Spiritual experience and progress can be confusing. In many cases the seeker is misled or misunderstands what is actually taking place, and the significance of it. Spiritual paths generally recommend the seeker find an experienced guide, or Guru, among other reasons, to help mitigate confusion and keep the seeker oriented in the right direction as new thoughts, emotions, feelings, experiences and events occur during the process of spiritual growth. Many individuals, however, do not have immediate access to such a guide or Guru, and thus, may wander around in a state of disorientation or even a form of panic reaction. People ask how one can proceed at all without a physical Guru present as a guide. Obviously there are difficulties attendant on trying to sort out the complexities of experience and realisation in a new or unexplored area of conscious growth, without such a guide or teacher near at hand.

[There are other benefits to the direct guidance of a teacher, of course, which are outside the scope of the current focus. And there is an occult link between a Guru and a devoted disciple that does not depend on physical presence. This also lies outside the scope of the present review.]

Sri Aurobindo devoted considerable effort to mapping out the inner and higher landscapes in the evolutionary development of consciousness. He not only provided an overview of the states of awareness that would occur during any phase, but also specific means to direct the efforts towards the realisation. He aids the seeker in distinguishing the different states of consciousness and where they stand in the spiritual landscape. This clarity can aid the seeker and help to avoid the kind of confusion that heretofore has been the bane of many as they attempted to tread the path of spiritual growth.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “Psychicisation means the change of the lower nature bringing right vision into the mind, right impulse and feeling into the vital, right movement and habit into the physical — all turned towards the Divine, all based on love, adoration, bhakti — finally, the vision and sense of the Mother everywhere in all as well as in the heart, her Force working in the being, faith, consecration, surrender.”

“The spiritual change is the established descent of the peace, light, knowledge, power, bliss from above, the awareness of the Self and the Divine and of a higher cosmic consciousness and the change of the whole consciousness to that.”

“Between psychicisation and spiritualisation there is a difference. The spiritual is the change that descends from above, the psychic is the change that comes from within by the psychic dominating the mind, vital and physical.” 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 editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.