The experience of most people starts from the standpoint of the individual confronted by a separate universe of diverse forms and forces, over which the individual has virtually no control. We perceive ourselves as an assemblage of “mind-life-body” with one or the other of these aspects predominating in our view, at one time or another. The principle of the integral Yoga treats the spirit as the essential basis, and the mind-life-body acting as instruments, tools or occasions of manifestation.
Sri Aurobindo describes this “reversal” of viewpoint: “…a spirit using the mind, life and body for an individual and a communal experience and self-manifestation in the universe. This spirit is an infinite existence limiting itself in apparent being for individual experience. It is an infinite consciousness which defines itself in finite forms of consciousness for joy of various knowledge and various power of being. It is an infinite delight of being expanding and contracting itself and its powers, concealing and discovering, formulating many terms of its joy of existence, even to an apparent obscuration and denial of its own nature. In itself it is eternal Sachchidananda, but this complexity, this knotting up and unravelling of the infinite in the finite is the aspect we see it assume in universal and in individual nature.”
In order to effectuate the self-perfection envisioned in the integral Yoga, the transfer of the standpoint must be accomplished and act as the foundation for all action: “To discover the eternal Sachchidananda, this essential self of our being within us, and live in it as the stable basis, to make its true nature evident and creative of a divine way of living in our instruments, supermind, mind, life and body, the active principle of a spiritual perfection.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 3, The Psychology of Self-Perfection, pg. 598