The Universal Mind and the Individual Mental Nature

While the human being tends to focus on the thoughts, feelings, emotions, sensations that occur as being “his own”, Sri Aurobindo points out that these are really universal energies that are developed by Nature and which manifest through the individual but do not belong to those individuals as their own formations.

“But again Nature has created within her mental unity, formed in the universal Mind separate-seeming dynamos as it were of mentality, constant centres for the generation, distribution and reabsorption of mental force and mental activities, stations as it were in a system of mental telegraphy where messages are conceived, written, sent, received, deciphered, and these messages and their activities are of many kinds, sensational, emotional, perceptual, conceptual, intuitional, all of which the Soul manifested in mental Nature accepts, uses for its own outlook on the world and seems to itself to project and to receive their shocks, to suffer or to master their consequences.”

These “mental dynamos” are hooked up through the vital/nervous sheath to the physical body. “Nature installs the base of these dynamos in the material bodies she has formed, makes these bodies the round for her stations and connects the mental with the material by a nerve-system full of the movement of vital currents through which the mind becomes conscious of the material world and, so far as it chooses, of the vital world of Nature. Otherwise the mind would be conscious of the mental world first and chiefly and would only indirectly glimpse the material. As it is, its attention is fixed on the body and the material world in which it has been installed and it is aware of the reset of existence only dimly, indirectly or subconsciously in that vast remainder of itself with regard to which superficially it has become irresponsive and oblivious.”

The focus and attachment of the mind to the life in the body has its own purpose in the process of Nature, which, however, at a certain stages allows the mind to not only become self-aware, but to begin to detach itself from the material form and action and turn itself back towards its source and the longer-term evolutionary purpose.

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 6, The Synthesis of the Disciplines of Knowledge, pg. 322

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