Becoming Aware of the Higher Ranges of Consciousness of the Spirit

When we experience daylight, with the sun shining, our attention is fixated on the world around us and we are not aware of the infinite universe within which our planet, our solar system and our sun are very tiny parts. When the sun sets, however, we can view the expanse of space and the stars, and we begin to realize that we are part of something far beyond our current capacities and awareness. Similarly, in the realm of consciousness, while we remain fixed on our mental-vital-physical existence, we are oblivious to the higher ranges of consciousness, but as we achieve a status of quieting the activity of our normal range of experience, we can begin to gain a finer sense and awareness of levels previously unknown to us. This is the experience that millenia of the practice of Yoga, meditation and spiritual disciplines of other types can prepare us for and bring forward.

The experience may come on the side of the Purusha. Sri Aurobindo describes it thus: “On the side of Purusha it reveals itself as Self or Spirit, as Being or as the one sole existent Being, the divine Purushottama, and the individual Jiva soul can enter into entire oneness with it in its timeless self or in its universality, or enjoy nearness, immanence, difference without any gulf of separation and enjoy too separably and at one and the same time oneness of being and delight-giving difference of relation in active experiencing nature.”

On the side of Prakriti, the experience may take the following forms: “On the side of Prakriti the power and Ananda of the Spirit come into the front to manifest this Infinite in the beings and personalities and ideas and forms and forces of the universe and there is then present to us the divine Mahashakti, original Power, supreme Nature, holding in herself infinite existence and creating the wonders of the cosmos. The mind grows conscious of this illimitable ocean of Shakti or else of her presence high above the mind and pouring something of herself into us to constitute all that we are and think and will and do and feel and experience, or it is conscious of her all around us and our personality a wave of the ocean of power of spirit, or of her presence in us and of her action there based on our present form of natural existence but originated from above and raising us towards the higher spiritual status.”

It is also possible to merge the consciousness into the vast infinite of existence, losing touch with the individual personality, and shifting the standpoint of the consciousness to that infinity or to the universality of the manifestation. These are possible stages or experiences, but do not represent the fullness of the experience sought in the integral Yoga:

“But the perfection sought in the integral Yoga is not only to be one with her in her highest spiritual power and one with her in her universal action, but to realise and possess the fullness of this Shakti in our individual being and nature. For the supreme Spirit is one as Purusha or as Prakriti, conscious being or power of conscious being, and as the Jiva in essence of self and spirit is one with the supreme Purusha, so on the side of Nature, in power of self and spirit it is one with Shakti…. To realise this double oneness is the condition of the integral self-perfection. The Jiva is then the meeting-place of the play of oneness of the supreme Soul and Nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 16, The Divine Shakti, pp. 731-732