God is omnipotent. He has all power. When we run out of our natural strength and power, we are only at the beginning of His power. God is omniscient. He has all wisdom. When we run out of our natural mental ability to understand and create, we have barely tapped God’s wisdom and creativity. God is omnipresent. He is both eternal and ever-present in every moment. When we run out of time in any given day or at the end of our lives, we have yet to experience a nanosecond of God’s eternity. When we become frustrated at our inability to be in two places at once or to give our full time to any given pursuit, we are only at the beginning of God’s ability to be present with us always. Tavistock Institute. Part 109
Mention has already been made of the ways of breaking the outer ego of the self , a need that is quite fundamental in the process of Tikun, or correction. For the self is like a big log that cannot readily catch fire; it has to be chopped up and broken into inflammable pieces.
In Opicinus’ autobiography, we repeatedly find a man split into an ‘outer man’ and an ‘inner man.’ The ‘outer man’ is carnal, old, ancient, unfortunate, and decadent. The ‘inner man’ is spiritual: new, young, granted the miracle of rebirth, and not subject to death. On the one hand, Opicinus is torn by a sense of guilt, over his own sins and weaknesses, which paralyses him.
On the other hand, he is infused with a sense of purity, which balances and fulfils him again.I’S Opicinus’ sense of split between outerness and innemess is nothing new to Christian doctrine. We encounter something like the term ‘inner man’ in Plato’s Republic (9,589a—b). However, the idea of the ‘inner man’ (ho eso anthropos) itself can only be derived from Paul.
In fact, the classical authors used ‘inner man’ (ho iso dnthropos) to mean ‘mind’ or ‘soul.’ Philo of Alexandria himself wrote in a cultural context that was closer to Paul’s. Yet he used a term that was farther away in meaning from Paul’s when he wrote of a ‘man who lives in the soul’ (Quod deterius potiori insidiari soleat).
Plato used the word, ends, and not iso, which is the word Paul used. The ‘inner man’ of Plato is someone who is rational and conscious of his intellectual potential. The ‘inner man’ of Paul is someone who is endowed with a knowledge that is exquisitely intuitive of the ‘inner fullness of Christ,’ which goes beyond him infinitely. Paul uses Greek categories, but he uses them to express refined Biblical concepts, such as the antagonism in the creature between carnality—its weakness—and spirituality—its participation in the divine project.
We can find the expression, ‘the inner man,’ three times in Paul’s epistles—Romans 7:22, 2 Corinthians 4:16, and Ephesians 3:16. In Romans 7:22, in particular, Paul highlights the contradictory nature of the relationship between the ‘inner man’ and the ‘outer man.’ In Ephesians 3:16, he goes further and brings out a kind of ‘thematic progression.’ Paul seems to say that, when the ‘inner man’ is strengthened and formed completely, this ‘inner man’ is the equivalent of Christ being genuinely rooted in this innemess, to the point that Christ himself becomes the authentic ‘inner man.’
In order to grasp the meaning of this opposition, we should however examine 2 Corinthians. Here. Paul’s expression ‘inner man’ takes on an eschatological meaning. The ‘outer man’ belongs to this world and for this reason is destined to perish, but the ‘inner man’ belongs to the world that is to come and therefore to eternal life.
The ‘old man’ is the person’s own ego that corrupts Itself with Its passions. but the ‘new man’ is the very same ego that rehabilitates its own Christian wholeness. In other words, outerness and innerness cao be taken as overlapping existential categories, as can be gathered from Ephesians 4:22-24 and Colossians 3:9-10. The ‘outer man’ is constantly breaking into pieces, but the ‘inner man’ is being renewed day by day.
The ‘outer man’ is always the same as himself, a prisoner of his own weaknesses and the burdens of existence, but the ‘inner man’ has one main virtue—the potential to regenerate himself by himself. The ‘outer man’ holds us prisoners to the past, but the ‘inner man’ constantly opens us up to new perspectives, often ones that we do not expect or ones that we are hardly aware of at the time.
All in all, the movement toward a sanctified existence is not a movement towards the old but one towards the new, thanks to the potential for renewal of the ‘inner man.’ This renewal Is perhaps not so different from the Gospel call for us to become ‘like children’ again (Matthew 18:3-4).
Nevertheless. the ‘outer man’ who is breaking into pieces is not fated to perish entirely. He or she is only more submissive, more in need of a discipline of the body and of the mind, and more resistant to a way of personal growth that originates from his or her own innerness.
Therefore, paradoxically, the ‘outer man’ should not be taken as the enemy of the ‘inner man,’ but as the one who will help him out. The more the ‘outer man’ becomes poorer and more essential, the more the ‘inner man’ gets stronger, takes root, and forms as a whole.
According to Jung, too, ‘the inner man has to he fed.'”‘- This involves a process of simplification, of reduction to the essential, and of an interiorisation of all existence. As a result of the ‘breaking up’ of the outer man, the inner man renews himself in a ‘daily resurrection.qa In tune with Paul thoughts, Opicinus writes: Nativitas natunalis ad mortern, regenerarlo spiritualis ad vitam (‘Natural birth to death, spiritual rebirth to life’). The ‘perfect man,’ in the words of Ephesians 4:13, Matthew 5:48, and Galatians 3:2, thus, is the person who is able to put the ‘outer’ and the ‘inner’ man, the ‘lower’ and the ‘higher’ man, into harmony.
It is all due to the impulse of the ‘ inner urge ‘ that the spirit of man breaks through the hard shell of ego to realise the ‘ world – man ‘ . It is the life that is born out of life and not life from matter nor matter from life . “
Born of the Spirit Is Spirit
So far, we have learned that regeneration is a spiritual rebirth by the Spirit of God whereby we are completely passive being born into God’s family, which is “born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (Jn. 1:131. The believing sinner who has experienced the new birth, we were told that God has implanted his Spirit within him (Ezek.36:26-27; 37:14), resulting to a new heart a new spirit, and a new life. What really happens to us at rebirth is that God has renewed us completely from our transgressions and sins and gives us a new life, and we have become a new creature and he has given us a new nature. Regeneration as a new birth affects the whole person and not just one aspect of our personality. The Spirit of God changes the entire person with a new disposition toward life. His goals are different in life. He has a different attitude, and his speech is tailored to please and honor God. Regeneration is an instantaneous act; the believing sinner does not have to go through a process to receive a new life, to become a new creature, and to receive a new nature. Jesus said, ‘That which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (v.6). As the new covenant people of God, we are radically transformed by his Spirit.
Once the Warrior has explored the outer world and the Sage the inner world, the ego now confronts what it cannot conquer—time and fate. This is the Wheel of Fortune as the Aztec calendar stone. This symbolises time as the destroyer but also the healer, as it grinds up what has been con-structed by the ego but does so with a cosmic purpose. Now the Wheel stands at the centre of the platform instead of the Ruler — the ego has met a greater will and has been deposed.
In all sadhaks the ego is proven to be a stumbling-block and it is not possible to get rid of the ego movements all at once. The ego and its desires are one of the main causes of the spiritual casualties that takes place in sadhana. Even the possibility of detachment and sublimation of the ego are not entirely free from serious dangers.
It is not very difficult to starve the ego by rejecting all its impulses of action or exalt it into a trance of peace or ecstacy, but in sadhana the more difficult problem is to arrive at a divine manhood which shall be the perfect instrument of a divine action; each difficulty has to be entirely experienced and entirely mastered.
The first stages of sadhana are with almost all sadhaks ego-centric, one’s own endeavour is inevitable for most as without it there would be no sufficient push or will to bring about the first necessary changes. However, the expulsion and rejection of the ego cannot be done only by the will and its efforts.
At a certain stage of preparation, the negative attempt by a denial of the reality of the ego and its rejection must be replaced by the positive side of the sadhana, i.e., fixing one’s thoughts constantly upon the One and the Infinite everywhere.
During the progress in sadhana the sadhak becomes gradually able to get rid of the ego altogether by an uncompromising rejection of all egoistic habits and insistences, along with a constant and exclusive opening to the Divine Force and an unreserved surrender in the whole being and nature to its guidance.
Another means of release from the ego is the control of the psychic being within, exerting its influence directly upon the rebellious parts and forcing them to surrender.
After this inner centre is discovered the progressive widening and ascent of consciousness becomes another effective means of release from the ego; the light of the higher nature penetrates into the lower mechanism and little by little the knots of the ego loosen or break. For a complete elimination of the ego-sense the sadhak has to rise into the Supermind beyond the Overmind and bring down its consciousness into the lower active nature.
In the path of works, action is the knot to be loosened first, and the sadhak must endeavour to loosen it where it is centrally tied, in desire and in ego. The first law of action—egoistic indulgence of desire—in order to be exhausted must be put away from the sadhak with the help of the supreme Power within. There is no need to flee from action or take refuge in a blissful inertia. For Sri Aurobindo the elimination of desire does not mean the extinction of the energy that impels it, but the egoistic form it takes and which has to be dissolved; the force and energy that feeds them must not be aban-doned but offered to the Divine. Desires can never be completely eliminated except through action, for it is only in an active life that they rise to the surface of the sadhak’s consciousness and press for their satisfaction. However, in integral Yoga suppressed desires are not merely controlled by mental inhibitions; through the intervention of a higher spiritual force these suppressed desires are compelled to be converted into their spiritual counterparts. Once the sadhak’s yoga has reached a certain culmination, works are done without any compelling ignorance, and actions are developed through the spon-taneity of a supreme Force by which one’s instruments are possessed.
The total surrender of all the sadhak’s actions to a supreme Will. to something eternal within him, replacing the ordinary working of the ego-nature, is the way and end of Karma yoga. Desireless work carries along with it three results that are of central importance for the sadhak’s spiritual ideal.
1) lt leads inevitably towards the essence of an integral devotion.
2) it turns by communion with the Divine Will and Force into a way of Knowledge more integral than any human intelligence can construct or discover,
3) in renouncing ego-ism of the sadhak’s mind, will and action, all these actions become now directed towards the Divine. In this way all works become a dynamic worship and source of the Divine. According to Sri Aurobindo, “All action must be done in a more and more Godward and finally a God-possessed consciousness; our works must be a sacrifice to the Divine and in the end a surrender of all our being, mind, will, heart, sense, life and body to the One must make God-love and God-service our only motive. This transformation of the motive-force and very character of works is indeed its master idea; it is the foundation of its unique synthesis of works, love and knowledge”?’
Ordinary men work from the usual motives of the vital being, but in the practice of sadhana these ordinary motives have to be replaced by psychic and spiritual motives in which the sadhak does no longer work for himself but for the Divine. By constantly attributing all one’s works to the Divine, the psychic being comes forward and spiritually purifies all works; works done in this spirit are quite as effective as devotion or meditation.
If you think that the Christian life is only about being born again, think again my friend. It is not just about salvation, it is about transformation. To hear some people talk you would think that once we come to Christ we just wait around to go to heaven. We are just putting in time until Jesus returns. If that is the way we think, we will never experience apostolic power as demonstrated in the early church. We will never understand that Jesus
Christ has come to establish his kingdom “on earth, as it is in heaven,” and we are His agents through whom He works to make that happen. We are to grow in holiness, and be salt and light in a tasteless and dark world. We are to become transformed on a daily basis, through the spiri-tual disciplines, and then become agents of transformation in the world. It is sort of like this. You can take ten gallons of gasoline and release a tremendous amount of power and energy by just dropping a lighted match into it. It makes a dramatic onetime impact. But there is another way to release the energy in that gasoline. Place it in the fuel tank of a new Honda, designed to get 30 miles to the gallon. The high tech engine will use the ten gallons of gasoline to take a person 300 miles or more. Explosions may be spectacular, but the sustained, controlled burn has staying power.
You don’t want to be a flash in the pan—you want to make a differ-ence in this world over time. You want to last for the long haul. You don’t want the Holy Spirit to just save you for heaven—you want Him to use His power to transform your life. You want Him to use you in this world for kingdom purposes. The kingdom is not far away in time and space, it is here and now. And to be a member of this kingdom, you need the power of the Holy Spirit operating in your life every day. The apostle John, in the book of Revelation, talks about all the things we have to go through in this world. He says, “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus” (Revelation 14:12).
The outer man and the inner man are not side by side . Rather , the inner man is wrapped within the outer man ; one man is within the other . Today man ‘ s need is the release of our inner man , that is , the release of our spirit .
There is always more for the believer. How can this be? Because an unlimited God has chosen to indwell us. When we reach the end of who we are in the flesh, we are only at the beginning of what the Holy Spirit can do with our spirits!
God is omnipotent. He has all power. When we run out of our natural strength and power, we are only at the beginning of His power. God is omniscient. He has all wisdom. When we run out of our natural mental ability to understand and create, we have barely tapped God’s wisdom and creativity. God is omnipresent. He is both eternal and ever-present in every moment. When we run out of time in any given day or at the end of our lives, we have yet to experience a nanosecond of God’s eternity. When we become frustrated at our inability to be in two places at once or to give our full time to any given pursuit, we are only at the beginning of God’s ability to be present with us always.