Overcoming Errors of Perception & Interpretation in Physical & Supraphysical Experience

One of the objections that the physical mind throws up regarding supraphysical experience is that the human mind is prone to accept things at face value without properly evaluating their reliability and thus, we tend toward the miraculous and the improbable and mix up thereby, the truth that actually underpins the supraphysical experience.

In response it must be pointed out that the physical senses and mind are every bit as subject to error in their own realm, and thus, a similarly rigorous review is required in either case. We perceive, for instance, that the sun revolves around the earth, and for much of the history of the West, it was in fact an heretical idea to suggest otherwise, and subjected proponents of that “heresy” to excommunication, torture and the holy inquisition. At other times and conditions we can see a huge lake of water as we are crossing a desert, only to find out when we get there that it is just sand and sun creating an error of perception for the physical mind.

Sri Aurobindo makes it clear therefore that it is not the fact that error can occur that prevents us from accepting subliminal or supraphysical experience. He does stress that each realm or domain, however, must be interpreted and viewed based on the principles and methods of that domain. It is inappropriate and misleading therefore to have the physical mind interpret what is taking place in the realm of higher mind or in life worlds, for instance.

“All truth supraphysical or physical must be founded not on mental belief alone, but on experience,–but in each case experience must be of the kind, physical, subliminal or spiritual, which is appropriate to the order of the truths into which we are empowered to enter; their validity and significance must be scrutinised, but according to their own law and by a consciousness which can enter into them and not according to the law of another domain or by a consciousness which is capable only of truths of another order; so alone can we be sure of our steps and enlarge firmly our sphere of knowledge.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 21, The Order of the Worlds

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