The essential difficulty that has challenged seekers throughout the ages when they take up the spiritual quest is the apparent enormous gap between the experience of consciousness in the higher nature, and that of the lower nature. This has led to a bifurcation between the spiritual experiences, generally in a trance state, of infinite consciousness and bliss, and the return to the daily existence of duality, separation and fragmentation experienced by those who are locked into the experience of the lower nature of mind-life-body. The attempts to bridge this gap have been generally unsuccessful in the past and have led to either acceptance of the abandonment of the outer life as the price for achievement of the spiritual consciousness, or else, the acceptance of a spiritualizing influence, far short of total transformation, in the lower nature.
Sri Aurobindo explains that the key to an actual transformation of the lower nature is the involvement and action of what he calls variously “truth-mind” or “supermind” representing the intermediate plane that translates the consciousness of the higher nature into that of the lower. It is at this level that the “unity” is transformed into an infinite number of forms, and the “one” is apparently turned into the “many”. It is also at this level that the normal fragmenting action of the mental consciousness which sees only division, separation, difference, and opposition can be harmonized to see this all as the action of One infinite, all-creating Being.
“This transformation cannot be complete or really executed without the awakening of the truth-mind which corresponds in the mental being to the Supermind and is capable of receiving mentally its illuminations. By the opposition of Spirit and Mind without the free opening of this intermediate power the two natures, higher and lower, stand divided, and though there may be communication and influence or the catching up of the lower into the higher in a sort of luminous or ecstatic trance, there cannot be a full and perfect transfiguration of the lower nature.”
The mind is mutable, ever-changing and limited. Bringing in the action of this higher principle provides a real opportunity to bring about a stable new level of consciousness. Just as mind transformed the action of the material and vital planes, the action of supermind has a similar evolutionary potential. If we review the pattern of the evolution of consciousness of Life out of Matter, and Mind out of Life, and the vast transformations that each such stage brought about, it becomes easy to recognize that this next stage is the evolutionary destiny of humanity and the solution to the problem that those who take up the spiritual life have faced.
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 16, Oneness, pp. 404-405