If we reflect, for a moment, on the interaction between a thinking human individual and an animal such as a dog, we can see that the dog cannot conceptualize what is taking place in the human thought process, although the dog is clearly influenced by and guided by the force of the consciousness displayed by the human individual. Similarly, the human individual based in the experience of the physical mind cannot consciously perceive the action and influence that interacts with it constantly from other planes or powers of consciousness. The opening of the psychic awareness makes it possible for the wide range of forces, levels of consciousness and influences to be seen, experienced, appreciated and responded to on a conscious rather than on a subconscious level.
There are a number of successively more subtle planes of existence which interact with and impinge upon our physical lives and actions. C. G. Jung described extensively what he called the “collective unconscious” but at least some of what he described appears to be due to influences from these other planes of consciousness acting and pressing upon our human awareness.
Sri Aurobindo notes: “For there is a continuous scale of the planes of consciousness, beginning with the psychical and other belts attached to and dependent on the earth plane and proceeding through the true independent vital and psychical worlds to the worlds of the gods and the highest supramental and spiritual planes of existence. And these are in fact always acting upon our subliminal selves unknown to our waking mind and with considerable effect on our life and nature. The physical mind is only a little part of us and there is a much more considerable range of our being in which the presence, influence and powers of the other planes are active upon us and help to shape our external being and its activities.”
“The awakening of the psychical consciousness enables us to become aware of these powers, presences and influences in and around us; and while in the impure or yet ignorant and imperfect mind this unveiled contact has its dangers, it enables us too, if rightly used and directed, to be no longer their subject but their master and to come into conscious and self-controlled possession of the inner secrets of our nature. The psychical consciousness reveals this interaction between the inner and the outer planes, this world and others, partly by an awareness, which may be very constant, vast and vivid, of their impacts, suggestions, communications to our inner thought and conscious being and a capacity of reaction upon them there, partly also through many kinds of symbolic, transcriptive or representative images presented to the different psychical senses. But also there is the possibility of a more direct, concretely sensible, almost material, sometimes actively material communication– a complete though temporary physical materialisation seems to be possible– with the powers, forces and beings of other worlds and planes. There may even be a complete breaking of the limits of the physical consciousness and the material existence.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 24, The Supramental Sense , pg. 846