Our ability to perceive is limited both by the scale within which we are able to perceive, as well as the operation of the “all or nothing” phenomenon. Thus, events are occurring, activities are underway at wavelengths below those we can perceive, and above those we can perceive. At some point, the impact of those events that occur outside our frame, may have consequences within our frame, but until that occurs, we remain blissfully ignorant of the changes that are in preparation. Similarly, our sense organs have a threshold of perception. The eyes will perceive only darkness until a sufficient number of photons are firing to exceed the minimum threshold, at which point we suddenly perceive the existence of light. Scientific instruments can measure the existence of photons firing even when we cannot perceive them, thus helping us understand this principle. This principle operates with respect to spiritual experiences which elude us until such time as they are ready to manifest and can exceed the minimum limits of perception.

We also tend to live in a three dimensional world, and do not perceive the process of change as our existence passes from past into the present and then moves into the future. When we begin to see the process of time, what scientists call the fourth dimension, the entire picture changes as we are no longer limited to the snapshot that stands right before us, but can see the movement of time itself and the changes that occur. Intellectually we can appreciate the changes of the seasons, the changes within a single day, the aging process, but nevertheless we remain fixated on a very limited present set of circumstances — we cannot actually utilize this intellectual knowledge for our experience of life — until such time as the standpoint can shift to the divine standpoint and the three times are incorporated as an integral part of our experience. Beyond the fourth dimension there are also further dimensions. Scientists are now, for instance, beginning to discover quantum phenomena that seem to not be subject to the universal laws and limitations that we have created as a rule-book for the universe. They are now beginning therefore to entertain the concept that a fifth dimension, that of consciousness, is operative and thus, our understanding of existence now can move in five dimensions. This is not to say that this is the limit of the number of possible dimensions, but certainly for humanity which lives primarily in a three dimensional world, this represents a major breakthrough, or as the Mother indicates, a ‘reversal of consciousness.

The Mother notes: “This change of consciousness and its preparation have often been compared with the formation of the chicken in the egg: till the very last second the egg remains the same, there is no change, and it is only when the chicken is completely formed, absolutely alive, that it itself makes with its little beak a hole in the shell and comes out. Something similar takes place at the moment of the change of consciousness. For a long time you have the impression that nothing is happening, that your consciousness is the same as usual, and, if you have an intense aspiration, you even feel a resistance, as though you were knocking against a wall which does not yield. But when you are ready within, a last effort — the pecking in the shell of the being — and everything opens and you are projected into another consciousness.”

“I said that it was a revolution of the basic equilibrium, that is, a total reversal of consciousness comparable with what happens to light when it passes through a prism. Or it is as though you were turning a ball inside out, which cannot be done except in the fourth dimension. One comes out of the ordinary three-dimensional consciousness to enter the higher four-dimensional consciousness, and into a infinite number of dimensions. This is the indispensable starting-point. Unless your consciousness changes its dimension, it will remain just what it is with the superficial vision of things, and all the profundities will escape you.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Growing Within: The Psychology of Inner Development, Chapter IX Reversal of Consciousness: The New Birth, pp. 170-171

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 17 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.