Read Summary of Aspiration
- 1 What is Aspiration?
- 1.1 What is Aspiration in Integral Yoga
- 1.2 What is Aspiration in Relation to Other Qualities?
- 1.3 How is Aspiration Different from Desire?
- 1.4 What is Aspiration in the Different Parts of Being
- 2 Why is Aspiration Important?
- 3 How to Aspire?
- 4 References
What is Aspiration?
Aspiration is a turning upward of the inner being with a call, yearning, prayer for the Divine, for the Truth, for the Consciousness, Peace, Ananda, Knowledge, descent of Divine Force or whatever else is the aim of one’s endeavour. 
Aspiration is the dynamic push of your whole nature behind the resolution to reach the Divine. 
… an aspiration (not formulated in words, naturally), what is called in English “a yearning”, “a longing” for this contact with the divine Force, the Force of Harmony, the Force of Truth, the Force of Love. 
There is no need of words in aspiration. It can be expressed or unexpressed in words. The aspiration need not be in the form of thought — it can be a feeling within that remains even when the mind is attending to the work. 
Q: Should not one be born with a great aspiration?
A: No, aspiration is a thing to be developed, educated, like all activities of the being. One may be born with a very slight aspiration and develop it so much that it becomes very great. One may be born with a very small will and develop it and make it strong. It is a ridiculous idea to believe that things come to you like that, through a sort of grace, that if you are not given aspiration, you don’t have it—this is not true. ….It is you who must want to do it. When it is done, all goes well, when you have the Knowledge also, all goes well, and when you are identified with the Divine, all goes even better, but till then you must will, choose and decide. Don’t go to sleep lazily, saying, “Oh! The work will be done for me, I have nothing to do but let myself glide along with the stream.” Besides, it is not true, the work is not done by itself, because if the least little thing thwarts your little will, it says, “No, not that!...” 
What is Aspiration in Integral Yoga
If we are to attempt an integral Yoga, it will be as well to start with an idea of the Divine that is itself integral. There should be an aspiration in the heart wide enough for a realisation without any narrow limits. Not only should we avoid a sectarian religious outlook, but also all one-sided philosophical conceptions which try to shut up the Ineffable in a restricting mental formula. 
True aspiration is not a movement of the mind but of the psychic. 
Yoga is not only an aspiration of the mind towards the Divine but also and chiefly a yearning of the heart. 
What is Aspiration in Relation to Other Qualities?
Intense aspiration is always good, but let there also be calm and peace and joy in the mind and heart, and a confidence that all will be done in its due time. 
There can be an intense but quiet aspiration which does not disturb the harmony of the inner being. 
Aspiration and Perfection
In works, aspiration towards Perfection is true spirituality. 
Aspiration and Sincerity
Sincerity means more than mere honesty. It means that you mean what you say, feel what you profess, are earnest in your will. As the sadhak aspires to be an instrument of the Divine and one with the Divine, sincerity in him means that he is really in earnest in his aspiration and refuses all other will or impulse except the Divine’s. 
Sincere is simply an adjective meaning that the will must be a true will. If you simply think “I aspire” and do things inconsistent with the aspiration, or follow your desires or open yourself to contrary influences, then it is not a sincere will. 
[Sincerity:] To allow no part of the being to contradict the highest aspiration towards the Divine. 
Aspiration and Silence
In silence lies the greatest aspiration. We pray that the greatest receptivity may also be there. 
Aspiration and Perseverance
Persevere in your aspiration and effort, do not allow yourself to be discouraged by setbacks. This always happens in the beginning. But if you continue to fight without paying any attention to them, a day will come when the resistances give way and the difficulties vanish. 
How is Aspiration Different from Desire?
An aspiration which is not mixed with any interested and egoistic calculation. 
That [fiery aspiration] is all right, that is the psychic aspiration, the psychic fire. Where the vital comes in is in the impatience for result and dissatisfaction if the result is not immediate. That must cease. 
In aspiration there is what I might call an unselfish flame which is not present in desire. Your aspiration is not a turning back upon self — desire is always a turning back upon oneself. From the purely psychological point of view, aspiration is a self-giving, always, while desire is always something which one draws to oneself; aspiration is something which gives itself, not necessarily in the form of thought but in the movement, in the vibration, in the vital impulse. True aspiration does not come from the head; even when it is formulated by a thought, it springs up like a flame from the heart….
...The essential difference between love in aspiration and love in desire is that love in aspiration gives itself entirely and asks nothing in return—it does not claim anything; whereas love in desire gives itself as little as possible, asks as much as possible, it pulls things to itself and always makes demands. 
The first thing needed is to become conscious of the Divine Will, and in order to do that one must no longer have any desires or personal will. The best way to achieve this (become conscious of the Divine Will) is to direct one’s whole aspiration towards the Divine Perfection, to give oneself to it without reserve and to rely on That alone for all satisfaction. All the rest will follow as a result. 
What is Aspiration in the Different Parts of Being
A mental aspiration means that the thought-power aspires to have knowledge, for instance, or else to have the power to express itself well or have clear ideas, a logical reasoning. One may aspire for many things; that all the faculties and capacities of the mind may be developed and placed at the service of the Divine. This is a mental aspiration. 
… you may have an aspiration in the vital; if you have desires or troubles, storms, inner difficulties, you may aspire for peace, to be quite impartial, without desire or preference, to be a good docile instrument without any personal whims, always at the Divine’s disposal. This is a vital aspiration. 
You may have a physical aspiration also; that the body may feel the need to acquire a kind of equipoise in which all the parts of the being will be well balanced, and that you may have the power to hold off illness at a distance or overcome it fast when it enters trickily, and that the body may always function normally, harmoniously, in perfect health. That is a physical aspiration. 
Unless one practises yoga in the physical being (outer being), it remains ignorant—even its aspiration is ignorant and so is its goodwill; all its movements are ignorant and so they distort and disfigure the Divine Presence. That is why the yoga of the body-cells is indispensable. 
… aspiration, as well as widening and intensity, comes from the heart, the emotional centre, the door of the psychic or rather the door leading to the psychic. The mind by its nature is curious and interested; it sees, it observes, it tries to understand and explain; and with all this activity, it disturbs the experience and diminishes its intensity and force. On the other hand, the more quiet and silent the mind is, the more can aspiration rise up from the depths of the heart in the fullness of its ardour. 
Every gleam of aspiration is always the expression of a psychic influence. Without the presence of the psychic, without the psychic influence, there would never be any sense of progress or any will for progress. 
… constant, regular, organised, gentle and patient at the same time, resists all opposition, overcomes all difficulties. 
A spiritual aspiration means having an intense need to unite with the Divine, to give oneself totally to the Divine, not to live outside the divine Consciousness so that the Divine may be everything for you in your integral being, and you feel the need of a constant communion with Him, of the sense of his presence, of his guidance in all that you do, and of his harmonising all the movements of the being. That is a spiritual aspiration. 
The spiritual aspiration is innate in man; for he is, unlike the animal, aware of imperfection and limitation and feels that there is something to be attained beyond what he now is: this urge towards self exceeding is not likely ever to die out totally in the race. 
Aspiration in the Inconscient
It is the Divine in the inconscient who aspires for the Divine in the consciousness. That is to say, without the Divine there would be no aspiration; without the consciousness hidden in the inconscient, there would be no possibility of changing the inconscience to consciousness. But because at the very heart of the inconscient there is the divine Consciousness, you aspire, and necessarily—this is what he says—automatically, mechanically, the sacrifice is made. And this is why when one says, “It is not you who aspire, it is the Divine, it is not you who make progress, it is the Divine, it is not you who are conscious, it is the Divine”—these are not mere words, it is a fact. And it is simply your ignorance and your unconsciousness which prevent you from realising it. �
Why is Aspiration Important?
Aspiration is necessary in all spiritual aims from whatever part of the consciousness. 
For Overcoming Difficulties
A constant aspiration conquers all defects. 
Sadhana is always difficult and everybody has conflicting elements in his nature and it is difficult to make the vital give up its ingrained habits. That is no reason for giving up sadhana. One has to keep up the central aspiration which is always sincere and go on steadily in spite of temporary failures; and it is then inevitable that the change will come. 
When the aspiration is awake, each day brings us nearer to the goal. 
Surely you could not believe that sadhana could be done without facing some difficulties. As your aspiration is sincere, whatever was in the subconscient standing in the way of the Divine Realisation, has come to the surface in order to be transformed. There is nothing there to make you sad or depressed—on the contrary you ought to rejoice at these occasions to make progress and never forget to lean for support and help on my love, force and blessings. 
The difficulties are always due to a resistance, some part or several parts of the being refusing to receive the force, the consciousness and the light put upon them and revolting against the divine influence. It is rare that somebody can surrender entirely to the Divine’s Will without having to face one or another of these difficulties. But to keep steady one’s aspiration and to look at oneself with an absolute sincerity are the sure means to overcome all obstacles. 
In any case, the most effective starting-point, the swiftest method is total self-giving. Besides, no joy is more perfect than the joy of a total self-giving to whatever is the summit of your conception: for some it is the notion of God, for others that of Perfection. If this self-giving is made with persistence and ardour, a moment comes when you pass beyond the concept and arrive at an experience that escapes all description, but which is almost always identical in its effects. And as your self-giving becomes more and more perfect and integral, it will be accompanied by the aspiration for identification, a total fusion with That to which you have given yourself, and little by little this aspiration will overcome all differences and all resistances, especially if with the aspiration there is an intense and spontaneous love, for then nothing can stand in the way of its victorious drive. 
For Progress and Self-perfection
… sincerity in the aspiration for progress, in the will for truth, in the need to be truly pure—pure as it is understood in the spiritual life—it is this sincerity which is the key to all progress. With it you know—and you can. 
Fundamentally, without this kind of inner will of the psychic being, I believe human beings would be quite dismal, dull, they would have an altogether animal life. Every gleam of aspiration is always the expression of a psychic influence. Without the presence of the psychic, without the psychic influence, there would never be any sense of progress or any will for progress. 
How, you ask me, are we to know our true being? Ask for it, aspire after it, want it as you want nothing else. Most of you here are influenced by it, but it should be more than an influence, you should be able to feel identified with it. All urge for perfection comes from it, but you are unaware of the source, you are not collaborating with it knowingly, you are not in identification with its light. Do not think I refer to the emotional part of you when I speak of the psychic. Emotion belongs to the higher vital, not to the pure psychic. The psychic is a steady flame that burns in you, soaring towards the Divine and carrying with it a sense of strength which breaks down all oppositions. When you are identified with it you have the feeling of the divine truth—then you cannot help feeling also that the whole world is ignorantly walking on its head with its feet in the air! 
One who aspires to the ineffable Peace, one whose mind is awakened, whose thoughts are not entangled in the net of desire, that one is said to be "bound upstream" (towards perfection). 
For the Descent of Higher Consciousness
Take games. There too you find days when everything goes well; you have done nothing special previously, but even so you succeed in everything; but if you have practised well beforehand, the result is still more magnificent. If, for example, you find yourself facing someone who has trained himself slowly, seriously, with patience and endurance, and who all of a sudden has a strong aspiration, well, this one will beat you in spite of your aspiration unless your aspiration is very much superior to that of your adversary. If you have opposite you someone who knows only the technique of the game but has no conscious aspiration, while you are in a fully conscious state, evidently it is you who will defeat him because the quality of consciousness is superior to the quality of technique. But one cannot replace the other. The one which is superior is more important, granted, but you must also have nerves which respond quickly, spontaneous movements; you must know all the secrets of the game to be able to play perfectly. You must have both the things. What is higher is the consciousness which enables you to make the right movement at the right moment but it is not exclusive. When you seek perfection, you must not neglect the one under the pretext that you have the other. 
Of one thing you can be sure — your future is in your hands. You will become the man you want to be and the higher your ideal and your aspiration, the higher will be your realisation, but you must keep a firm resolution and never forget your true aim in life. 
Q: Sweet Mother, how can we empty the consciousness of its mixed contents?
A: By aspiration, the rejection of the lower movements, a call to a higher force. If you do not accept certain movements, then naturally, when they find that they can’t manifest, gradually they diminish in force and stop occurring. If you refuse to express everything that is of a lower kind, little by little the very thing disappears, and the consciousness is emptied of lower things. It is by refusing to give expression—I mean not only in action but also in thought, in feeling. When impulses, thoughts, emotions come, if you refuse to express them, if you push them aside and remain in a state of inner aspiration and calm, then gradually they lose their force and stop coming. So the consciousness is emptied of its lower movements. 
The aspiration of the psychic being would then translate this demand entirely for the opening of the whole lower nature, mind, vital, body to the Divine, for the love and union with the Divine, for its presence and power within the heart, for the transformation of the mind, life and body by the descent of the higher consciousness into this instrumental being and nature. Both aspirations are necessary for the fullness of this Yoga, the demand of the self on the nature from above, the psychic aspiration of the nature from below. When the psychic imposes its aspiration on the mind, vital and body, then they too aspire and this is what was felt by you as the aspiration from the level of the lower being. The aspiration felt above is that of the Jivatman for the higher consciousness with its realisation of the One to manifest in all the being. Both aspirations help and are necessary to each other. But the seeking of the lower being is at first intermittent and oppressed by the obscurity and limitations of the ordinary consciousness. It has by sadhana to become clear, constant, strong and enduring; it then compels realisation, makes it inevitable. 
How to Aspire?
The personal effort required is a triple labour of aspiration, rejection and surrender, —an aspiration vigilant, constant, unceasing—the mind’s will, the heart’s seeking, the assent of the vital being, the will to open and make plastic the physical consciousness and nature;… 
Daily we must aspire to conquer all mistakes, all obscurities, all ignorances. 
We must aspire with all our being for the manifestation to come soon and complete. 
… by the intensity and persistence of your aspiration make all the parts of your being answer to the call and become one in the consecration. 
Prerequisite for Aspiration
The central sincerity is the first thing and sufficient for an aspiration to be entertained—a total sincerity is needed for the aspiration to be fulfilled. 
I think it is that: it is the habit of looking at oneself acting, looking at oneself living. It is necessary to observe oneself but I think it is still more necessary to try to be absolutely sincere and spontaneous, very spontaneous in what one does: not always to go on observing oneself, looking at what one is doing, judging oneself—sometimes severely. In fact it is almost as bad as patting oneself with satisfaction, the two are equally bad. One should be so sincere in his aspiration that he doesn’t even know he is aspiring, that he becomes the aspiration itself. When this indeed can be realised, one truly attains to an extraordinary power.
One minute, one minute of this, and you can prepare years of realisation. When one is no longer a self-regarding being, an ego looking at itself acting, when one becomes the action itself, above all in the aspiration, this truly is good. When there is no longer a person who is aspiring, when it is an aspiration which leaps up with a fully concentrated impulsion, then truly it goes very far. Otherwise there is always mixed up in it a little vanity, a little self-complacency, a little self-pity also, all kinds of little things which come and spoil everything. But it is difficult. 
The most important is a steady, quiet endurance that does not allow any upsetting or depression to interfere with your progress. The sincerity of the aspiration is the assurance of the victory. 
You must keep your aspiration steady and be patient in your endeavour—and you are sure of success. 
Continue doing your work with a simple and peaceful heart and a quiet mind. The aspiration will come gradually according to the need. 
And then there are those who have no aspiration, they try and they cannot aspire; it is because they do not have the flame of the will, it is because they do not have the flame of humility. Both are needed. There must be a very great humility and a very great will to change one’s Karma. 
The sadhana of this Yoga does not proceed through any set mental teaching or prescribed forms of meditation, mantras or others, but by aspiration, by a self-concentration inwards or upwards, by self-opening to an Influence, to the Divine Power above us and its workings, to the Divine Presence in the heart, and by the rejection of all that is foreign to these things. It is only by faith, aspiration and surrender that this self-opening can come. 
This is the first thing necessary—aspiration for the Divine. The next thing you have to do is to tend it, to keep it always alert and awake and living. And for that what is required is concentration—concentration upon the Divine with a view to an integral and absolute consecration to its Will and Purpose. Concentrate in the heart. Enter into it; go within and deep and far, as far as you can. Gather all the strings of your consciousness that are spread abroad, roll them up and take a plunge and sink down.
A fire is burning there, in the deep quietude of the heart. It is the divinity in you — your true being. Hear its voice, follow its dictates. 
Process of Aspiration
The flame of the aspiration must be so straight and so ardent that no obstacle can dissolve it. 
Each time that you discover in yourself something that denies or resists, throw it into the flame of Agni, which is the fire of aspiration. 
One keeps this fire lit by throwing into it all one’s difficulties, all one’s desires, all one’s imperfections. In the morning and evening when you come to me, you should ask me in your heart to keep the fire lit and offer me all these things as fuel. 
But for instance, when undesirable thoughts come, if you look at them, observe them, if you take pleasure in following them in their movements, they will never stop coming. It is the same thing when you have undesirable feelings or sensations: if you pay attention to them, concentrate on them or even look at them with a certain indulgence, they will never stop. But if you absolutely refuse to receive and express them, after some time they stop. You must be patient and very persistent. In a great aspiration, if you can put yourself into contact with something higher, some influence of your psychic being or some light from above, and if you can manage to put this in touch with these lower movements, naturally they stop more quickly. But before even being able to draw these things by aspiration, you can already stop those movements from finding expression in you by a very persistent and patient refusal. When thoughts which you do not like come, if you just brush them away and do not pay them any attention at all, after some time they won’t come any longer. But you must do this very persistently and regularly. 
Practices for Aspiration
I chose this quotation from Sri Aurobindo to send to you: “Aspiration, constant and sincere, and the will to turn to the Divine alone are the best means to bring forward the psychic.” Fix a time every day when you can be free and undisturbed; sit comfortably and think of your psychic being with an aspiration to enter into contact with it. If you don’t succeed immediately, don’t be discouraged; you are sure to succeed one day. 
And if you concentrate (in the heart) by gathering the energies, it is better to gather them here, because it is in this centre, (the heart centre) in this region of the being that you find the will to progress, the force of purification, and the most intense and effective aspiration. The aspiration that comes from the heart is much more effective than that from the head. 
To concentrate in the head with the aspiration for quietude in the mind and the realisation of the Self and Divine above is the second way of concentration. 
Whatever you do, never forget the goal which you have set before you. There is nothing great or small once you have set out on this great discovery; all things are equally important and can either hasten or delay its success. Thus before you eat, concentrate a few seconds in the aspiration that the food you are about to eat may bring your body the substance it needs to serve as a solid basis for your effort towards the great discovery, and give it the energy for persistence and perseverance in the effort. Before you go to sleep, concentrate a few seconds in the aspiration that the sleep may restore your fatigued nerves, bring calm and quietness to your brain so that on waking you may, with renewed vigour, begin again your journey on the path of the great discovery.
Before you act, concentrate in the will that your action may help or at least in no way hinder your march forward towards the great discovery. 
There are two actions which in practice merge into one.
(1) Never forget the goal that one wants to attain.
(2) Never allow any part of the being or any of its movements to contradict one’s aspiration.
This also makes it necessary to become conscious of one’s nights, because the activities of the night often contradict the aspiration of the day and undo its work. Vigilance, sincerity, continuity of effort, and the Grace will do the rest. 
Contact with the Psychic Being
The fundamental seat of aspiration from which it [Divine Love] radiates or manifests in one part of the being or another is the psychic centre. 
It is the psychic that gives the true aspiration — if the vital is purified and subjected to the psychic, then the vital gives intensity — but if it is unpurified it brings in a rajasic intensity with impatience and reactions of depression and disappointment. As for the calm and equality needed, it must come down from above through the mind. 
As soon as the presence of the psychic consciousness is united with the aspiration, the intensity takes on quite a different character, as if it were filled with the very essence of an inexpressible joy. This joy is something that seems contained in everything else. Whatever may be the outer form of the aspiration, whatever difficulties and obstacles it may meet, this joy is there as though it filled up everything, and it carries you in spite of everything. That is the sure sign of the psychic presence. That is to say, you have established a contact with your psychic consciousness, a more or less complete, more or less constant contact, but at that moment it is the psychic being, the psychic consciousness which fills your aspiration, gives it its true contents. And that’s what is translated into joy. When that is not there, the aspiration may come from different parts of the being; it may come mainly from the mind or mainly from the vital or even from the physical, or it may come from all the three together — it may come from all kinds of combinations. But in general, for the intensity to be there, the vital must be present. It is the vital which gives the intensity; and as the vital is at the same time the seat of most of the difficulties, obstacles, contradictions, it is the friction between the intensity of the aspiration and the intensity of the difficulty which creates this anguish. This is no reason to stop one’s aspiration.You must know, you must understand the reason for this anguish. And then, if you can introduce just one more element in your aspiration, that is, your trust in the divine Grace, trust in the divine Response, it counterbalances all possible anguish and you can aspire without any disturbance or fear. 
Difficulties in Aspiration
Naturally the more one-pointed the aspiration the swifter the progress. The difficulty comes when either the vital with its desires or the physical with its past habitual movements comes in—as they do with almost everyone. It is then that the dryness and difficulty of spontaneous aspiration come. This dryness is a well-known obstacle in all sadhana. But one has to persist and not be discouraged. If one keeps the will fixed even in these barren periods, they pass and after their passage a greater force of aspiration and experience becomes possible. 
But do not listen to these suggestions of the voice that says, “You shall not succeed and it is no use trying.” That is a thing that need never be said in the Way of the Spirit, however difficult it may seem at the moment to be. Keep through all the aspiration … for it is certainly there and comes out from the depths, and if it is the cause of suffering — as great aspirations usually are in a world and nature where there is so much to oppose them — it is also the promise and surety of emergence and victory in the future. 
Aspire for it, want it. Try to be less and less selfish, but not in the sense of becoming nice to other people or forgetting yourself, not that: have less and less the feeling that you are a person, a separate entity, something existing in itself, isolated from the rest. And then, above all, above all, it is that inner flame, that aspiration, that need for the light. It is a kind of—how to put it?—luminous enthusiasm that seizes you. It is an irresistible need to melt away, to give oneself, to exist only in the Divine. At that moment you have the experience of your aspiration.
But that moment should be absolutely sincere and as integral as possible; and all this must occur not only in the head, not only here, but must take place everywhere, in all the cells of the body. The consciousness integrally must have this irresistible need.... The thing lasts for some time, then diminishes, gets extinguished. You cannot keep these things for very long. But then it so happens that a moment later or the next day or some time later, suddenly you have the opposite experience. Instead of feeling this ascent, and all that, this is no longer there and you have the feeling of the Descent, the Answer. And nothing but the Answer exists. Nothing but the divine thought, the divine will, the divine energy, the divine action exists any longer. And you too, you are no longer there. 
For there is one part of the being which has an aspiration, there is one part of the being which gives itself, and there are other parts—sometimes a small part, some times a big one which hides nicely, right at the bottom, and keeps absolutely quiet so that it may not be found out, but which resists with all its might, so as not to change. And so one wonders... with, “Oh, I had such a beautiful aspiration, I had so much goodwill, I had such a great desire to change, and then, see, I cannot! Why?” Then, of course, your mental arrogance comes in and says, “I didn’t get the response I deserved, the divine Grace doesn’t help me, and I am left all alone to shift for myself”, etc., etc. It is not that. It is that hidden somewhere there is a tiny something which is well coiled up, in there, doubled up, turned in upon itself and well hidden, right at the bottom, as at the bottom of a box, which refuses to stir. (Mother speaks very softly.) So when the effort, the aspiration wane, die down, this springs up like that, gently, and then it wants to impose its will and it makes you do exactly what you did not want to do, what you had decided you would not do, and which you do without knowing how or why! Because that thing was there, it had its turn—for small things, big things, for the details, even for the direction of life.
There are people who see clearly, who know so well what they ought to do, and who feel that they can’t.... They don’t know why. It is nothing else but that. There is a little spot which doesn’t want to change and this little spot awaits its hour. And the day it is allowed, through laxity, fatigue, somnolence, through a little inertia, allowed to show itself, it will show itself with all concentrated, accumulated energy, and will make you do, will make you say, make you feel, make you act ex-act-ly contrary to what you had decided to do! And you will stand there: “Ah, how discouraging this is!...” Then some people say, “Fate!” They think it is their fate. It is not fate, it is themselves!... It is that they don’t have, haven’t used, the light, the searchlight. They have not turned the searchlight into the small hidden corners of their being, they haven’t discovered what was well hidden. They have left it there, and then have done this (Mother turns away her head) so as not to see it. How many times one suddenly feels one is on the point of catching something, “Hup!” It hurts a little.... It is troublesome.... So one thinks of something else, and that’s all! The opportunity has gone. One must wait for another occasion, again commit a few stupidities, before being able to find an opportunity to catch the thing by the tail, like this, or by the ear or the nose, and hold it firmly and say, “No! You won’t hide any longer now, I see you as you are, and you must either get out or change!” One must have a strong grip and an unshakable resolution. As in our Japanese story of the other day, that soldier who had a knife in his knee in order to make sure of not falling asleep... and when he felt very sleepy, he turned the knife in such a way that it hurt him still more. One must have something like that. This, this is determination: to know what one wants and to do it. 
When you have an aspiration, a very active aspiration, your aspiration is going to do its work. It is going to call down the answer to what you aspire for. But if, later, you begin to think of something else or are not attentive or receptive, you do not even notice that your aspiration has received an answer. This happens very frequently. So people tell you: “I aspire and I don’t receive anything, I get no answer!” Yes, you do have an answer but you are not aware of it, because you continue to be active in this way, like a mill turning all the time. 
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