the human understanding accepts this undercurrent and tries to reduce it to a partial order and sequence; but by so doing it becomes itself subject to it and partakes of that disorder, restlessness, unintelligent subjection to habit and blind purposeless repetition which makes the ordinary human reason a misleading, limited and even frivolous and futile instrument. 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. 
...the power of the mind not to think, its complete silence for the incapacity of thought. But this power of silence is a capacity and not an incapacity, a power and not a weakness. It is a profound and pregnant stillness. Only when the mind is thus entirely still, like clear, motionless and level water, in a perfect purity and peace of the whole being and the soul transcends thought, can the Self which exceeds and originates all activities and becomings, the Silence from which all words are born, the Absolute of which all relativities are partial reflections manifest itself in the pure essence of our being. 
What Does Stillness Mean in Yoga?=
...for bringing it [pure stillness of the mind] about there are more ways than one. It is not, for instance, only by an effort of the mind itself to get clear of all intrusive emotion or passion, to quiet its own characteristic vibrations, to resist the obscuring fumes of a physical inertia which brings about a sleep or a torpor of the mind instead of its wakeful silence, that the thing can be done. This is indeed an ordinary process of the Yogic path of knowledge; but the same end can be brought about or automatically happen by other processes—for instance, by the descent from above of a great spiritual stillness imposing silence on the mind and heart, on the life stimuli, on the physical reflexes. A sudden descent of this kind or a series of descents accumulative in force and efficacy is a well-known phenomenon of spiritual experience. Or again one may start a mental process of one kind or another for the purpose which would normally mean a long labour and yet may pull down or be seized midway, or even at the outset, by an overmind influx, a rapid intervention or manifestation of the higher Silence, with an effect sudden, instantaneous, out of all proportion to the means used at the beginning. One commences with a method, but the work is taken up by a Grace from above, by a response from That to which one aspires or by an irruption of the infinitudes of the Spirit. 
The first [calmness with disturbances on the surface] is the ordinary fundamental calm of the individual Adhar—the second [perfect stillness in the body and in the surrounding atmosphere] is the fundamental limitless calm of the cosmic consciousness, a calm which abides whether separated from all movements or supporting them.
This [limitless stillness] is the calm of the Atman, the Self above, silent, immutable and infinite. 
When we get back into our own conscious being, when we stand back from our own action and see how it is done, we discover that it is our whole being which stands behind any particular act or sum of activities, passive in the rest of its integrality, active in its limited dispensation of energy; but that passivity is not an incapable inertia, it is a poise of self-reserved energy. A similar truth must apply still more completely to the conscious being of the Infinite, whose power, in silence of status as in creation, must also be infinite. 
Chitta is the stuff of mixed mental-vital-physical consciousness out of which arise the movements of thought, emotion, sensation, impulse etc. It is these that in Patanjali’s system have to be stilled altogether so that the consciousness may be immobile and go into samadhi. It [stopping the movements of the chitta] has a different function [in this Yoga]. The movements of the ordinary consciousness have to be quieted and into the quietude there has to be brought down a higher consciousness and its powers which will transform the nature. If you suppress [the cittavṛttis], you will have no movements of the chitta at all; all will be immobile until you remove the suppression or will be so immobile that there cannot be anything else than immobility. If you still, the chitta will be quiet; whatever movements there are will not disturb the quietude. If you control or master, then the chitta will be immobile when you want, active when you want, and its action will be such that what you wish to get rid of will go, only what you accept as true and useful will come. 
Experiences Through Stillness
As the mind progresses in purity, capacity of stillness or freedom from absorption in its own limited action, it becomes aware of and is able to reflect, bring into itself or enter into the conscious presence of the Self, the supreme and universal Spirit, and it becomes aware too of grades and powers of the spirit higher than its own highest ranges. It becomes aware of an infinite of the consciousness of being, an infinite ocean of all the power and energy of illimitable consciousness, an infinite ocean of Ananda, of the self-moved delight of existence. 
The Ascent and the Descent
There are two movements that are necessary—one is the ascent through the increasing of peace and silence to its source above the mind,—that is indicated by the tendency of the consciousness to rise out of the body to the top of the head and above where it is easy to realise the Self in all its stillness and liberation and wideness and to open to the other powers of the Higher Consciousness. The other is the descent of the peace, silence, the spiritual freedom and wideness and the powers of the higher consciousness as they develop into the lower down to the most physical and even the subconscient. To both of these movements there can be a block—a block above due to the mind and lower nature being unhabituated (it is that really and not incapacity) and a block below due to the physical consciousness and its natural slowness to change. Everybody has these blocks but by persistent will, aspiration or abhyāsa they can be overcome. 
The movement of ascension has different results: it may liberate the consciousness so that one feels no longer in the body, but above it or else spread in wideness with the body either almost non-existent or only a point in one’s free expanse. It may enable the being or some part of the being to go out from the body and move elsewhere, and this action is usually accompanied by some kind of partial samādhi or else a complete trance. Or it may result in empowering the consciousness, no longer limited by the body and the habits of the external nature, to go within, to enter the inner mental depths, the inner vital, the inner (subtle) physical, the psychic, to become aware of its inmost psychic self or its inner mental, vital and subtle physical being and, it may be, to move and live in the domains, the planes, the worlds that correspond to these parts of the nature. It is the repeated and constant ascent of the lower consciousness that enables the mind, the vital, the physical to come into touch with the higher planes up to the supramental and get impregnated with their light and power and influence. And it is the repeated and constant descent of the Divine Consciousness and its Force that is the means for the transformation of the whole being and the whole nature. Once this descent becomes habitual, the Divine Force, the Power of the Mother begins to work, no longer from above only or from behind the veil, but consciously in the Adhara itself, and deals with its difficulties and possibilities and carries on the Yoga. 
...the two things can go together, you see, there is a moment when the two—aspiration and passivity—can be not only alternate but simultaneous. You can be at once in the state of aspiration, of willing, which calls down something—exactly the will to open oneself and receive, and the aspiration which calls down the force you want to receive—and at the same time be in that state of complete inner stillness which allows full penetration, for it is in this immobility that one can be penetrated, that one becomes permeable by the Force. Well, the two can be simultaneous without the one disturbing the other, or can alternate so closely that they can hardly be distinguished. But one can be like that, like a great flame rising in aspiration, and at the same time as though this flame formed a vase, a large vase, opening and receiving all that comes down. 
A deep, intense or massive substance of peace and stillness is very commonly the first of its powers that descends and many experience it in that way. At first it comes and stays only during meditation or, without the sense of physical inertness or immobility, a little while longer and afterwards is lost; but if the sadhana follows its normal course, it comes more and more, lasting longer, and in the end an enduring deep peace and inner stillness and release becomes a normal character of the consciousness, the foundation indeed of a new consciousness, calm and liberated. 
...descent of the Divine Consciousness and its Force into the body. This descent is felt as a pouring in of calm and peace, of force and power, of light, of joy and ecstasy, of wideness and freedom and knowledge, of a Divine Being or a Presence—sometimes one of these, sometimes several of them or all together. 
The descent whether of peace or force or light or knowledge or Ananda must the whole inner being down to the inner physical. Without that how is the outer to be transformed at all? It is an amazing idea to suppose that the outer can be changed while the inner is left to itself. What you had in the inner being was a static stillness which did not even entirely occupy the inner physical except at times—that was why the dynamic descent was necessary, but in the inner being or if possible the whole being, the inner outflowing into the outer, not in the outer being to the exclusion of the inner.
Feelings and Sensations in the Process of Descent
...as often happens the Force is preparing its own reception and habituating the body to the descent. Having done that sufficiently it is coming down as a massive peace. The higher consciousness in its descent takes several fundamental forms—peace, power and strength, light, knowledge, Ananda. Usually it is the peace that descends first. This is not a mental, vital or physical peace of the ordinary kind, but something from above (spiritual), very firm, solid and concrete. It is its concreteness that makes you feel like a still massive block—a mass of the higher consciousness in place of the more tenuous substance of the ordinary nature. 
By the descent the inertia changes its character. It ceases to be a resistance of the physical and becomes only a physical condition to be transformed into the true basic immobility and rest. 
The descents that stiffen the body into a concentrated stillness the first touch of something at the end of which is the presence of the Divine. He is not impatient; he is rather careful not to disturb the evolution that is beginning. Certainly, some sadhaks have strong and decisive experiences at the beginning, but these are followed by a long labour in which there are many empty periods and many periods of struggle.
The feeling of stoniness is very usually a first impression in the body of the stillness in the cells which comes with the downflow of the Peace. 
There can be a decisive emergence in which the being separates itself from thought and sees itself in an inner silence as the spirit in mind, or separates itself from the life movements, desires, sensations, kinetic impulses and is aware of itself as the spirit supporting life, or separates itself from the body sense and knows itself as a spirit ensouling Matter: this is the discovery of ourselves as the Purusha, a mental being or a life-soul or a subtle self supporting the body. 
For the mystic's experience of mind, especially when it falls still, is not that of an abstract condition or impalpable activity of the consciousness; it is rather an experience of a substance—an extended subtle substance in which there can be and are waves, currents, vibrations not physically material but still as definite, as perceptible, as tangible and controllable by an inner sense as any movement of material energy or substance by the physical senses. 
The Mother’s Own Experiences
The state now is such that when the body FEELS ITSELF (feels itself, that is to say, is aware of being a body), INSTANTLY there's a discomfort, whatever the condition. Even when it feels in a state of adoration or aspiration or... it's accompanied by discomfort. And only when there's no more awareness at all of its separate existence does it feel comfortable. So then, the normal state is silence, stillness, but... (the image isn't correct—how can I explain?), you see, the Presence, it's not that it flows through, but when it radiates like this (gesture), radiates through an activity, then everything is fine and there's no more at all the sensation of "this [the body] through which": this through which the Divine flows—there isn't. It's like this (immutable gesture), still and nonexistent, without any self-awareness, aware only of... the Divine Action, like that. Then everything is fine. And the minute there's even a slight impression of the Thing flowing "through," discomfort comes. You understand, it has become a very acute state. 
…instead of thought governing life, it's consciousness. And when the consciousness remains quietly open to the Divine, all goes well. A lot of things constantly come into the consciousness, from the whole world, it would seem...all the things that negate or oppose the Divine Action. They keep coming all the time like this (same gesture). But if I can remain quiet (gesture of offering, hands open), in an attitude of…(smiling) nonexistence, a sort of… I don’t know if it’s transparency—I don’t know if one should say “transparency” or “immobility”—but it’s something in the consciousness that’s like this (same gesture of offering, hands open). When it stays that way, all is well; but as soon as it starts stirring, that is, as soon as the individuality comes to the forefront in any way, everything becomes detestable. 
… a complete stillness and an INTENSE aspiration. And it’s when stillness is left without aspiration that it falls into a dreadful anguish which instantly wakes it up. That’s it, you understand: an INTENSE aspiration. And it’s absolutely still, still within, as if all the cells grew still…. That must be it: what we call intense aspiration must be the supramental vibration. It must be the divine Vibration, the true divine vibration. ... But if even for five minutes the body falls into the state of inertia—stillness without aspiration—it's woken up by an anguish as if it were about to die! To that point, you understand. For it, stillness is... Yes, it feels that the highest vibration, the vibration of the true Consciousness, is SO INTENSE that it's... it's the equivalent of the inertia of stillness—with an intensity that's not perceptible (for us). That intensity is so great that, for us, it's the equivalent of inertia. 
… a peace all the same, a real peace, a concrete, concrete stillness. So the thing to be done (because that peace is perceptible I’ve had the experience of it so many times) is to remain very objective within that peace; then you can benefit from the peace without accepting its limits. You should, for instance, be able to keep that peace in the cells (the brain cells if you feel tired) without allowing yourself to be enclosed like that. There is no need to struggle, just remain turned upward…. 
There are no more ideas, no more feelings, almost no more sensations, it's... this and that (same gesture of tipping over to one side or to the other), this kind of shift, and a shift SO VERY different, you know, and in total immobility! 
This Matter, of course, comes from total unconsciousness, and throughout the ages and all the ways of being, it returns to total consciousness—it goes from one extreme to the other; well, it’s these habits of static immobility that give this need for trance. It shouldn’t be necessary. Only (how can I explain?…), logically, as things are, it depends on the balance between the body’s capacity of receptivity and its external activity: it’s obviously far more receptive when it is immobile, because its energies are occupied with the transformation. 
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