Do not make useless efforts for useless things, rather keep all the energy of your effort to conquer ignorance and free yourself from falsehood. That you can never do too much. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/the-awakened-one-the-buddha#p33 </ref>[Based on Mother’s Commentaries on the Dhammapada]
"But so long as the lower nature is active the personal effort of the Sadhaka remains necessary."
Outwardly, one believes in one's own personality and one's own effort. So long as you believe in personal effort, you must make a personal effort.
===Aspiration and Effort===
''Mother, when we make an effort, there's something in us which becomes very self-satisfied and boastful and contented with this effort, and that spoils everything. Then how can we get rid of this?''
There is always someone who observes when one is doing something. Now sometimes, he becomes proud. Obviously, this takes away much strength from the effort. 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.
''An aim gives a meaning, a purpose to life, and this purpose implies an effort; and it is in effort that one finds joy?''
Exactly. It is the effort which gives joy; a human being who does not know how to make an effort will never find joy. Those who are essentially lazy will never find joy—they do not have the strength to be joyful! It is effort which gives joy. Effort makes the being vibrate at a certain degree of tension which makes it possible for you to feel the joy. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/13-january-1951#p11 </ref>
''The effort one can make can be only mental. What can one do to make it spontaneous?''
I believe there is a vast difference between an effort for transformations which, precisely, comes from the psychic centre of the being and a kind of mental constructions to obtain something. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/19-may-1954#p34</ref>
===Ignorance, Tamas and Fears===
''Please tell me why I don't succeed immediately in my effort.''
Because the outer ignorance is very stubborn and will yield only to a persistent effort. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/17/11-june-1935-1#p6 </ref>
''Is “physical tamas” same as laziness? ''
Not quite. Of course, laziness is a kind of tamas, but in laziness there is an ill-will, a refusal to make an effort—while tamas is inertia: one wants to do something, but one can't. <ref> http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/28-april-1951#p8 </ref>
''You said that because we are here and have everything, it seems very natural to us. Why doesn't effort also come naturally?''
It is because the physical nature in ordinary men is, as Sri Aurobindo writes, rather tamasic. Naturally it does not make any effort. But the vital makes an effort. Only, it makes the effort usually for its own satisfaction. Yet it is quite capable of making an effort because that is in its nature. In fact, I can't say that you don't make any effort, you make a lot of effort for many things, when it pleases you or when you have understood that it is necessary for one reason or another. <ref> http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/15-december-1954#p18 </ref>
''In the inner life, why are there periods when one can no longer make a conscious effort, and if one enforces it, parts of the nature revolt or else everything in the being seems to become petrified; effort becomes the mechanical repetition of past movements. What should be done at such times?''
What is not mentioned here is the nature of the effort, for it is a certain kind of effort which leads to the result described here, which is either a revolt or a sort of—yes, petrifaction, truly, something that becomes absolutely insensible and no longer responds at all to this effort. This happens when the effort is almost exclusively mental and quite arbitrary, in the sense that it does not at all take into account the state of the rest of the being; it has its own idea, its own will, and without any consideration for the rest of the being, it imposes this will on the being as a whole. This is what usually brings about the revolt or the petrifaction. And the only thing to do is to make the mind quiet. And this is the time to make a movement of self-giving, full of peace, quietude, confidence. If one makes this movement of self-giving, of complete surrender to the divine Will, all the tension arising from the effort, an effort which could be called premature or unconsidered—all the tension arising from this effort gives way. There is a relaxation in the being. And the progress one could not make by this purely mental effort usually comes about almost automatically, by the very fact that one has relaxed in confidence and self-giving to the divine Will. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/08/28-november-1956#p22</ref>
''Mother, this new force which is going to act, will it act through individual effort or independently of it?''
Why this opposition? It acts independently of all individual effort, as if automatically in the world, but it ''creates'' individual effort and ''makes use'' of it. Individual effort is one of its means of action, and perhaps the most powerful. If one thinks that individual effort is due to the individual, it is an illusion, but if the individual under the pretext that there is a universal action independent of himself refuses to make an individual effort, he refuses to give his collaboration. The Force wants to use, and does in fact use individual effort as one of the most powerful means at its disposal. It is the Force itself, it is this Power which ''is'' your individual effort.