Ideally we want some kind of a pill we can take, some kind of an instant solution, some magic formula that will instantly resolve some difficulty we face when a subconsicent formation has been triggered. We react without any advance warning when this occurs. it is also the source of many deep-seated psychological responses, whether in terms of our emotional response, our physical response, or any habitual patterns we have developed over time. This also includes things such as addictive behaviour, ’emotional eating’, and various forms of co-dependent relationships. If it were only so simple to take a pill and have the situations all fully resolved for all time.

Just as we find with any attempt to carry out a diet, or eliminate addictions to tobacco, alcohol or other drugs, the idea of simply exercising will power, or making a resolution of some sort, does not ensure success. In fact, judging by the results most people obtain, it is not truly a matter of being weak-willed; although people then blame themselves and further embed negative emotions and traumas into the subconscious through this self-blaming that they undertake; or through the external shaming and finger-pointing that comes from their family, friends, and people they interact with in society. Mass media and social media reinforce these things both the negative addictive behaviours that the individual grapples with, and the failure to resolve it through will power alone. All of this can be seen as counter-productive in any real sense. Thus, people then try to turn to chemistry and the society focuses resources on developing pharmaceutical approaches to overcome addictions that are associated with physical activities, including weight loss drugs, and various drugs that help relieve the stress of nicotine or alcohol addiction, etc.

All of these approaches may be useful to some degree as part of a larger, more comprehensive process, but they fail, on their own, because they do not get to the root of the issue, which is the encapsulated trauma, embedded in the very cells of the body and in the trained memory of the subconscious mind, and they then try to suppress or tamp down the behaviour when it arises, without actually eliminating the underlying ‘formation’ that causes these things.

it is in fact for these reasons that Sri Aurobindo suggested that, rather than rooting around in the subconscient levels, the practitioner should focus the effort on redirecting the attention to the higher, superconscient force, becoming receptive to it, and let it work. The light of the higher planes of consciousness can do what our mental/vital/physical approaches cannot do, which is expose the inter-connected elements of the formation to the light, and re-wire the reactive process tied to the formation.

Pavitri asks: ‘How to do it?‘

The Mother responds: “How to do it? (Mother laughs.) How to do it? It is the same thing as, the same method as, knowing how to destroy a formation, you understand.”

“It is a certain strength to dissolve things, which can undo formations. It depends on the nature of the formation. If it is like this, a formation of an adverse kind, then you need the force of a perfectly pure constructive light. If you have this at your disposal, all that you have to do is to bombard the thing with it, and you can dissolve it. But it is an operation which must be performed with inner forces; it cannot be done physically.”

“That is why all physical remedies, you see, are simply palliatives, they are not cures, because they are not strong enough to touch the living centre of the thing.” (Silence)

“The same phenomenon occurs with moral difficulties. If one could succeed in destroying their remembrance, destroying in oneself the memory of the state one is in when in that difficulty, if one is sincere it would be the end of all difficulties for ever.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, The Hidden Forces of Life, Ch. 2 Hidden Forces Within, pg. 40

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 20 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.
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