2014-07-07

Meditation is better than do nothing

Been a while, isn't it? Could have been longer, though, hadn't I had a laugh in the middle of night, falling victim to an almost Douglas-Adams-like thought.

Having had a few verbal exchanges with visitors to Auroville, some of the main topics covered had to do with the township's reason to exist, and inhowfar achievements have been made. There is the notion that an utopian project has to provide perfect conditions to its participants right from the start, did you ever notice that? Did you ever read "Ecotopia" or the likes of it? Funny how people come up with moral issues when critisizing what they cannot grasp. You get that a lot, as well, when it is about Auroville.

Yes, in its 47th year it is still far from having reached any of its goals. 2200 residents are not 50,000; the economy is heavily dependent on imported goods, paid labour, government support, and tourism; there are people who exploit the system, there is corruption, incapability, and all the rest of it. And as much as I would like to see the Mother's dream, OUR, dream of Auroville flourish more visibly, it is only about to take shape inwardly. How to manifest that on the material level is still unclear, clouded by our -still overemphasized- individual ideas. All of us have grown up in sick societies or have been raised by parents who did. Indians, foreigners and born Aurovilians alike. We need to unlearn right about everything that has been put into us, learn how to look at things with fresh, unprejudiced eyes, and then practice our new findings in daily life. Trial and error, for there is very little precedence to what we want to achieve. The Mother had a reason to call Auroville a laboratory. Experiments are there to test theories, which includes failure if the theories don't work out. The theories then need adjustment to what we have learned, in that experiment, about reality. Then another round starts, then yet another, on and on and on. Step by step we approach the kind of society that works for all of us.

Auroville exists because there is no other place in the world where one can free oneself of all baggage, without having to face severe sanctions. Traditions, morals, rules, religions, public opinions can be disregarded in order to shape a new kind of life. No final written warning, no injunction, no law suit, no prison, no job loss, no homelessness waiting right around the corner to not only stop us in our tracks but threaten our very existence.

To many a man this much freedom, a life full of question marks, looks horrifyingly threatening. The unknown is what we dread most. But the unknown cannot be fought with weapons. It cannot be withheld by rules forever. And that is a good thing, for every time we face it we lose our fear in exchange for the knowledge of something new. When you open yourself up to the Auroville experience you become fully aware of the all-encompassing rule of fear and violence over the life of you and your neighbours. Those who deny it need liberation more urgently than anyone. [So far I am only speaking of outwardly freedom. Its inner dimensions shall be discussed in a later article]

New ideas manifest best when they can develop unhindered, sheltered from suffocating traditions. The Mother saw clearly that humanity needs such a place. For more than fourty years she imagined, pondered and planned, and when Auroville was eventually inaugurated we have been presented with a marvellous model, a city the shape of a spiral galaxy.

So far, so good.
But what if the Mother played a practical joke on us? What if she knew well that there would never be 50,000? No spiral galaxy? No human unity. Not anytime soon, anyway. Just a place to be.

Did she foresee the difficulties we are going through? What would a good-humoured woman like her do to make us continue efforts over the decades, keep on trying against all circumstances and not despair just after death took away her guidance? What if the galaxy city was not meant as sort of an artificial environment in which to evolve mankind, but as a carrot on a stick that motivates people to come and help and stay in pursuit of creating something quite tangible. More tangible anyway than increase in consciousness. Give'em something to sink their teeth in. Maybe it doesn't matter what is to become of Auroville in terms of figures and physical appearance.
For it is much more important that this place came into existence and continues to attract, and be populated by, people "who aspire for a higher and truer life", than for a specific urban concept to get built. The torch must continue to burn so it can cast its light on future generations. Auroville is needed for those willing to practice self-governance, develop the skills of how to live together without fear and violence, and do away with everything that keeps us from opening up to that which is beyond material, vital, and mental things.