If we examine closely the working of the mental functions, we can identify the reception of impulses by the senses and communication of these impulses to the brain. From that point forward, the mind undertakes a process to identify, organize, understand and act upon these impulses. Essentially this is a process of making order out of the chaos of random sense impressions that come in. Most sense impressions wind up being disregarded, as the mind chooses and attends to certain details and organizes them into patterns of understanding. These patterns are then committed to memory and become the basis for the mind’s ability to “fill in” missing information when it observes things in the future which “fit” the pattern in general.
What is not clarified in this process is how the mind actually gets the organizing principle and the understanding about the implication of the sense perceptions and thereby gains knowledge and the ability to interpret and act. There must be some informing intelligence that activates the mind for these functions. Sri Aurobindo identifies the action of supermind in the mental processes as what he would calls intuition.
“The supermind in the lower nature is present most strongly as intuition and it is therefore by a development of an intuitive mind that we can make the first step towards the self-existent spontaneous and direct supramental knowledge. All the physical, vital, emotional, psychic, dynamic nature of man is a surface seizing of suggestions which rise out of a subliminal intuitive self-being of these parts, and an attempt usually groping and often circuitous to work them out in the action of a superficial embodiment and power of the nature which is not overtly enlightened by the inner power and knowledge. An increasingly intuitive mind has the best chance of discovering what they are seeking for and leading them to the desired perfection of their self-expression. The reason itself is only a special kind of application, made by a surface regulating intelligence, of suggestions which actually come from a concealed, but sometimes partially overt and active power of the intuitive spirit. In all its action there is at the covered or half-covered point of origination something which is not the creation of the reason, but given to it either directly by the intuition or indirectly through some other part of the mind for it to shape into intellectual form and process.”
The action of intuition in the mind is not complete nor perfect. The mental process tends to veil or coat the intuitive flash with the steps of reason and the promptings of the desire-soul, so that what actually comes forth is a mixed and inadequate result, albeit still containing the seed of the inspiration that brought the formation into existence in the first place. For a more powerful action, the intuitive mind would have to take charge of the process of knowledge in the individual rather than hand off its light to the lesser functioning of rational mentality. “This can indeed only be done if we make the intuitive mind a transitional means for bringing out the secret supermind itself of which it is a mental figure and forming in our frontal consciousness a body and instrument of supermind which will make it possible for the self and spirit to display itself in its own largeness and splendour.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 19, The Nature of the Supermind, pp. 767-768