December 2, 1964
… Letters are piling up in fantastic numbers, and I haven’t answered. People should learn to receive: I answer very forcefully, very clearly, even with words, a precise sentence. If they learned to receive mentally, it would be good. I always answer. And when it’s something important and I have some peace, when I have no external action, I even repeat my answer by making a very precise mental formation – they should receive it.
(Mother picks up at random a letter from a Western disciple who asks to change her work or stop her external work, because, she says, it doesn’t correspond to her nature. She also complains about her relationship with others and their “hostility.” She feels the need for a new way of being and acting.)
She is struggling much more with her old personality than with others. She had a certain kind of extremely personal and superficial relationship with others, and slowly, slowly she is emerging from it, but with the impression that it’s others who are hostile to her, while she is truly trying to do her best. It’s a phase.
But I have noticed, especially for those who have had a Western education, that they shouldn’t change their external occupations abruptly. Most people tend to want to change their environment, to want to change their occupation, to want to change their surroundings, to want to change their habit, thinking that will help them to change inwardly – it’s not true. You are much more vigilant and alert to resist the old movement, the old relationships, the vibrations you no longer want when you remain in a context that, in fact, is habitual enough to be automatic. You shouldn’t be “interested” in a new external organization, because you always tend to enter it with your old way of being.
It’s very interesting even, I made a very deep study of people who think that if they travel things are going to be different…. When you change your external surroundings, on the contrary, you always tend to keep your internal organization in order to keep your individuality; whereas if you are held by force in the same context, the same occupations, the same routine of life, then the ways of being you no longer want become more and more evident and you can fight them much more precisely.
Basically, in the being, it’s the vital that has difficulty; it is the most impulsive part and has the greatest difficulty in changing its way of being. And it’s always the vital that feels “free,” encouraged and more alive during travels, because it has an opportunity to manifest freely in a new environment in which everything has to be learned: reactions, adaptations, etc. On the contrary, in the routine of a life that has nothing particularly exciting, it strongly feels (I mean, if it has goodwill and an aspiration for progress), it strongly feels its inadequacies and desires, its reactions, repulsions, attractions, etc. When one doesn’t have that intense will to progress, it feels imprisoned, disgusted, crushed – the whole habitual refrain of revolt.
When she came here, she was living exclusively in the vital – exclusively and violently. So there’s a long way to go. And that vital – which was used to being at the helm, to governing everything, to deciding everything, anyway it was the master of the house – the vital must first begin with detachment, which generally, when it isn’t very refined, turns into disgust. A general detachment. Then all at once (sometimes “all at once,” sometimes slowly), it feels that the impulse, the inspiration must come from within, that nothing must come from outside anymore and excite it. And then, if it has goodwill, it turns within and begins to ask for the Inspiration, the Command and the Direction; and after that, it can start doing work again.
For some people, it takes years; for others, it’s done very quickly – it depends on the quality of the vital. If it’s a refined vital, of a higher quality, it goes quickly; if it is something very brutish, which goes like a bulldog or a buffalo, it takes a little more time.
Anyhow, there’s a long way to go for a vital that had the habit of governing everything and thought it was in possession of the truth – that what it felt was the truth, what it wanted was the truth and that truth had to dominate and govern others and life – well … when one was born with that illusion, it takes a long time. What saves is if the vital is somehow SEIZED inwardly, if it feels inwardly that there is something greater than it; then it goes much faster.
For those who run away from the necessary change, it may mean several more lives. Those who have learned to bear up (who generally have enough higher intelligence to govern), those who have endurance, who have learned to bear up and not to worry about the vital’s lack of collaboration, for them, it can be done relatively quickly.
That’s what generally takes the greatest time.