Four Poises of the Concentration of Consciousness-Force

Sri Aurobindo describes four separate poises of the concentration of Consciousness-Force that represents Tapas in the manifestation. “The concentration may be essential; it may be even a sole indwelling or an entire absorption in the essence of its own being, a luminous or else a self-oblivious self-immersion. Or it may be an integral or else a total-multiple or a part-multiple concentration. Or it may be a single separative regard on one field of its being or movement, a single-pointed concentration in one centre or an absorption in one objective form of its self-existence. The first, the essential, is at one end the superconscient Silence and at the other end the Inconscience; the second, the integral, is the total consciousness of Sachchidananda, the supramental concentration; the third, the multiple, is the method of the totalising or global overmental awareness; the fourth, the separative, is the characteristic nature of the Ignorance. The supreme integrality of the Absolute holds all these states or powers of its consciousness together as a single indivisible being looking at all itself in manifestation with a simultaneous self-vision.”

Each of these four, then represents an experience of awareness that either concentrates the focus of the consciousness in such a way that it seems to not pay attention to the other poises; or else, represents a standpoint that draws all the separate points together into one integrated whole. The “whole” can be either non-manifested or manifested (depending on whether we look at the essential unmoving Silence or the inconscient status of Matter); or it can be a standpoint that overviews and ties together the divergent threads of the manifested universe into the warp and woof of creation and action through Time. Or it can become so involved in specific movements of the manifestation so as to “forget” its relationship to the whole temporarily in an all-absorbing focus of separative, fragmented consciousness.

In each case, these represent simply powers of the all-Consciousness and remain under control of that all-knowing awareness.

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 13, Exclusive concentration of Consciousness-Force and the Ignorance

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