It must be remembered that the evolutionary development or unfolding of consciousness takes place through the modality of Time. The vital consciousness developed out of the physical; the mental consciousness is an advancement upon the vital. For those seekers who are consciously working on the evolutionary developments beyond the mental level, there is a progressive, and somewhat messy process of advance and retreat, of glimpses of a higher working of consciousness, followed by a reversion to the primary mode of working on the mental level. Thus, as the supramental power begins to manifest, it may first start by creating an influence or sharp bursts of illumination in the mind. A continued focus and effort may lead to the development of a more or less stable intuitive awareness that illumines the mental as well as begins the transition towards a more permanent higher form of knowing. Similarly, as the supramental takes up the consciousness, it will at first be diluted by the mental framework, exert more influence at the level of the intuitive mind, and only begin to gain its full power and scope as the mental level is exceeded.
Sri Aurobindo notes: “The ranges of knowledge above the supramental reason, taking it up and exceeding it, cannot well be described, nor is it necessary here to make the endeavour. It is sufficient to say that the process here is more sufficient, intense and large in light, imperative, instantaneous, the scope of the active knowledge larger, the way nearer to the knowledge by identity, the thought more packed with the luminous substance of self-awareness and all-vision and more evidently independent of any other inferior support or assistance.”
“These characteristics, it must be remembered, do not fully apply even to the strongest action of the intuitive mentality, but are there seen only in their first glimpses. Nor can they be entirely or unmixedly evident so long as supramentality is only forming with an undercurrent, a mixture or an environment of mental action. It is only when mentality is overpassed and drops away into a passive silence that there can be the full disclosure and the sovereign and integral action of the supramental gnosis.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 23, The Supramental Instruments — Thought-process , pg. 830