When we look back at the development of life and mind out of the inconscient material basis, we see a long process of geological time with various incremental steps and preparations, and an occasional “leap” in power which likely was due to hidden preparation of the instruments that made such a step possible without, however, being observable on the surface. This process is mirrored in various phenomena which are well-recognized, such as our ability to perceive things with our eyes. Below a certain level of photon activity, we do not see. Once the threshold level is reached, we suddenly can observe something with our eyes. This “all or nothing” phenomenon does not imply that there were no photons present prior to the “event” we observe, but that they were below our threshold of perception. Similarly, evolutionary stages may be developing behind the scenes but not be visible to us until they suddenly appear in front of us.
One way or the other, a higher force of consciousness needs a prepared field at the physical, vital and mental levels to actually manifest with intensity and precision. Prior to that preparation, there may be influences that help to prepare the instruments, that may increase the ability of the physical to sustain a higher force and action, of the vital to express the energy in a pure and powerful way, and in the mind to widen and be able to respond to the new methods of knowing that this higher consciousness brings with it.
For the physical body to change, various cellular adjustments and genetic changes need to occur. Yogis have found that using Concentration, Meditation, Samadhi, Asana, Pranayama, Mantra, and various energy locks (bandhas) or gestures by positioning of the body and its limbs (mudras) can help the body achieve more and open up some new energies and powers for action, including what is frequently called “opening up of the chakras”. What Sri Aurobindo is describing, however, goes beyond this to an actual cellular level change through the action of the higher force, and, over time, the turning on of genetic capacities that are latent or dormant, or bringing about changes that can bring to bear entirely new powers of knowledge and action.
Sri Aurobindo observes: “All this might not come all at once, though such a sudden illumination might be possible if a divine Power and Light and Ananda could take their stand on the summit of our being and send down their force into the mind and life and body illumining and remoulding the cells, awaking consciousness in all the frame. But the way would be open and the consummation of all that is possible in the individual could progressively take place. The physical also would have its share in that consummation of the whole.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Mind of Light, The Perfection of the Body, pg. 41