To understand things from the spiritual viewpoint involves a complete “reversal of consciousness”. There is a proverb in the yogic community that day for the Yogi is night for the ordinary man; and day for the ordinary man is night for the Yogi. This sums up the differences in viewpoint between the spiritual standpoint and the human standpoint.
We look upon ourselves generally as human beings who are “created out of dust”, implying that our basis is the body, Matter. The life-energy somehow vivifies the material body and we are alive. When the life energy departs, we die. Somehow, through a process of successive experience and learning and chances of genetics, we develop a thinking mind. All through, however, we are tied to the basis fro which we started and for many, the whole idea of a spiritual truth of existence seems like an unreal or imaginative flight of fancy.
It therefore takes some effort to adjust to the spiritual standpoint which holds that the reality of our existence starts with Sat-Chit-Ananda, Existence-Consciousness-Bliss and that this spiritual reality creates and is embodied in the universal manifestation including our individual existence in Mind-Life-Body. The spirit works through the forms and takes on the unique characteristics of each plane of action, whether embodied or in the worlds that are pure manifestations of Matter, Life or Mind.
Sri Aurobindo notes: “What we call vitality is for the purposes of our normal human existence power of conscious being emerging in matter, liberating from it and in it mind and the higher powers and supporting their limited action in the physical life,–just as what we call mentality is power of conscious being awaking in body to light of its own consciousness and to consciousness of all the rest of being immediately around it and working at first in the limited action set for it by life and body, but at certain points and at a certain height escaping from it to a partial action beyond this circle.”
“Matter or body itself is a limiting form of substance of spirit in which life and mind and spirit are involved, self-hidden, self-forgetful by absorption in their own externalising action, but bound to emerge from it by a self-compelling evolution.”
“Man himself has, besides this gross material body, an encasing vital sheath, a mental body, a body of bliss and gnosis. But all matter, all body contains within it the secret powers of these higher principles; matter is a formation of life that has no real existence apart from the informing universal spirit which gives it its energy and substance.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 3, The Psychology of Self-Perfection, pp. 599-600