We tend to live with an illusion of the separateness of our individual being from all others. We treat the physical body as a distinct, self-standing unit that is free and independent, has its own integrity and is essentially isolated in its separateness. This however is not quite the actuality of our situation.

Instead of being a protected island in the world, our body is actually more of a permeable membrane, taking in energy, vibrational patterns, as well as physical air, food and drink, and releasing back out again physical waste from our breathing mechanism, sweat, and excretions of food and drink wastes, etc. In addition to the physical interchange, we also send out vibrations and energies so that the process is a two-way interchange, all the time.

Kirlian photography has shown evidence of an energy body surrounding our physical body, which many call the ‘aura’. This energy body is the first line of defense against suggestions of illness for instance. When it is strong and whole, it can help to withstand physical, vital and even mental influences. At the same time, if there is any receptivity to the vibration, it takes up that energetic force and carries it inward to be accepted by the individual and have its impact awaken within, in many cases without the individual knowing how it came about.

If we focus for a moment on the vibrational patterns, we can see that the interchange means that we can be subject to the feelings, emotions, willings of others. Many people report feeling “drained” after meeting a certain individual or spending time in a certain environment. Others feel enthused, energized in other places. We can see crowds of people align their energies through identification with the speaker, or the team or the cheer-squad. All of this evidences a receptivity to the vibrations and an active intake of them, whether unconsciously or consciously, as the case may be.

Thought forms and exercises of silent will power have a similar impact on the mental ‘stuff’ of our nature. We can sometimes enter a research facility or a library and feel the concentrated mental energy that is active in that space. Those who attend lectures by spiritual leaders frequently remark on the intensity of the atmosphere as the concentration in the air impacts their own mental awareness.

A disciple asks: What is the nature of these influences from outside? Could you give us an explanation of their working?

The Mother writes: “Naturally, these influences are of very diverse kinds. They may be studied from a psychological point of view or from an almost mechanical standpoint, the one usually translating the other, that is, the mechanical phenomenon occurs as a sort of result of the psychological one.”

“In very few people, and even in the very best at very rare moments in life, does the will of the being express that deep inner, higher truth.”

(After a silence Mother continues:) The individual consciousness extends far beyond the body; we have seen that even the subtle physical which is yet material compared with the vital being and in certain conditions almost visible, extends at times considerably beyond the visible limits of the physical body. This subtle physical is constituted of active vibrations which enter into contact or mingle with the vibrations of the subtle physical of others, and this reciprocal contact gives rise to influences — naturally the most powerful vibrations get the better of the others. For example, as I have already told you several times, if you have a thought, this thought clothes itself in subtle vibrations and becomes an entity which travels and moves about in the earth-atmosphere in order to realise itself as best it can, and because it is one among millions, naturally there is a multiple and involved interaction as a result of which things don’t take place in such a simple and schematic fashion.”

“What you call yourself, the individual being enclosed within the limits of your present consciousness, is constantly penetrated by vibrations of this kind, coming from outside and very often presenting themselves in the form of suggestions, in the sense that, apart from a few exceptions, the action takes place first in the mental field, then becomes vital, then physical. I want to make it clear that it is not a question of the pure mind here, but of the physical mind; for in the physical consciousness itself there is a mental activity, a vital activity and a purely material activity, and all that takes place in your physical consciousness, in your body consciousness and bodily activity, penetrates first in the form of vibrations of a mental nature, and so in the form of suggestions. Most of the time these suggestions enter you without your being in the least conscious of them; they go in, awaken some sort of response in you, then spring up in your consciousness as though they were your own thought, your own will, your own impulse; but it is only because you are unconscious of the process of their penetration.”

“These suggestions are very numerous, manifold, varied, with natures which are very, very different from each other, but they may be classified into three principal orders. First — and they are hardly perceptible to the ordinary consciousness; they become perceptible only to those who have already reflected much, observed much, deeply studied their own being — they are what could be called collective suggestions.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, The Hidden Forces of Life, Ch. 3 Hidden Forces Around, pp. 56-58

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com and podcast at https://anchor.fm/santosh-krinsky 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.
YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/@santoshkrinsky871
More information about Sri Aurobindo can be found at http://www.aurobindo.net
The US editions and links to e-book editions of Sri Aurobindo’s writings can be found at http://www.lotuspress.com