The Supramental Consciousness and the Process of Concentration

Due to the nature and character of the mental consciousness, which tends to react to various sensory impressions and input and thus jumps around without consistency from one thought or subject to the next, the process of concentration is a necessary one that helps the mind overcome its limitations and prepares the consciousness for the ascent to the next level.

At the level beyond the mind, termed by Sri Aurobindo the “supramental” level, however, there is a complete reversal of the process and the significance of concentration. The supramental consciousness is one and unified, not fragmented as the mental consciousness. Its normal status is comprehensive and therefore, there is no need, once that point has been reached, to further concentrate on a specific idea or concept; rather, the supramental consciousness embraces everything in a wholistic manner and even when it sees and deals with various forms or forces, it does so within the framework of the whole, without treating them as independent or opposed to one another.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “But that which is beyond the mind and into which we seek to rise is superior to the running process of the thought, superior to the division of ideas. The Divine is centred in itself and when it throws out ideas and activities does not divide itself or imprison itself in them, but holds them and their movement in its infinity; undivided, its whole self is behind each Idea and each movement and at the same time behind all of them together. Held by it, each spontaneously works itself out, not through a separate act of will, but by the general force of consciousness behind it; if to us there seems to be a concentration of divine Will and Knowledge in each, it is a multiple and equal and not an exclusive concentration, and the reality of it is rather a free and spontaneous working in a self-gathered unity and infinity.”

By attaining that next level of consciousness, the Soul shares in its qualities of oneness and unity. “It is for this reason that, as is said in the ancient books, the man who has arrived at Self-possession attains spontaneously without the need of concentration in thought and effort the knowledge or the result which the Idea or the Will in him moves out to embrace.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 4, Concentration, pp. 307-308