As a series of steps or gradations, the ascent of consciousness beyond the mind takes us through the Higher Mind, to the Illumined Mind, and from thence to the Intuition and next to the Overmind. At each stage we see increasing power of consciousness with ever-increasing knowledge that comes through the reduction of the influence of the Subconscient and the Inconscient, and the upwelling and massing of ever more intense light. For the most part, the experience of the steps preceding the Overmind is based still in the individual’s own awareness. The Overmind however is directly tied to the breaking out of the consciousness from the individual to the cosmic level and the overpassing of the instrumentation of the ego. Sri Aurobindo discusses the Overmind and the principles of its action: “…we have seen that the Overmind, even when it is selective and not total in its action, is still a power of cosmic consciousness, a principle of global knowledge which carries in it a delegated light from the supramental Gnosis. It is, therefore, only by an opening into the cosmic consciousness that the overmind ascent and descent can be made wholly possible: a high and intense individual opening upwards is not sufficient,–to that vertical ascent towards summit Light there must be added a vast horizontal expansion of the consciousness into some totality of the Spirit. At the least, the inner being must already have replaced by its deeper and wider awareness the surface mind and its limited outlook and learned to live in a large universality; for otherwise the overmind view of things and the overmind dynamism will have no room to move in and effectuate its dynamic operations. When the Overmind descends, the predominance of the centralising ego-sense is entirely subordinated, lost in largeness of being and finally abolished; a wide cosmic perception and feeling of a boundless universal self and movement replaces it: many motions that were formerly egocentric may still continue, but they occur as currents or ripples in the cosmic wideness. Thought, for the most part, no longer seems to originate individually in the body or the person but manifests from above or comes in upon the cosmic mind-waves: all inner individual sight or intelligence of things is now a revelation or illumination of what is not in one’s separate self but in the universal knowledge; the feelings, emotions, sensations are similarly felt as waves from the same cosmic immensity breaking upon the subtle and the gross body and responded to in kind by the individual centre of the universality; for the body is only a small support or even less, a point of relation, for the action of a vast cosmic instrumentation.”
The individual becomes simply a “field of manifestation” of the cosmic consciousness.
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 26, “The Ascent Towards Supermind”