The soul is aligned with the divine purpose and intention in the universe. For most of us, the soul remains concealed and our lives are dominated by our physical needs and wants, our vital desires and reactions, and our mental activity, whether utilized to support the physical and vital aspects of our lives, or focused on the native action of the mind in its seeking for knowledge and insight. When the soul comes forward it brings with it a clear direction of carrying out the higher divine intention, and it is able to observe and understand the various ways of the body, life and mind.
What we normally call introspection is very much a vital and mental process of observation. This is already a step forward from the unreflecting active life of the world, but it is limited because it acts within a frame defined by the mental and emotional life of the individual in the society within which he exists, and because the mind is subject to being co-opted by the vital desire-soul into justifying what the ego in the vital wants to achieve on its own behalf. It is a first step towards a more awakened life, but falls short of the ultimate need.
Even the promptings of conscience are very much a mental-emotional process based on a moral or ethical code instilled in the individual through the growth process.
The soul, when it finally emerges, is able to observe and distinguish all the subtle motives and the deviations that occur through the influence of the desire-soul and its wishes. Where the moral code is frequently invoked as a touchstone for righteousness in life, in fact, it frequently masks ulterior designs and motives that the person rarely even acknowledges to himself. The soul, on the other hand, is not misled and does not get caught up in specific codes of action; rather, it focuses on the divine purpose and bringing the body, life and mind into harmony with that purpose.
Sri Aurobindo writes in The Life Divine: “As the crust of the outer nature cracks, as the walls of inner separation break down, the inner light gets through, the inner fire burns in the heart, the substance of the nature and the stuff of consciousness refine to a greater subtlety and purity, and the deeper psychic experiences, those which are not solely of an inner mental or inner vital character, become possible in this subtler, purer, finer substance; the soul begins to unveil itself, the psychic personality reaches its full stature. The soul, the psychic entity, then manifests itself as the central being which upholds mind and life and body and supports all the other powers and functions of the Spirit; it takes up its greater function as the guide and ruler of the nature. A guidance, a governance begins from within which exposes every movement to the light of Truth, repels what is false, obscure, opposed to the divine realisation: every region of the being, every nook and corner of it, every movement, formation, direction, inclination of thought, will, emotion, sensation, action, reaction, motive, disposition, propensity, desire, habit of the conscious or subconscious physical, even the most concealed, camouflaged, mute, recondite, is lighted up with the unerring psychic light, their confusions dissipated, their tangles disentangled, their obscurities, deceptions, self-deceptions precisely indicated and removed; all is purified, set right, the whole nature harmonised, modulated in the psychic key, put in spiritual order.”