Physical eyesight provides data to the brain, at which point the mental consciousness applies its powers to fill in and complete the picture that is being observed. It has been often noted by psychologists that human beings “see” things even when the physical data of the senses is incomplete or inadequate, through a process of “filling in” detail from memory or experience. Of course, sometimes the “filled in” data is incorrect if it is filtered through particular types of bias, but the mechanism nevertheless involves an interaction between the physical eyesight and the mental awareness in order to “see” something in the physical world.
Sri Aurobindo contrasts this process with that of the spiritual sight, which relies neither on the physical senses nor the mental awareness in order to provide its vision to the seer. The spiritual sight is based on the oneness inherent in the supramental consciousness, and thus, functions through the “knowledge by identity” which is the characteristic of this level of consciousness. “The seer does not need the aid of thought in its process as a means of knowledge, but only as a means of representation and expression,–thought is to him a lesser power and used for a secondary purpose.”
“This experience and knowledge by spiritual vision is the second in directness and greatness of the supramental powers. It is something much more near, profound and comprehensive than mental vision, because it derives direct from the knowledge by identity, and it has this virtue that we can proceed at once from the vision to the identity, as from the identity to the vision. Thus when the spiritual vision has seen God, Self or Brahman, the soul can next enter into and become one with the Self, God or Brahman.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 22, The Supramental Thought and Knowledge, pp. 803-804