Transforming the Foundation of Consciousness from Matter to Spirit

Sri Aurobindo has systematically followed the evolution of consciousness from the foundation in Matter, through the development of Life, and eventually the manifestation of Mind. The further development of consciousness involves the action of the Spiritual levels beyond mind. Sri Aurobindo points out that this further evolution does not only represent a progression upon the original foundation, but actually represents a reversal or turning-point whereby the foundation of the evolutionary action moves to the spiritual level and impacts the lower levels from there. This reminds us of the image from the Upanishads of the universal Ashwattha Tree with its roots above and branches and leaves down below. It seems that once we move beyond the action of Body-Life-Mind as the controlling forces of the evolutionary movement, the entire process is transformed and thenceforward directed from the spiritual planes. “The principle of the process of evolution is a foundation, from that foundation an ascent, in that ascent a reversal of consciousness and, from the greater height and wideness gained, an action of change and new integration of the whole nature. The first foundation is Matter; the ascent is that of Nature; the integration is an at first unconscious or half-conscious automatic change of Nature by Nature. But as soon as a more completely conscious participation of the being has begun in these workings of Nature, a change in the functioning of the process is inevitable.”

“The whole concentration of the being will be shifted from below upwards and from without inwards; our higher and inner being now unknown to us will become ourselves, and the outer or surface being which we now take for ourselves will be only an open front or an annexe through which the true being meets the universe. The outer world itself will become inward to the spiritual awareness, a part of itself, intimately embraced in a knowledge and feeling of unity and identity, penetrated by an intuitive regard of the mind, responded to by the direct contact of consciousness with consciousness, taken into an achieved integrality. The old inconscient foundation itself will be made conscious in us by the inflow of light and awareness from above and its depths annexed to the heights of the spirit. An integral consciousness will become the basis of an entire harmonisation of life through the total transformation, unification, integration of the being and the nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 18, The Evolutionary Process — Ascent and Integration