Most of us, caught up in our own internal struggles, aspirations and challenges, do not reflect on the process of Nature in the evolution of a new gradation or range of consciousness in the world. We therefore more or less assume that there is some straightforward path or methodology to be followed to get from “point A” to “point B” and we look at obstacles, setbacks and dry periods in a very personal way as if we are somehow failing at the aspiration or we have somehow been “abandoned” along the way.
Sri Aurobindo points out however that the process is extremely complex due to the needs, limitations and habitual patterns of each of the preceding grades of consciousness, which attempt to both maintain their own characteristic mode of seeing and acting, and sustain the habitual pattern of interaction between that grade and the other grades.
When the consciousness begins its ascent to the higher realms, we frequently see that there is a glimpse of the higher light, potentially a short-term infusion of that light into our daily lives, and then a period where things settle back more or less into old tracks, where old habits reinstate themselves and we are enmeshed in the old world we thought we had transcended.
Sri Aurobindo uses several images to illustrate the actual pattern that is taking place during the transition from one grade to another, and in particular in the ascent to the supramental consciousness and its descent into life here, from the overmental realm.
It is true that there has to be a relatively stable foundation on the prior levels to afford a basis for a secure ascent to the next level. “But evolutionary Nature is not a logical series of separate segments; it is a totality of ascending powers of being which interpenetrate and dovetail and exercise in their action on each other a power of mutual modification. When the higher descends into the lower consciousness, it alters the lower but is also modified and diminished by it; when the lower ascends, it is sublimated but at the same time qualifies the sublimating substance and power. This interaction creates an abundant number of different intermediate and interlocked degrees of the force and consciousness of being, but it also makes it difficult to bring about a complete integration of all the powers under the full control of any one power. For this reason there is not actually a series of simple clear-cut and successive stages in the individual’s evolution; there is instead a complexity and a partly determinate, partly confused comprehensiveness of the movement.”
We shall continue this subject in more depth in the next post.
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 26, “The Ascent Towards Supermind”