Recognising the Soul’s Influence on Our Being

One of the reasons we have difficulty in understanding the soul’s action is that its influence, starting out as intimations or impulsions to the surface being, is thereby mixed in with the complex jumble of conflicting impulses that represents what we call our personality. This personality is based on the sometimes contradictory demands of our physical, vital and mental surface personalities which themselves are reflections of the inner, occult subtle physical, vital and mental being. The soul-influence is however something that slowly grows, shapes itself and takes on a form that is recognisable. Sri Aurobindo explains: “On this ignorant surface we become dimly aware of something that can be called a soul as distinct from mind, life or body; we feel it not only as our mental idea or vague instinct of ourselves, but as a sensible influence in our life and character and action. A certain sensitive feeling for all that is true and good and beautiful, fine and pure and noble, a response to it, a demand for it, a pressure on mind and life to accept and formulate it in our thought, feelings, conduct, character is the most usually recognised, the most general and characteristic, though not the sole sign of this influence of the psyche. Of the man who has not this element in him or does not respond at all to this urge, we say that he has no soul. For it is this influence that we can most easily recognise as a finer or even a diviner part in us and the most powerful for the slow turning towards some aim at perfection in our nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 25, “The Triple Transformation”