The Consciousness Elements of Our Being

Sri Aurobindo has thus far described three parts that together make up our life awareness. “We might say then that there are three elements in the totality of our being: there is the submental and the subconscient which appears to us as if it were inconscient, comprising the material basis and a good part of our life and body; there is the subliminal, which comprises the inner being, taken in its entirety of inner mind, inner life, inner physical with the soul or psychic entity supporting them; there is this waking consciousness which the subliminal and the subconscient throw up on the surface, a wave of their secret surge.” Of particular note is the point Sri Aurobindo makes about the waking consciousness being an ancillary or “created” consciousness arising from the action of the subliminal and the subconscient. Most of us tend to look at things from the other side, but fail to understand then the motive springs of action, or why we seem to be driven to do certain things, whether we call it instinct, habit, or intention, impulse or intelligent decision-making process! In all cases, forces we generally do not see or recognize are propelling us forward.

Sri Aurobindo takes this analysis further by also pointing out that while we have now built into this overview the subliminal and the subconscient, we have not yet taken into account the realms of consciousness that are superconscient to our normal awareness. “For the subliminal proper is no more than the inner being on the level of the Knowledge-Ignorance luminous, powerful and extended indeed beyond the poor conception of our waking mind, but still not the supreme or the whole sense of our being, not its ultimate mystery. We become aware, in a certain experience, of a range of being superconscient to all these three, aware too of something, a supreme highest Reality sustaining and exceeding them all, which humanity speaks of vaguely as Spirit, God, the Oversoul: from these superconscient ranges we hav visitations and in our highest being we tend towards them and to that supreme Spirit. There is then in our total range of existence a superconscience as well as a subconscience and inconscience, overarching and perhaps enveloping our subliminal and our waking selves, but unknown to us, seemingly unattainable and incommunicable.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 11, The Boundaries of the Ignorance

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