The vital ego is attracted to the excitement of having experiences that are unusual or powerful. It therefore wants to find ways to repeat or expand upon them once they have had such an experience. In reality, however, there is very little of long-term value in this approach. The experiences come, and they go, and the individual remains essentially unchanged, other than perhaps being distracted enough to want to chase after experiences.

A spiritual experience can be valuable, if it awakens the seeker to a possibility or a direction he should take. It may also be useful if it brings forth a particular force that is needed for the transformation of the nature. The issue comes down to what the seeker does with this experience and how he works to integrate the beneficial aspects into his life. There is in that case a dual process of ascent, where the being rises to a new level with a new experience, and integration or consolidation, where the experience is brought to bear on the ordinary nature of the individual and work is done to effectuate true change in the nature.

Sri Aurobindo declares in his epic poem Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol, “A moment sees, the ages toil to express.” It is like that. The experience, the vision, the spiritual force comes and presents itself before the seeker. This momentary experience must then be converted and implemented to change the mind, the life-energy and even the physical body. The implementation process is not generally fast or easy, requiring considerable effort over time, bolstered by patience, and perseverance, and grounded in peace and certitude of the eventual success. This certitude is inherent in the soul, the psychic being, and informs its aspiration.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “Merely to have experiences of the higher consciousness will not change the nature. Either the higher consciousness has to make a dynamic descent into the whole being and change it; or it must establish itself in the inner being down to the inner physical so that the latter feels itself separate from the outer and is able to act freely upon it; or the psychic must come forward and change the nature; or the inner will must awake and force the nature to change. These are the four ways in which change can be brought about.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Growing Within: The Psychology of Inner Development, Chapter VII Growth of Consciousness, Inner Experiences, pp. 137-138

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at 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.