What exactly is this singular phenomenon called the “crush” or “love at first sight” during which the breath quickens, the cheeks become flushed, the voice quivers, and the heart continues pounding without respite? People often assume that a “crush” is an instinct originating irrefutably from the soul/psychic but according to the Mother Mirra Alfassa, it is just another example of an irrational vital process. The region from the throat to the heart tends to be buoyant and vulnerable to certain physical images giving rise to these fads we denote as a “crush“.
Before we get to the answer, we need to define two terms – the “vital” and the “psychic” – which have been employed.
The “vital” is the impulsive, energetic aspect of our personality. It forever craves for novelty and revolts against any sort of discipline and drudgery. It is largely shaped by our upbringing in some family and culture. Our choices of favourite movie, favourite food, favourite song, and so on are often decided by this capricious “vital”. From a yogic perspective, the pervasive influence of the “vital” can be felt from the throat center down to the navel center.
The second term is the “psychic“. After you have sufficiently advanced on the spiritual path, you begin to sense an inexhaustible reservoir of bliss which had existed eternally in the fathomless depths of the heart. From this reservoir, you begin to occasionally receive a gentle perception or voice which guides you towards the course of action suitable to the circumstances at hand. It is akin to the oracle or sign that used to guide Socrates ever since he was a child (“…it always forbids but never commands me to do anything which I am going to do” – Socrates in the Apology by Plato).
Question: Why does one feel attracted at first sight to some people and feel a repulsion for others?
Mother Mirra Alfassa: Usually this is based on vital affinities, nothing else. There are vital vibrations which harmonise and vital vibrations which don’t. It is usually this, nothing else. It is vital chemistry.
One would have to be in a much deeper and more clear-sighted consciousness for it to be otherwise. There is an inner perception based on a psychic consciousness, which makes you feel which people have the same aspiration, the same aim, and can be your companions on the way; and this perception also makes you clear-sighted about those who follow a very different way or carry in them forces which are hostile to you and may harm you in your development. But to attain such a perception one must oneself be exclusively occupied with one’s own spiritual progress and integral realisation. Now, that is not often the case. And usually too, when one has attained this inner clear-sightedness, it is not expressed by attraction and repulsion, but by a very “objective” knowledge, it might be said, and a kind of inner certainty which makes you act calmly and reasonably, and without attractions and repulsions.
Therefore, it may be said in a general and almost absolute way that those who have very definite and impulsive likes and dislikes live in a vital consciousness. Mixed with this, there may be mental affinities; that is, some minds like to have relationships in common activities, but here too, these are people on a much higher level intellectually, and this is also expressed even more by a comparative ease in relationships and by something much more calm and detached. One takes pleasure in speaking with certain people, for others there is no attraction, one gains nothing from it. It is a little more distant and quiet; it belongs more to the field of reason. But likes and dislikes clearly belong to the vital world. Well, there is a vital chemistry just as there is physical chemistry: there are bodies which repel each other and others which attract; there are substances which combine and others which explode, and it is like that. There are some vital vibrations which harmonise, and harmonise to such an extent that ninety-nine times out of a hundred these sympathies are taken for what men call love, and suddenly people feel, “Oh! he is the one I was waiting for”, “Oh! she is the one I was seeking!” (laughing), and they rush towards each other, till they find out that it was something very superficial and that these things can’t last. There. So the first advice given to those who want to do yoga: “Rise above likes and dislikes.” This is something without any deeper reality and it can at the very least lead you into difficulties which are at times quite hard to overcome. You can ruin your life with these things. And the best thing is not to take any notice of them – to draw back a little into yourself and ask yourself why – it’s nothing very mysterious – you like to meet this person, don’t like to meet that one.
But, as I say, there comes a moment when one is exclusively occupied with one’s sadhana(askesis), when one can feel – but both more subtly and much more quietly – that a particular contact is favourable to sadhana and another harmful. But that always takes a much more “detached” form, so to say, and often it even contradicts the so-called attractions and repulsions of the vital; very often it has nothing to do with them.
So, the best thing is to look at all that from a little distance and to lecture yourself a little on the futility of these things.
Obviously there are some natures which are almost fundamentally bad, beings who are born wicked and love to do harm; and logically, if one is quite natural, not perverted, natural as animals are – for from this point of view they are far superior to men; perversion begins with humanity – then one keeps out of the way, as one would stand aside from something fundamentally harmful. But happily these cases are not very frequent; what one meets in life are usually very mixed natures where there is a kind of balance, so to say, between the good and the bad, and one may expect to have both good and bad relations. There is no reason to feel any deep dislike, for, as one is quite mixed oneself (laughing), like meets like!
It is also said that some people are like vampires, and when they come near a person they spontaneously suck up his vitality and energy, and that one should beware of them as of a very serious danger. But that also…Not that it doesn’t exist, but it is not very frequent, and certainly not so total that one need run away when one meets such a person.
So, essentially, if one wants to develop spiritually, the first thing to do is to overcome one’s dislikes…and one’s likes. Look at all that with a smile.
(Collected Works of the Mother, vol. 9, pp 178-180)
In a certain sense we are nothing but a complex mass of mental, nervous and physical habits held together by a few ruling ideas, desires and associations – an amalgam of many small self-repeating forces with a few major vibrations. By the age of eighteen we are set, one might say, with our major vibrations established. Then the deposits of the same perpetual thing with a thousand different faces we call culture or “our” self will ceaselessly settle around this primary structure in ever thicker layers, increasingly refined and polished. We are in fact shut in a construction, which may be like lead, without even a small opening, or as graceful as a minaret; but whether in a granite skin or a glass statue, we are nonetheless confined, forever buzzing and repetitive. The first task of yoga is to breathe freely, to shatter that mental screen, which allows only one type of vibration to get through, in order to discover the multicolored infinity of vibrations; that is, the world and people as they really are, and another “self” within ourselves, whose worth is beyond any mental appreciation.
(Satprem. Adventures of Consciousness, Chapter 4)
- Four stages of human love
- Twin souls
- Further remarks on sexuality
- The foundation of spiritual relationships
- How to choose the right life partner
- Developing discernment on which actions are spiritual
- Sublimating the sexual urge through Yoga
- The transmutation of sexual energy
- Should women dress modestly?
- Karma can be changed. Your destiny is in your hands
- All thoughts come from outside
- How to awaken the soul (psychic being)?