My Asuric Tendencies from The Stumbling Mystic by ned ...the newly published book Integral Psychology: Yoga, Growth, and Opening the Heart, by Brant Cortright, who is also a professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies.
This is a book written in a wonderfully clear and mentally accessible way, and is based on the work of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Cortright explains that Sri Aurobindo makes a crucial distinction between the aspiration of the psychic being, and the ego-desire of the vital being. Aspiration is what opens us up to the Infinite, whereas desire is what resists or blocks the expansion or opening of the heart. Yet, desire also has its purpose in evolution. It is often desire that, in seeking its own satisfaction and failing to find it, that opens us up to the Divine. The rajasic passions can cut through the tamas (inertia) in the physical consciousness and open up a window into the Godhead. Hence Sri Aurobindo’s statement: “Desire is the helper, desire is the bar.” At the relative level, neither perfect satisfaction nor perfect renunciation of desire is possible. So this is the miserable state in which humanity finds itself — neither being able to give up desire totally, nor being able to satisfy it totally at this level. The solution is to transcend desire and enter a state of consciousness in which desire is subsumed by the self-giving of the psychic being. At this level we are immersed in the Infinite where all abundance resides and nothing is scarce. Our capacity for love is no longer perverted by our animal need for survival. Thus desire quite literally vanishes. Sri Aurobindo sums it up thus:
Only by perfect renunciation of desire or by perfect satisfaction of desire can the utter embrace of God be experienced; for in both ways the essential precondition is effected, — desire perishes.Paradoxically the way to deal with and transmute desire is to put it in the context of the Divine. To be totally vulnerable with the Divine, without shame, to say, in the words of the Mother, “My Lord, my Lord, it is like this, it is like this.” I view my desires as tributaries that ultimately flow into the same Ocean of vastness. With this approach I am able to offer up my desires as a sacrifice. It is not I who can change myself or transmute my desires personally. The Divine himself will work out the sadhana in us and transform us. However, this is only going to happen with our willing consent. Those are the rules of the game; it’s all about a truly terrifying freedom, trust, and intimacy in the end.