Dangers of the Inner Opening of the Consciousness

Because we mostly live in the surface consciousness, we are not much familiar with the inner realms of consciousness, the inner mental, inner vital, subtle physical, not to speak of the psychic being in the depths at the center. The surface consciousness represents a compromise or amalgam of the action of the native power of each of these levels, and provides a certain measure of stability and “solidity” to the activity. When one enters into the inner realms, however, whether through a natural evolutionary development, or through some “event” that propels us inwards, we are confronted in some cases with forms, forces, powers and entities that are unfamilar to us, that act with an intensity and directness to which we are not normally subjected, and which can both guide, and mislead, depending on how we respond to them.

Sri Aurobindo describes the issues clearly: “In entering within one may find oneself amidst a chaos of unfamiliar and supernormal experiences to which one has not the key or a press of subliminal or cosmic forces, subconscient, mental, vital, subtle-physical, which may unduly sway or chaotically drive the being, encircle it in a cave of darkness, or keept it wandering in a wilderness of glamour, allurement, deception, or push it into an obscure battlefield full of secret and treacherous and misleading or open and violent oppositions; beings and voices and influences may appear to the inner sense and vision and hearing claiming to be the Divine Being or His messengers or Powers and Godheads of the Light or guides of the path to realisation, while in truth they are of a very different character. If there is too much egoism in the nature of the seeker or a strong passion or an excessive ambition, vanity or other dominating weakness, or an obscurity of the mind or a vacillating will or a weakness of the life-force or an unsteadiness in it or want of balance, he is likely to be seized on through these deficiencies and to be frustrated or to deviate, misled from the true way of the inner life and seeking into false paths, or to be left wandering about in an intermediate chaos of experiences and fail to find his way out into the true realisation.”

Inasmuch as the inner opening must occur eventually, it is best to understand these dangers so one can take steps to minimize their effect or ability to distract, mislead or destroy the seeker along the way. We shall take up the question of how to meet and overcome these dangers in the next post.

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