As we have noted, Sri Aurobindo distinguishes several distinct levels of development of “Mind” starting with the Physical Mind, which was the subject of the previous post. The “Life-Mind”, also called the “Vital Mind” is the next phase, which roughly correlates to the infusion of the principle of life into the world of matter, and the mental plane’s corresponding energies and focus to accomodate this next evolutionary stage. The life-soul which embodies the mentality of the vital plane “concretely senses and contacts the things of the life-world, and tries to realise them here; it attaches immense importance to the satisfaction and fulfilment of the life-being, the life-force, the vital nature: it looks on physical existence as a field for the life-impulses’ self-fulfilment, for the play of ambition, power, strong character, love, passion, adventure, for the individual, the collective, the general human seeking and hazard and venture, for all kinds of life-experiment and new life-experience, and but for this saving element, this greater power, interest, significance, the physical existence would have for it no value. This life-mentality is supported by our secret subliminal vital being and is in veiled contact with a life-world to which it can easily open and so fee the unseen dynamic forces and realities behind the material universe. There is an inner life-mind which does not need for its perceptions the evidence of the physical senses, is not limited by them; for on this level our inner life and the inner life of the world become real to us independent of the body and of the symbols of the physical world which alone we call natural phenomena, as if Nature had no greater phenomena and no greater realities than those of gross Matter. The vital man, moulded consciously or unconsciously by these influences, is the man of desire and sensation, the man of force and action, the man of passion and emotion, the kinetic individual: he may and does lay great stress on the material existence, but he gives it, even when most preoccupied with its present actualities, a push for life-experience, for force of realisation, for life-extension, for life-power, for life-affirmation and life-expansion which is Nature’s first impetus towards enlargement of the being; at a highest intensity of this life-impetus, he becomes the breaker of bonds, the seeker of new horizons, the disturber of the past and present in the interest of the future.”
This vital mind opens up new opportunities and developments in the evolutionary progression of consciousness out of inconscient Matter and towards the higher expressions of Mind, Supermind and beyond.
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 18, The Evolutionary Process — Ascent and Integration