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Receptivity Compilation

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What is Receptivity?

Receptivity is the capacity of admitting and retaining the Divine Workings. [1]

Receptivity: conscious of the Divine Will and surrendered to it. [2]

There is a state in which the sadhak is conscious of the Divine Force working in him or of its results at least and does not obstruct its descent or its action by his own mental activities, vital restlessness or physical obscurity and inertia. That is openness to the Divine. [3] Opening is a change of the consciousness by which it becomes receptive to the Divine. Opening means that the consciousness becomes opened to the Truth or the Divine to which it is now shut—it indicates a state of receptivity. [4]

The power to receive the Divine Force and to feel its presence and the presence of the Mother in it and allow it to work, guiding one's sight and will and action. If this power and presence can be felt and this plasticity made the habit of the consciousness in action,—but plasticity to the Divine Force alone without bringing in any foreign element,—the eventual result is sure. [5]

What is the State of Receptivity?

Q. Sweet Mother, what does “an exclusive self-opening to the divine Power” mean?

A: Instead of self-opening we could put receptivity, something that opens in order to receive. Now, instead of opening and receiving from all sides and from everyone, as is usually done, one opens only to the Divine to receive only the divine force. It is the very opposite of what men usually do. They are always open on the surface, they receive all the influences from all sides. And then this produces inside them what we might call a pot-pourri (Mother laughs) of all kinds of contradictory movements which naturally create countless difficulties. So here, you are advised to open only to the Divine and to receive only the divine force to the exclusion of everything else. This diminishes all difficulties almost entirely. Only one thing remain difficult. It is… One can do it and, unless one is in a state of total alchemy, well, it is difficult to be in contact with people, to speak to them, for example, to have any kind of exchange with them without absorbing something from them. It is difficult. If one is in a kind of… if one is in an atmosphere that’s like a filter, then everything that comes from outside is filtered before it touches you. But it is very difficult; it requires a very wide experience. [6]

Opening means that the consciousness becomes opened to the Truth or the Divine to which it is now shut—it indicates a state of receptivity. [7]

...according to your personal attitude, you create within yourself the conditions for receiving what is done or not receiving it. And trust—indeed, trust in the Truth, trust in the Grace, trust in the divine Knowledge—this puts you in that state of receptivity in which you can receive these things. [8]

To be receptive is to feel the urge to give and the joy of giving to the Divine's Work all one has, all one is, all one does. [9]

Each time that something of the Divine Truth and the Divine Force comes down to manifest upon earth, some change is effected in the earth's atmosphere. In the descent, those who are receptive are awakened to some inspiration from it, some touch, some beginning of sight. If they were capable of holding and expressing rightly what they receive, they would say, 'A great force has come down; I am in contact with it and what I understand of it, I will tell you.' But most of them are not capable of that, because they have small minds. They get illumined, possessed, as it were, and cry, 'I have the Divine Truth, I possess it whole and entire.' [10]

What is Receptivity in Different Parts of the Being

Integral Receptivity

Integral receptivity: the whole being is aware of the Divine Will and obeys it. [11]

Psychic Receptivity

Psychic receptivity: the psychic responds joyously to the ascending force. [12]

Mental Receptivity

Mental receptivity: always ready to learn. [13]

Emotional Receptivity

Emotional receptivity: emotions wanting to be divinised. [14]

Vital Receptivity

Vital receptivity happens only when the vital understands that it must be transformed. [15]

Physical Receptivity

Physical receptivity: that which one should not have except towards the Divine. [16]

Supramentalised Receptivity

Supramentalised receptivity: the receptivity of tomorrow. [17]

What is Perfect Receptivity?

It is an admirable state; it is perfect peace of mind. There is no longer any need to accumulate acquired knowledge, received ideas which have to be memorised; it is no longer necessary to clutter one's brain with thousands and thousands of things in order to have at one's command, when the time comes, the knowledge that is needed to perform an action, to impart a teaching, to solve a problem. The mind is silent, the brain is still, everything is clear, quiet, calm; and at the right moment, by divine Grace a drop of light falls into the consciousness and what needs to be known is known. Why should one care to remember—why try to retain that knowledge? On the day or at the moment that it is needed one will have it again. At each second one is a blank page on which what must be known will be inscribed—in the peace, the repose, the silence of a perfect receptivity. [Based on Aphorism 4: I am not a Jnani,1 for I have no knowledge except what God gives me for His work. How am I to know whether what I see be reason or folly? Nay, it is neither; for the thing seen is simply true and neither folly nor reason.][18]

What is Lack of Receptivity?

...if you have aspiration, in itself it has a power. Only, this aspiration calls down an answer, and this answer, the effect, which is the result of the aspiration, depends upon each one, for it depends upon his receptivity. I know many people of this kind: they say, "Oh! But I aspire all the time and still I receive nothing." It is impossible that they should receive nothing, in the sense that the answer is sure to come. But it is they who do not receive. The answer comes but they are not receptive, so they receive nothing. [19]


Here, for each work given, the full strength and Grace are always given at the same time to do the work as it has to be done. If you do not feel the strength and the Grace, it proves that there is some mistake in your attitude. The faith is lacking or you have fallen back on old tracks and old creeds and thus you lose all receptivity. [20]

I don't think that forces have a limit, because in comparison with us they are certainly unlimited. But it's our capacity of reception that is limited. We cannot absorb them beyond a certain measure, and then we must keep a balance between the expenditure and the capacity to receive. If one spends suddenly in a kind of impulse—for example, in an impulsive movement—if one spends much more than one has received, one needs a brief moment of concentration, calm, receptivity to absorb universal forces. You must put yourself in a certain condition to receive them; and then, they last for a certain time, and once you have spent them you must begin again to receive them. It is in this sense that there are limits. It isn't the forces that are limited, it is the receptivity. [21]

In the Physical

The possibilities of illness are always there in your body and around you; you carry within you or there swarm about you the microbes and germs of every disease. How is it that all of a sudden you succumb to an illness which you did not have for years? You will say it is due to a "depression of the vital force". But from where does the depression come? It comes from some disharmony in the being, from a lack of receptivity to the divine forces. When you cut yourself off from the energy and light that sustain you, then there is this depression, there is created what medical science calls a "favourable ground" and something takes advantage of it. It is doubt, gloominess, lack of confidence, a selfish turning back upon yourself that cuts you off from the light and divine energy and gives the attack this advantage. It is this that is the cause of your falling ill and not microbes. [22]


If the body lacks receptivity altogether or if its receptivity is insufficient, one sees the inner correspondence with the psychological state which has brought about the illness and acts on that. Let us say the origin is vital. The vital absolutely refuses to change, it clings terrifically to the condition in which it is; then that is hopeless. You put the force, and usually it provokes an increase in the illness, produced by the resistance of the vital which did not want to accept anything. I speak of the vital but it can be the mind or something else. [23]

On one side, the action of the forces of Yoga hastens the movement of transformation of the being in those parts that are ready to receive and respond to the power that is at work upon it. Yoga, in this way, saves time. The whole world is in a process of progressive transformation; if you take up the discipline of Yoga, you speed up in yourself this process. The work that would require years in the ordinary course, can be done by Yoga in a few days and even in a few hours. But it is your inner consciousness that obeys this accelerating impulse; for the higher parts of your being readily follow the swift and concentrated movement of Yoga and lend themselves more easily to the continuous adjustment and adaptation that it necessitates. The body, on the other hand, is ordinarily dense, inert and apathetic. And if you have in this part something that is not responsive, if there is a resistance here, the reason is that the body is incapable of moving as quickly as the rest of the being. It must take time, it must walk at its own pace as it does in ordinary life. What happens is as when grown-up people walk too fast for children in their company; they have to stop at times and wait till the child who is lagging behind comes up and overtakes them. This divergence between the progress in the inner being and the inertia of the body often creates a dislocation in the system, and that manifests itself as an illness. This is why people who take up Yoga frequently begin by suffering from some physical discomfort or disorder. That need not happen if they are on their guard and careful. Or if there is a greater and unusual receptivity in the body, then too they escape. But an unmixed receptivity making the physical parts closely follow the pace of the inner transformation is hardly possible, unless the body has already been prepared in the past for the processes of Yoga. [24]

Receptivity and other Qualities

Perfection and Receptivity

It may be said that perfection is attained, though it remains progressive, when the receptivity from below is equal to the force from above which wants to manifest. [25]


We may say that perfection will be attained in the individual, the collectivity, on the earth and in the universe, when, at every moment, the receptivity will be equal in quality and quantity to the Force which wants to manifest. [26]

Universal Love and Receptivity

Love is one of the great universal forces; it exists by itself and its movement is free and independent of the objects in which and through which it manifests. It manifests wherever it finds a possibility for manifestation, wherever there is receptivity, wherever there is some opening for it. What you call love and think of as a personal or individual thing is only your capacity to receive and manifest this universal force. But because it is universal, it is not therefore an unconscious force; it is a supremely conscious Power. Consciously it seeks for its manifestation and realisation upon earth; consciously it chooses its instruments, awakens to its vibrations those who are capable of an answer, endeavours to realise in them that which is its eternal aim, and when the instrument is not fit, drops it and turns to look for others. Men think that they have suddenly fallen in love; they see their love come and grow and then it fades—or, it may be, endures a little longer in some who are more specially fitted for its more lasting movement. But their sense in this of a personal experience all their own was an illusion. It was a wave from the everlasting sea of universal love. [27]

Humility and Receptivity

It is very simple, when people are told "be humble", they think immediately of "being humble before other men" and that humility is wrong. True humility is humility before the Divine, that is, a precise, exact, living sense that one is nothing, one can do nothing, understand nothing without the Divine, that even if one is exceptionally intelligent and capable, this is nothing in comparison with the divine Consciousness, and this sense one must always keep, because then one always has the true attitude of receptivity—a humble receptivity that does not put personal pretensions in opposition to the Divine. [28]

Why is Receptivity Important?

In the case of a man acting as an instrument of the Force the action is more complicated, because consciously or unconsciously the man must receive, also he must be able to work out what the Force puts through him. He is a living complex instrument, not a simple machine. So if he has responsiveness, capacity, etc. he can work out the Force perfectly, if not he does it imperfectly or frustrates it. That is why we speak of and insist on the perfectioning of the instrument. [29]


A complete liberation and a complete perfection or the complete possession of the Divine and possession by the Divine is possible but it does not usually happen by an easy miracle or a series of miracles. The miracle can and does happen but only when there is the full call and complete self-giving of the soul and the entire widest opening of the nature. [30]

And only then can we receive the Light, know perfectly the will of the Supreme, attune all our movements to the rhythm of its Truth and execute perfectly from moment to moment its imperative commandments. Till then there is no firm achievement, but only an endeavour, seeking and aspiration, all the stress and struggle of a great and uncertain spiritual adventure. Only when these things are accomplished is there for the dynamic parts of our nature the beginning of a divine security in its acts and a transcendent peace. [31]

For Progress

Each person has a different receptivity. No two receptivities are the same in quality and quantity, but specially in quality. One enters into contact with very pure, very intense forces—what could be already called converted forces, that is, universal vital forces which are in contact with the Divine and not only receive the Divine but aspire to receive Him. So if you absorb these forces it gives you a great strength for progress. It is in this that the quality is much more important. And for the quality of the universal vital forces, it depends naturally a great deal on what one is, but also much on what one does. [32]

As for spiritual knowledge, it consists of two elements, experience and a direct knowledge which is not mental but is of the nature of a light showing the deeper truth of things, a direct vision and perception of the Truth.

The ordinary consciousness is not capable of receiving it as knowledge except in a fragmentary way because it belongs to a deeper consciousness within or a higher consciousness above the mind. The ordinary consciousness has therefore to open to the deeper and the higher consciousness. It has to receive the knowledge from within and above. It cannot do this if it does not open. There must, therefore, first necessarily be an opening, however small, before any direct knowledge can come. As the knowledge comes the opening also can widen and so admit a greater and greater direct knowledge and experience. In some, however, the opening comes first very wide and then the knowledge comes afterwards in a great stream, some light of the Truth and many experiences. [33]

For Transformation

The starting-point of this transformation is receptivity, we have already spoken about it. That is the indispensable condition for obtaining the transformation. Then comes the change of consciousness. This change of consciousness and its preparation have often been compared with the formation of the chicken in the egg: till the very last second the egg remains the same, there is no change, and it is only when the chicken is completely formed, absolutely alive, that it itself makes with its little beak a hole in the shell and comes out. Something similar takes place at the moment of the change of consciousness. For a long time you have the impression that nothing is happening, that your consciousness is the same as usual, and, if you have an intense aspiration, you even feel a resistance, as though you were knocking against a wall which does not yield. But when you are ready within, a last effort—the pecking in the shell of the being—and everything opens and you are projected into another consciousness. [34]

The force that comes down into one who is doing Yoga and helps him in his transformation, acts along many different lines and its results vary according to the nature that receives it and the work to be done. First of all, it hastens the transformation of all in the being that is ready to be transformed. If he is open and receptive in his mind, the mind, touched by the power of Yoga, begins to change and progress swiftly. There may be the same rapidity of change in the vital consciousness if that is ready, or even in the body. But in the body the transforming power of Yoga is operative only to a certain degree; for the receptivity of the body is limited. The most material plane of the universe is still in a condition in which receptivity is mixed with a large amount of resistance. But rapid progress in one part of the being which is not followed by an equivalent progress in other parts produces a disharmony in the nature, a dislocation somewhere; and wherever or whenever this dislocation occurs, it can translate itself into an illness. The nature of the illness depends upon the nature of the dislocation. One kind of disharmony affects the mind and the disturbance it produces may lead even as far as insanity; another kind affects the body and may show itself as fever or prickly heat or any other greater or minor disorder. [35]

How to be Receptive?

In this Yoga the whole principle is to open oneself to the Divine Influence. It is there above you and, if you can once become conscious of it, you have then to call it down into you. It descends into the mind and into the body as Peace, as a Light, as a Force that works, as the Presence of the Divine with or without form, as Ananda. Before one has this consciousness, one has to have faith and aspire for the opening. Aspiration, call, prayer are forms of one and the same thing and are all effective; you can take the form that comes to you or is easiest to you. The other way is concentration; you concentrate your consciousness in the heart (some do it in the head or above the head) and meditate on the Mother in the heart and call her in there. One can do either and both at different times—whatever comes naturally to you or you are moved to do at the moment. Especially in the beginning the one great necessity is to get the mind quiet, reject at the time of meditation all thoughts and movements that are foreign to the sadhana. In the quiet mind there will be a progressive preparation for the experience. But you must not become impatient if all is not done at once; it takes time to bring entire quiet into the mind; you have to go on till the consciousness is ready. [36]

Conditions for Receptivity

To be able to receive the Divine Power and let it act through you in the things of the outward life, there are [these]necessary conditions:

1) Quietude, equality—not to be disturbed by anything that happens, to keep the mind still and firm, seeing the play of forces, but itself tranquil.

2) Absolute faith—faith that what is for the best will happen, but also that if one can make oneself a true instrument, the fruit will be that which one’s will guided by the Divine Light sees as the thing to be done—kartavyaṁ karma. [37]

The voidness is the best condition for a full receptivity. [38]

In order to be filled anew the vessel must get empty sometimes.

It is when we are preparing for greater receptivities that we feel empty. [39]

All quietude of the mind makes good conditions for the receptivity to act. [40]

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. [41]

Peace is necessary for all; without peace and an increasing purity, even if one opens, one cannot receive perfectly all that comes down through the opening. Light too is necessary for all—without light one cannot take full advantage of all that comes down. [42]

It is with the widening of the consciousness and the one-pointedness of the aspiration that the receptivity increases. [43]

Aspiration

Aspiration is to call the forces. When the forces have answered, there is a natural state of quiet receptivity concentrated but spontaneous. [44]

Hold fast and aspire always for the love and the opening. The inner heart is there and that will receive an answer to the aspiration and one day quickly open the outer and make it also receive. To call to the Mother always is the main thing and with that to aspire and assent to the light when it comes, to reject and detach oneself from desire and any dark movement. But if one cannot do these other things successfully, then call and still call. [45]

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. [46]

Q. How can I receive Sri Aurobindo’s light in the mind?

A. It can always come if you aspire patiently. But the basic condition, if you want that Light, is to get rid of all other mental influences. [47]



Process for Receptivity

Receptiveness through Passivity

...if you want to get true inspiration, inner guidance, the guide, and if you want to have the force, to receive the force which will guide you and make you act as you should, then you do not move any longer, that is—I don’t mean not move physically but nothing must come out from you any more and, on the contrary, you remain as though you were quite still, but open, and wait for the Force to enter, and then open yourself as wide as possible to take in all that comes into you. And it is this movement: instead of out-going vibrations there is a kind of calm quietude, but completely open, as though you were opening all your pores in this way to the force which must descend into you and transform your action and consciousness. Receptivity is the result of a fine passivity. [48]

...an inert passivity is just this, what is absolutely unconscious, inactive, what does not respond; whereas the other day we described a passivity which responds, which opens and is receptive, but doesn't move, doesn't act, which is the opposite of... Let us take passivity as the opposite of activity, something that does not act but is receptive and receives. [49]

...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.

And the two can go together. And when one succeeds in having the two together, one can have them constantly, whatever one may be doing. Only there may be a slight, very slight displacement of consciousness, almost imperceptible, which becomes aware of the flame first and then of the vase of receptivity—of what seeks to be filled and the flame that rises to call down what must fill the vase—a very slight pendular movement and so close that it gives the impression that one has the two at the same time. [50]

Receptiveness through Progress

How can we increase the receptivity? By progressing.

One must first know how to open himself and then, in a great quietude know how to assimilate the forces one has received, not to throw them out again. One must know how to assimilate them.

So the progress lies in a normal but progressive equilibrium, periods of assimilation—reception, assimilation—and periods of expenditure, and knowing how to balance the two, and alternate them in a rhythm which is your personal one. You must not go beyond your capacity, you must not remain below it, because the universal vital forces are not something which you could put into a strong box. They must circulate. So you must know how to receive and at the same time to spend, but to increase the capacity of reception so as to have more and more of the things which are to be used up, to be spent. Besides, this is what happens, as I said, this is what happens quite naturally with children. They begin, make a certain effort, receive a certain force spontaneously, assimilate it and then after a few days, two days, ten days, twenty days they can spend more. After a year they can do much more, because quite naturally they alternate the reception and the expenditure, and they progress in their stature. They of course do it unconsciously, but when one is older it becomes more difficult; one stops growing up, for example. So this means that there's a certain period of expansion which has stopped. But it can be prolonged, then, with an inner discipline, a method one finds: it has to be one's own method. [51]

Receptivity in the Parts of Being

First of all there are many different parts of the being and each one can open in its own way, you see; the mental opening and the vital opening are very different in nature and the physical opening is still more different. [52]

Receptivity in the Physical

Q....when the physical consciousness is united with the Divine, does transformations follow?

A: Yes. Follow, but not instantaneously. It takes time. Only if the Divine descends into the physical consciousness—or rather, to put it more precisely, if the physical consciousness is totally receptive to the Divine—naturally transformations ensues. But a transformation does not come about by waving a magic wand. It takes time and is done progressively. [53]


What is the physical opening? That’s when the physical body opens to the divine influence and receives the divine forces. For example, you see, there’s a moment when the divine forces come and penetrate all the cells. To begin with, it is the physical consciousness, the body consciousness which opens first to the influence of the Divine and understands and wants nothing else but this, the divine Presence, the divine influence. There are also the body’s feelings, and the very cells of the body, which can open to receive the force. For instance, when at a certain moment one feels a kind of very intense vibrations spreading through the whole body and at that time one feels filled with a strength, an unusual force, a consciousness also, and all things become clear and perceptible, then that’s an opening of the body; it is when the body knows, you see, and has succeeded in opening to the influence. [54]

A lazy body is certainly not a proper instrument for Yoga, it must stop being lazy. But a fatigued and unwilling body also cannot receive properly or be a good instrument. The proper thing is to avoid either extreme. [55]

It [how the body receives the higher dynamism] depends on the condition of the body or rather of the physical and the most material consciousness. In one condition it is tamasic, inert, unopen and cannot bear or cannot receive or cannot contain the force; in another rajas predominates and tries to seize on the dynamism, but wastes and spills and loses it; in another there is receptivity, harmony, balance and the result is a harmonious action without strain or effort. [56]


Q.“The more you give, the more you receive,” it is said. Does this apply to physical energy? Should one undertake physical work which seems beyond one’s capacity? And what should be one’s attitude while doing this kind of work?

A. If one did not spend, one would never receive. The great force a child has for growth, for development is that he spends without stint.

Naturally, when one spends, one must recuperate and must have the time that is needed to recuperate; but what a child cannot do one day, he can do the next. So if you never go beyond the limit you have reached, you will never progress. It is quite obvious that people who practise physical culture, for example, if they make progress, it is just because they gradually exceed, go beyond what they could do.

It is all a matter of balance. And the period of receptivity should be in proportion to the period of expenditure.

But if one confines oneself to what one can do at a given moment… First of all it is impossible, for if one doesn’t progress, one falls back. Therefore, one must always make a little effort to do a little more than before. Then one is on the upward path. If one is afraid of doing too much, one is sure to go down again and lose one’s capacities.

One must always try a little more, a little better than one did the day before or the previous moment. Only, the more one increases one’s effort, the more should one increase one’s capacity of receptivity and the opportunities to receive. For instance, from the purely physical point of view, if one wants to develop one’s muscles, a progressive effort must be made by them, that is to say, a greater and greater effort, but at the same time one must do what is needed: massage, hydrotherapy, etc. to increase at the same time their capacity to receive. And rest. A rest which is not a falling into the inconscient―which generally tires you more than it refreshes―but a conscious rest, a concentration in which one opens oneself and absorbs the forces which come, the universal forces. The limits of the body’s possibilities are so elastic! People who undergo a methodical and scientific training, rational, systematic, arrive at absolutely startling results. They demand things from their bodies which, naturally, without training it would be quite impossible to do. And certainly, they must gradually go beyond what they could do, not only from the point of view of perfection, but also from the point of view of strength. If they have that fear of doing more than they are able, of overdoing things, they will never progress. Only, at the same time one must do what is necessary for recuperating. That is the whole principle of physical culture. And one sees things which for an ignorant and untrained man are absolutely miraculous, performed by bodies which have been methodically trained. [57]

...you are receptive to the force when you work and that sustains you. But when you are not under the strain of the work you are less receptive. You must learn to be receptive in all circumstances and always―especially when you take rest―it must not be the "rest" of inertia but a true rest of receptivity. [58]

The method of relaxing the contraction may be different in the mind, the vital or the body, but logically it is the same thing. Once you have relaxed the tension, you see first if the disagreeable effect ceases, which would prove that it was a small momentary resistance, but if the pain continues and if it is indeed necessary to increase the receptivity in order to be able to receive what is helpful, what should be received, you must, after having relaxed this contraction, begin trying to widen yourself—you feel you are widening yourself. There are many methods. Some find it very useful to imagine they are floating on water with a plank under their back. Then they widen themselves, widen, until they become the vast liquid mass. Others make an effort to identify themselves with the sky and the stars, so they widen, widen themselves, identifying themselves more and more with the sky. Others again don't need these pictures; they can become conscious of their consciousness, enlarge their consciousness more and more until it becomes unlimited. One can enlarge it till it becomes vast as the earth and even the universe. When one does that one becomes really receptive. As I have said, it is a question of training. In any case, from an immediate point of view, when something comes and one feels that it is too strong, that it gives a headache, that one can't bear it, the method is just the same, you must act upon the contraction. One can act through thought, by calling the peace, tranquillity (the feeling of peace takes away much of the difficulty) like this: "Peace, peace, peace... tranquillity... calm." Many discomforts, even physical, like all these contractions of the solar plexus, which are so unpleasant and give you at times nausea, the sensation of being suffocated, of not being able to breathe again, can disappear thus. It is the nervous centre which is affected, it gets affected very easily. As soon as there is something which affects the solar plexus, you must say, "Calm... calm... calm", become more and more calm until the tension is destroyed. </ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/31-march-1951#p18</ref>

It is in the calm that the body can increase its receptivity and gain the power to contain. [59]


Q.How does fasting produce a state of receptivity?

A. ...It is not like your stomach which can digest only a certain amount of food, and therefore you can't take in more than that; and even the food you take liberates only a little bit, a very small quantity of vital energy. And so what can remain with you after all the work of swallowing, digesting, etc.? Not much, you see. But if you learn... and this indeed is a kind of instinct, one learns instinctively to draw towards himself the universal energies which move freely in the universe and are unlimited in quantity... as much of these as you are capable of drawing towards you, you can absorb—so instinctively when there is no support from below which comes from food, you make the necessary movement to recuperate the energies from outside, and absorb as much of them as you are capable of doing, and sometimes more. So this puts you in a kind of state of excitement, and if your body is very strong and can bear being without food for a certain length of time, then you keep your balance and can use these energies for all kinds of things, as for example, to progress, to become more conscious and transform your nature. But if your physical body doesn't have much in reserve and grows considerably weak from not eating, then this creates an imbalance between the intensity of the energies you absorb and the capacity of the body to hold them, and then this causes disturbances. You lose your balance, and all the balance of forces is destroyed, and anything at all may happen to you. In any case, you lose much control over yourself and become usually very excited, and you take this excitement for a higher state. But often it is simply an inner imbalance, nothing more. It sharpens the receptivity very much. For example, precisely when one fasts and no longer takes the energies from below, well, if you breathe in the odour of a flower it nourishes you, the perfume nourishes you, it gives you a great deal of energy; but otherwise you do not notice it. [60]


Receptivity in the Mind

The mind must learn to be silent—remain calm, attentive, without making a noise. If you try to silence your mind directly, it is a hard job, almost impossible; for the most material part of the mind never stops its activity—it goes on and on like a non-stop recording machine. It repeats all that it records and unless there is a switch to stop it, it continues and continues indefinitely. If, on the other hand, you manage to shift your consciousness into a higher domain, above the ordinary mind, this opening to the Light calms the mind, it does not stir any longer, and the mental silence so obtained can become constant. Once you enter into this domain, you may very well never come out of it—the external mind always remains calm. [61]

That depends on people, I told you. There are people—as soon as the least thing happens to their body, their mind is completely upset. There are others still who may be very ill and yet keep their mind clear. It is rarer and more difficult to see a mind that's upset and the body remaining healthy—it is not impossible but it is much rarer, for the body depends a great deal on the state of the mind. The mind (I have written it there in the book) is the master of the physical being. And I have said the latter was a very docile and obedient servant. Only one doesn't know how to use one's mind, rather the opposite. Not only does one not know how to use it, but one uses it ill—as badly as possible. The mind has a considerable power of formation and a direct action on the body, and usually one uses this power to make oneself ill. For as soon as the least thing goes wrong, the mind begins to shape and build all the catastrophes possible, to ask itself whether it could be this, whether it could be that, if it is going to be like that, and how it will all end. Well, if instead of letting the mind do this disastrous work, one used the same capacity to make favourable formations—simply, for example, to give confidence to the body, to tell it that it is just a passing disturbance and that it is nothing, and if it enters a real state of receptivity, the disorder will disappear as easily as it has come, and one can cure oneself in a few seconds—if one knows how to do that, one gets wonderful results. [62]

If the mind keeps its quietude and receptivity to higher forces only, it can then easily pass on that quietude and receptivity to the body consciousness and even to the material cells of the body. [63]

Role of the Psychic Being in Receptivity

That is the special work of the psychic being, to receive the true things from above and to send away the false things from below. [64]

There is an inner mind, an inner vital, an inner physical consciousness which can more easily than the outer receive the higher consciousness above and put itself into harmony with the psychic being; when that is done the outer nature is felt as only a fringe on the surface, not as oneself, and is more easily transformed altogether. [65]

...the opening up of all this lower consciousness to the higher spiritual consciousness above for its descent into a nature prepared to receive it with a complete receptivity and right attitude—for the psychic brings in everything right thought, right perception, right feeling, right attitude. [66]

...if one is able to consciously unite with one's psychic being, one can always be in this state of receptivity, inner joy, energy, progress, communion with the divine Presence. And when one is in communion with That, one sees it everywhere, in everything, and all things take on their true meaning. [67]


Practices for Receptivity

Q. Mother, on what does receptivity depend?

A. It depends first of all upon sincerity—on whether one really wants to receive—and then… yes, I believe the principal factors are sincerity and humility. There is nothing that closes you up more than vanity. When you are self-satisfied, you have that kind of vanity of not wanting to admit that you lack something, that you make mistakes, that you are incomplete, that you are imperfect, that you are…There is something in the nature, you know, which grows stiff in this way, which does not want to admit—it is this which prevents you from receiving. You have, however, only to try it out and get the experience. If, by an effort of will you manage to make even a very tiny part of the being admit that “Ah, well, yes, I am mistaken, I should not be like that, and I should not do that and should not feel that, yes, it is a fault”, if you manage to make it admit this, at first, as I said just now, it begins by hurting you very much, but when you hold on firmly, until this is admitted, immediately it is open—it is open and strangely a flood of light enters, and then you feel so glad afterwards, so happy that you ask yourself, “Why, from what foolishness did I resist so long?” [68]

It is certainly not by merely repeating “to will” and “to open” (with the mental idea), that the will or the opening will come. It is by using the will that the will becomes effective, it is by using the aspiration and the will also that the opening comes. The first thing is to call down the calm into the mind and the vital; with the calm established or in course of preparation to invite more and more the Mother’s workings and grow conscious of them within you and give your assent to them and refuse all else. All the rest then comes in its time and by the proper process. [69]

Going Within

Naturally, by the action of Grace, the veil may suddenly be rent from within, and at once you can enter the true truth; but even when that happens, in order to obtain the full value and full effect of the experience, you must maintain yourself in a state of inner receptivity, and to do that, it is indispensable for you to go within each day. [70]

Concentration is necessary. By dhyana you awake the inner being; by concentration in life, in work, in the outer consciousness you make the outer being also fit to receive the Divine Light and Force. [71]

...opening of the heart centre releases the psychic being which proceeds to make us aware of the Divine within us and of the higher Truth above us. …

The psychic opening through the heart puts us primarily into connection with the individual Divine, the Divine in his inner relations with us; it is especially the source of love and bhakti. This upward opening puts us into direct relation with the whole Divine and can create in us the divine consciousness and a new birth or births of the spirit. [72]

The first opening is effected by a concentration in the heart, a call to the Divine to manifest within us and through the psychic to take up and lead the whole nature. Aspiration, prayer, bhakti, love, surrender are the main supports of this part of the sadhana—accompanied by a rejection of all that stands in the way of what we aspire for. The second opening is effected by a concentration of the consciousness in the head (afterwards, above it) and an aspiration and call and a sustained will for the descent of the divine Peace, Power, Light, Knowledge, Ananda into the being—the Peace first or the Peace and Force together. Some indeed receive Light first or Ananda first or some sudden pouring down of knowledge. With some there is first an opening which reveals to them a vast infinite Silence, Force, Light or Bliss above them and afterwards either they ascend to that or these things begin to descend into the lower nature. With others there is either the descent, first into the head, then down to the heart level, then to the navel and below and through the whole body, or else an inexplicable opening—without any sense of descent—of peace, light, wideness or power or else a horizontal opening into the cosmic consciousness or, in a suddenly widened mind, an outburst of knowledge. Whatever comes has to be welcomed—for there is no absolute rule for all,—but if the peace has not come first, care must be taken not to swell oneself in exultation or lose the balance. The capital movement however is when the Divine Force or Shakti, the power of the Mother comes down and takes hold, for then the organisation of the consciousness begins and the larger foundation of the Yoga. [73]

Rejection=

Especially the nervous excitement of the vital has to be rejected; a calm and quiet strength in the nervous being and the body is the only sound basis. It is there for you to receive, if you open yourself to it always. [74]

The more one gives oneself, the more the power to receive will grow. But for that all impatience and revolt must go; all suggestions of not getting, not being helped, not being loved, of going away, of abandoning life or the spiritual endeavour must be rejected. [75]

Surrender

Not to impose one’s mind and vital will on the Divine but to receive the Divine’s will and follow it, is the true attitude of sadhana. Not to say, “This is my right, want, claim, need, requirement, why do I not get it?” but to give oneself, to surrender and to receive with joy whatever the Divine gives, not grieving or revolting, is the better way. Then what you receive will be the right thing for you. [76]

Do not attach so much importance to mistakes or insist on your non-receptiveness and unconsciousness. You have only to turn always to the Force that gives you calmness and in the calmness you will become progressively more and more conscious and receptive. [77]

But, you see, in the world as it is, we are all interdependent. You cannot take in the air without taking in the vibrations, the countless vibrations produced by all kinds of movements and all kinds of people, and you must—if you want to remain intact—you must constantly act like a filter, as I was saying. That is to say, nothing that is undesirable should be allowed to enter, as when one goes to infected areas, one wears a mask over the face so that the air may be purified before one breathes it in. Well, something similar has to be done. One must have around oneself so intense an atmosphere in a total surrender to the Divine, so intensified around oneself that everything that passes through is automatically filtered. Anyhow, it is very useful in life, for there are—we spoke about this too—there are bad thoughts, bad wills, people who wish you ill, who make formations. There are all kinds of absolutely undesirable things in the atmosphere. And so, if one must always be on the watch, looking around on all sides, one would think only of one thing, how to protect oneself. First of all, it is tiresome, and then, you see, it makes you waste much time. If you are well enveloped in this way, with this light, the light of a perfectly glad, totally sincere surrender, when you are enveloped with that, it serves you as a marvellous filter. [78]

Mantra/Japa

If rightly done, the mantra is a means of opening to the light and knowledge etc. from above and it ceases as soon as that is done. [79]

OM if rightly used (not mechanically) might very well help the opening upwards and outwards (cosmic consciousness) as well as the descent. [80]

The name of the Divine is usually called in for protection, for adoration, for increase of bhakti, for the opening up of the inner consciousness, for the realisation of the Divine in that aspect. As far as it is necessary to work in the subconscious for that, the Name must be effective there. [81]

Overcoming Resistance Through Receptivity

... something that opens in order to receive. Now, instead of opening and receiving from all sides and from everyone, as is usually done, one opens only to the Divine to receive only the divine force. It is the very opposite of what men usually do. They are always open on the surface, they receive all the influences from all sides. And then this produces inside them what we might call a pot-pourri(Mother laughs) of all kinds of contradictory movements which naturally create countless difficulties. So here, you are advised to open only to the Divine and to receive only the divine force to the exclusion of everything else. This diminishes all difficulties almost entirely. Only one thing remain difficult. It is... One can do it and, unless one is in a state of total alchemy, well, it is difficult to be in contact with people, to speak to them, for example, to have any kind of exchange with them without absorbing something from them. It is difficult. If one is in a kind of... if one is in an atmosphere that's like a filter, then everything that comes from outside is filtered before it touches you. But it is very difficult; it requires a very wide experience. That is why, also, people who wanted the easiest path went into solitude to sit under a tree, did not speak any more and saw nobody; for this helps to diminish undesirable exchanges. Only, it has been noticed that these people begin to become enormously interested in the life of little animals, the life of plants, for it is difficult not to have any exchange with anything at all. So it is much better to face the problem squarely and be surrounded by an atmosphere so totally concentrated on the Divine that what comes through this atmosphere is filtered in its passage. [82]

You have resistances in your body, haven't you? When you want to do an exercise, can you do with your body whatever you want? And when you try to be in good health, does your body always obey? And when you want to learn your lesson, does your brain follow it without difficulty?... That is the resistance, it is all that refuses to progress. And I believe that unfortunately the amount of resistance is much greater than the amount of receptivity. One must work very hard to become receptive.

One does not know—it is perhaps something you will know one day, perhaps you will be told one day, perhaps one will be able to make you understand it—you cannot imagine the immense flood of force that is at your disposal! And generally you do not feel it even. When you feel it, something in you shrinks because it is too much and produces a kind of instinctive fear in your cells; and when you receive it, more than three-quarters of it is thrown away like an overfilled vessel! It gushes out, spills over, because you are not able to hold it. I have met a very large number of people who complained that they were receiving nothing, that is to say, they said they did not have the forces they needed. It was because they were absolutely incapable of receiving them, and there was a hundred thousand times more force than what they could receive. It is like that. You are all in a sea of tremendous vibrations, and you are not at all aware of it because you are not receptive. And there is such a resistance in you that if something succeeds in entering, three quarters of what enters is thrown out violently because you are not able to contain it…. I do not speak of this usually, but since we are talking about the subject, I am telling you. And perhaps one day I shall give you examples of it. It is something unbelievable. For example, just take the consciousness of the Forces, like the force of love, the force of understanding or the force of creation (for everything, it is the same: the force of protection, the force of growth, all that, and the power for progress, for everything); take Consciousness, simply this Consciousness which surrounds everything, enters into everything, which is everywhere, which is in everything…. Well, it is almost felt as a violence which seeks to impose itself upon the being that is unable to receive or bear it. And I am speaking of the very best; but in everyone there is a part more or less big, more or less important which does not yet have the goodwill, which is just on the border-line of bad will and does not want at any cost and rejects what is there. But if one were open and simply breathed in—nothing more, if one did that only—one would breathe in the Consciousness, the Light, the Understanding, the Force, the Love and all the rest. And all that is wasted upon Earth because the Earth is not ready to take it. [83]

Children, for example, who are younger, who always move about, always shout and romp and jump (very rarely do they keep quiet, except while asleep, and perhaps not even so), well, they spend much and they receive much, and generally it is the physical and vital energy that is spent and it is physical and vital energies that are received. They recuperate a good part of what they spend. So there, it is very important for them to be in surroundings where they can, after they have spent or while they are spending, recover something that is at least equal in quality to theirs, that is not of an inferior quality.

When you no longer have this generosity in your movements, you receive much less and this is one of the reasons—one of the chief reasons—why physical progress stops. It is because you become thrifty, you try not to waste; the mind intervenes: "Take care, don't tire yourself, don't do too much, etc." The mind intervenes and physical receptivity diminishes a great deal. Finally, you do not grow any more—by growing reasonable, you stop growing altogether!

But receptivity opens to other levels. Those who live in a world of desires and passions, increase their vital receptivity so much at times that it reaches proportions very unpleasant to themselves and to their surroundings. [84]

When the consciousness is narrow and personal or shut in the body, it is difficult to receive from the Divine—the wider it expands, the more it can receive. A time comes when it feels as wide as the world and able to receive all the Divine into itself. [85]

Read Summary of Receptivity

Dear reader, if you notice any error in the paragraph numbers in the hyperlinks, please let us know by dropping an email at integral.edu.in@gmail.com

  1. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/receptivity#p1
  2. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/receptivity#p2
  3. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/opening#p6
  4. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/opening#p1,p2
  5. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/the-divine-force-in-work#p4
  6. https://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/7-july-1954#p75
  7. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/opening#p2
  8. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/05/25-november-1953#p6
  9. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/receptivity#p26
  10. https://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/9-june-1929#p7
  11. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/receptivity#p3
  12. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/receptivity#p4
  13. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/receptivity#p5
  14. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/receptivity#p6
  15. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/receptivity#p7
  16. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/receptivity#p9
  17. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/receptivity#p10
  18. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/10/aphorism-4#p3
  19. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/28-april-1954#p5
  20. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/difficulties-in-work#p18
  21. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/07/4-may-1955#p17
  22. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/19-may-1929#p14
  23. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/31-march-1951#p12
  24. https://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/16-june-1929#p
  25. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/15/perfection#p6
  26. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/30-december-1950#p23
  27. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/2-june-1929#p2
  28. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/05/13-may-1953#p10
  29. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/35/receptivity-to-the-force?search=receive#p17
  30. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/31/the-difficulties-of-yoga#p22
  31. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/12/partial-systems-of-yoga#p58
  32. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/07/4-may-1955#p18
  33. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/the-guru#p36,p37
  34. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/4-january-1951#p3
  35. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/16-june-1929#p5
  36. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/opening#p8
  37. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/the-divine-force-in-work#p1,p2,p3
  38. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/30/emptiness-voidness-blankness-and-silence#p20
  39. https://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/receptivity#p14,p15
  40. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/quiet-and-calm#p42
  41. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/19-may-1954#p15
  42. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/peace-the-basis-of-the-sadhana#p2
  43. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/receptivity#p11
  44. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/aspirlation#p13
  45. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/31/wrong-movements-of-the-vital#p21
  46. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/the-aim-of-the-integral-yoga#p3
  47. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/35/receiving-sri-aurobindos-light#p1,p2
  48. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/21-april-1954#p24
  49. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/7-july-1954#p54
  50. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/21-april-1954#p26,p27
  51. https://incarnateword.in/cwm/07/4-may-1955#p21,p22,p23
  52. https://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/3-november-1954#p3
  53. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/21-april-1954#p3
  54. https://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/3-november-1954#p4,p5,p6
  55. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/31/levels-of-the-physical-being#p50
  56. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/30/descent-and-the-lower-nature#p32
  57. https://incarnateword.in/cwm/08/20-june-1956#p64,p65,p66,p67,p68,p69,p70,p71
  58. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/laziness-tiredness-fatigue-tamas#p11
  59. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/calm#p17
  60. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/07/23-february-1955#p17
  61. https://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/8-march-1951#p4
  62. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/05/23-december-1953#p36
  63. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/31/illness-and-health#p55
  64. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/30/the-psychic-being-and-its-role-in-sadhana#p12
  65. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/30/the-inward-movement#p2
  66. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/30/the-psychic-being-and-its-role-in-sadhana#p6
  67. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/08/26-september-1956#p16
  68. https://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/28-april-1954#p14,p15
  69. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/opening#p19
  70. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/10/aphorism-7#p18
  71. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/concentration-and-meditation#p8
  72. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/30/the-psychic-and-spiritual-realisations#p20,p22
  73. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/30/the-psychic-and-spiritual-realisations#p24
  74. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/32/progress-in-sadhana-and-the-mothers-force#p9
  75. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/32/the-mothers-love#p18
  76. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/surrender#p38
  77. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/quiet-and-calm#p60
  78. https://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/7-july-1954#p76
  79. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/mantra-and-japa#p7
  80. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/mantra-and-japa#p11
  81. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/mantra-and-japa#p24
  82. https://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/7-july-1954#p75
  83. https://incarnateword.in/cwm/05/16-september-1953#p28,p29
  84. https://incarnateword.in/cwm/05/5-august-1953#p25,p26
  85. https://incarnateword.in/cwsa/30/the-universal-or-cosmic-consciousness#p29