Ascending the Ladder of Consciousness Beyond the Mind: Overmind, Part 1 The Nature of the Overmental Consciousness

Sri Aurobindo has mapped the ranges of consciousness above the mind and identified various stages or levels of consciousness between the mental and the supramental ranges.  Beyond Higher Mind, and beyond Intuitive Mind, he identifies Overmind.  This level is no longer rooted in the ego-awareness of the individual, but partakes of the cosmic consciousness and has predominant characteristics of wideness and expansive vision.

Sri Aurobindo writes in The Life Divine:  “But we have seen that the Overmind, even when it is selective and not total in its action, is still a power of cosmic consciousness, a principle of global knowledge which carries in it a delegated light from the supramental Gnosis.  It is, therefore, only by an opening into the cosmic consciousness that the overmind ascent and descent can be made wholly possible:  a high and intense individual opening upwards is not sufficient, — to that vertical ascent towards summit Light there must be added a vast horizontal expansion of the consciousness into some totality of the Spirit…. When the overmind descends, the predominance of the centralising ego-sense is entirely subordinated, lost in largeness of being and finally abolished; a wide cosmic perception and feeling of a boundless universal self and movement replaces it: many motions that were formally ego-centric may still continue, but they occur as currents or ripples in the cosmic wideness.  Thought, for the most part, no longer seems to originate individually in the body or the person but manifests from above or comes in upon the cosmic mind-waves: all inner individual sight or intelligence of things is now a revelation or illumination of what is seen or comprehended, but the source of the revelation is not in one’s separate self but in the universal knowledge; the feelings, emotions, sensations are similarly felt as waves from the same cosmic immensity breaking upon the subtle and the gross body and responded to in kind by the individual centre of the universality; for the body is only a small support or even less, a point of relation, for the action of a vast cosmic instrumentation.  In this boundless largeness, not only the separate ego but all sense of individuality, even of a subordinated or instrumental instrumentality, may entirely disappear; the cosmic existence, the cosmic consciousness, the cosmic delight, the play of cosmic forces are alone left: if the delight or the centre of Force is felt in what as the personal mind, life or body, it is not with a sense of personality but as a field of manifestation, and this sense of the delight or of the action of Force is not confined to the person or the body but can be felt at all points in an unlimited consciousness of unity which pervades everywhere.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Future Evolution of Man, Chapter Seven, The Ascent Towards Supermind, pp. 90-91

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