Most people do not reflect on where their thoughts, impulses or feelings coming from, how they arise, and what causes them to act in particular ways under particular circumstances. There is something of an automatic assumption that governs our view of our own actions; somehow we believe that we are in charge of our own thoughts, feelings and impulses and that we determine our own responses to the stimuli that reach us from outside. Sri Aurobindo has explored this question in depth, and once again this is quite important ground from a psychological standpoint as well as from a yogic view.
Sri Aurobindo describes the connection by showing how there is a subliminal consciousness that is directly in contact with the forces, powers & energies that pervade the universe and which create action. “Again, the subliminal extends itself into an enveloping consciousness through which it receives the shock of the currents and wave-circuits pouring upon us from the universal Mind, univeresal Life, universal subtler Matter-forces. These, unperceived by us on the surface, are perceived and admitted by our subliminal self and turned into formations which can powerfully affect our existence without our knowledge. If the wall that separates this inner existence from the outer self were penetrated, we could know and deal with the sources of our present mind-energies and life-action and could control instead of undergoing their results.”
The idea that the impulses and ideas that well up inside us actually originate outside, entering through contact with our subliminal self, and then take shape and rise to the surface as if newly created within, is an important concept for gaining mastery over the outer nature. “But though large parts of it can thus be known by a penetration and looking within or freer communication, it is only by going inward behind the veil of superficial mind and living within, in an inner mind, an inner life, an inmost soul of our being that we can be fully self-aware,–by this and by rising to a higher plane of mind than that which our waking consciousness inhabits.” The subliminal consciousness therefore can become our standpoint from which we then can see, recognize and address the forces and influences that are at work in the circumconscient. And it is this basis that helps us gain a more clear picture than that provided by the limited surface awareness living within its psychological and constitutional ignorance.
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 19, “Out of the Sevenfold Ignorance towards the Sevenfold Knowledge.”