The Initial Experiences of the Spiritual Transformation of Consciousness

For those who have not experienced it, the shifting of the center and locus of consciousness upwards, above the physical brain, is something impossible to understand or imagine.  Yet, spiritual seekers confirm that this is a real and palpable experience that seats their awareness outside the boundaries of body-life-mind, and thereby frees them from limits imposed by the framework of these members of the being.

The first time this occurs, there is frequently a considerable amount of fear that can arise, as the seeker is afraid he is going to lose himself, or even die, as the consciousness moves out of the body in this way.  This is an oft mentioned status in the recounting of spiritual growth.  The seeker must be able to overcome this fear and continue or it will pull him right back into the physical body and postpone the experience for a time when the seeker is more ready to embrace it.  For this reason, also, the mystics speak about needing to go through the experience of death to reach enlightened levels of consciousness.  This is however not just a ritual or a simulated external experience, but an inward movement of consciousness to escape the bounds of the body, vital being and the mind.

The understanding changes as one escapes the limiting frame of the physical consciousness.  One sees and experiences life as infinite, knowing and powerful beyond anything possible to an individual fixed in the body awareness.

In some cases, the experience and understanding is so different from that of the normal consciousness that it seems like the seeker is entering into a state of sleep or trance and when he returns to the body awareness, he cannot describe or transcribe the experience or the understanding, as the mind does not have words to convey it, nor is there a mental framework within which to bring an understanding.

Sri Aurobindo writes in The Life Divine:  “If the rift in the lid of mind is made, what happens is an opening of vision to something above us or a rising up towards it or a descent of its powers into our being.  What we see by the opening of vision is an Infinity above us, an eternal Presence or an infinite Existence, an infinity of consciousness, an infinity of bliss, — a boundless Self, a boundless Light, a boundless Power, a boundless Ecstasy.  It may be that for a long time all that is obtained is the occasional or frequent or constant vision of it and a longing and aspiration, but without anything further, because, although something in the mind, heart or other part of the being has opened to this experience, the lower nature as a whole is too heavy and obscure as yet for more.  But there may be, instead of this first wide awareness from below or subsequently to it, an ascension of the mind to heights above: the nature of the heights we may not know or clearly discern, but some consequence of the ascent is felt; there is often too an awareness of infinite ascension and return but no record or translation of that higher state.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Future Evolution of Man, Chapter Six, The Triple Transformation, pp. 73-74

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