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Read more about Receptivity from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

What is Receptivity?

Receptivity is the capacity of admitting and retaining the Divine Workings. [1] It is also being conscious of the Divine Will and surrendering to it. [2] It is a state where the action of the Divine is not obstructed by mental activities, vital restlessness or physical obscurity and inertia. [3]

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 and get illumined. [4]

What is Lack of Receptivity

If one does not feel the strength and the Grace, it proves that there is some mistake in the attitude. The faith is lacking or one has fallen back on old tracks and old creeds and thus you loses all receptivity. [5]

The forces have no 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. [6]

What is the State of Perfect Receptivity?

It is an admirable state; it is perfect peace of mind. The mind is silent, the brain is still, everything is clear, quiet, calm. 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. [7]

Why is Receptivity Important?

A man acting as an instrument of the Force, 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 perfectioning of the instrument is important. [8]

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. [9]

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. [10]

How to be Receptive?

Aspiration, call, prayer are forms of one and the same thing and are all effective. 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 Divine in the heart and call Her in there. [11]

Conditions for Receptivity

To be able to receive the Divine Power and let it act through the seeker 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. [12]

Aspiration is to call the forces. When the forces have answered, there is a natural state of quiet receptivity concentrated but spontaneous. [13]

Practice for Receptivity

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. [14]

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. [15] If rightly done, the mantra can be a means of opening to the light and knowledge etc. from above and it ceases as soon as that is done. [16]

Receptivity in the Parts of Being

Receptivity in the Physical

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. When one does that one becomes really receptive. 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...</ref></ref>

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. [17]

Role of the Psychic Being

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. [18]

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. [19]

Read more about Receptivity from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.