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The Outer Being or Outer Consciousness

The Outer Being or Outer Consciousness is the part of our nature that we are most familar with. It is also the most superficial, fixed, and limited part, and the part most in need of transformation if one is to progress on the spiritual path. It correpsonds pretty much to the consciousness of Freud, the Ego of Jung, and in ordinary people the field of consciousness in Psychosynthesis (no.4 in the the Egg Diagram, see comparison with Integral Psychology). Sri Aurobindo makes a few passing references to this aspect of our being in some of his letters answering questions from disciples. These were reprinted in Letters on Yoga vol. I pp.311-2). page numbers [thus]

[p.311] The outer consciousness is that which usually expresses itself in ordinary life. It is the external mental, vital, physical. It is not connected very much with the inner being except in a few until one connects them together in the course of the sadhana.

The outer being is a means of expression only, not one's self. One must not identify with it, for what it expresses is a personality formed by the old ignorant nature. If not identified one can change it so as to express the true inner personality of the Light.

They (the outer mind, vital and bodyl are small, but not unimportant in spite of their apparent insignificance - because they [p.312] are a necessary passage of transmission between the soul and the outer world.

The outer consciousness is shut up in the body limitation and in the little bit of personal mind and sense dependent on the body - it sees only the outward, sees only things. But the inner consciousness can see behind the thing, it is aware of the play of forces, personal or universal - for it is in conscious touch with the universal action.

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
Text by Sri Aurobindo © Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust 1971
page uploaded 7 July 2004