The individual at the stage of human evolution is formed by, and struggles with, the nature of Life and Matter, and the limitations of Mind. In some cases, to free himself from subjection to the world, he undertakes the spiritual process of “liberation” and abandons the world entirely. The manifestation of the gnostic consciousness takes up and transforms not only the inner life of the individual, but also the relationship of the individual to the environment and the world around him.
Sri Aurobindo describes this process: “There must come upon us in the change at once a reversal and rejection of our present way of existence and a fulfilment of its inner trend and tendency. For we stand now between these two terms, an outer world of Life and Matter that has made us and a remaking of the world by ourselves in the sense of the evolving Spirit.”
“…if we shape ourselves at all, it is in most men less by the conscious pressure of a free soul or intelligence from within than by a response to our environment and the world-Nature acting upon us: but what we move towards in the development of our conscious being is an inner existence creating by its knowledge and power its own outer form of living and self-expressive environment of living. In the gnostic nature this movement will have consummated itself; the nature of living will be an accomplished inner existence whose light and power will take perfect body in the outer life. The gnostic being will take up the world of Life and Matter, but he will turn and adapt it to his own truth and purpose of existence; he will mould life itself into his own spiritual image, and this he will be able to do because he has the secret of a spiritual creation and is in communion and oneness with the Creator within him. This will be first effective in the shaping of his own inner and outer individual existence, but the same power and principle will operate in any common gnostic life; the relations of gnostic being with gnostic being will be the expression of their one gnostic self and super-nature shaping into a significant power and form of itself the whole common existence.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 27, “The Gnostic Being”