Spiritual practices that focus on liberation from the nature attempt to achieve that liberation through abandonment of the external life and a one-pointed concentration on the spiritual consciousness. The integral Yoga has an additional goal of bringing the higher spiritual forces and knowledge, power, love and bliss into the life and transforming each element in the light of this new higher action. This comes about through a dual action of ascent and descent. There are periods when the focus is on moving the consciousness above into the wideness of the spiritual planes and shifting the standpoint there, essentially moving from the ego-standpoint to the divine standpoint. There are other periods where the focus is on bringing this spiritual standpoint and force into the mind, life and body and transforming their action in light of the manifestation of this next evolutionary principle. Just as the advent of mind transformed life and even the physical world, so the advent of the spiritual consciousness is intended to transform mind, life and body.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “The practice of this yoga is double — one side is of an ascent of the consciousness to the higher planes, the other is that of a descent of the power of the higher planes into the earth-consciousness so as to drive out the Power of darkness and ignorance and transform the nature.”

“It is the aim of the sadhana that the consciousness should rise out of the body and take its station above, — spreading in the wideness everywhere, not limited to the body. Thus liberated one opens to all that is above this station, above the ordinary mind, receives there all that descends from the heights, observes from there all that is below. Thus it is possible to witness in all freedom and to control all that is below and to be a recipient or a channel for all that comes down and presses into the body, which it will prepare to be an instrument of a higher manifestation, remoulded into a higher consciousness and nature.” Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 8, The Triple Transformation: Psychic, Spiritual and Supramental, The Spiritual Transformation, pp. 209-229

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com and podcast at https://anchor.fm/santosh-krinsky He is author of 16 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.