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Inner Opening

It sometimes or even often happens that experiences and transformations of an occult-spiritual nature occur without any corresponding awakening of the Psychic or Soul Being. The result, which seems to be quite common in occult and meditative practice, psychedelic and spiritual experiences, and many charismatic but deluded lesser gurus (who don't have a Divine grounding or transcendence of ego) is described by Sri Aurobindo in the following passage from The Life Divine (as part of the general discussion of Psychic transformation). It is important to emphasise here that in Sri Aurobindo's terminology, "Psychic" refers to the pure Spiritual Core of one's being, not "psychic experiences" as generally understood, which would be classified in Sri Aurobindo's system o Integral Yoga as Subtle Physical and Inner (or even outer) Vital.

"Some of these experiences can come by an opening of the inner mental and vital being, the inner and larger and subtler mind and heart and life within us, without any full emergence of the soul, the psychic entity, since there too there is a power of direct contact of consciousness: but the experience might then be of a mixed character; for there could be an emergence not only of the subliminal knowledge but of the subliminal ignorance. An insufficient expansion of the being, a limitation by mental idea, by narrow and selective emotion or by the form of the temperament so that there would be only an imperfect self-creation and action and not the free soul-emergence, could easily occur. In the absence of any or of a complete psychic emergence, experiences of certain kinds, experiences of greater knowledge and force, a surpassing of the ordinary limits, might lead to a magnified ego and even bring about instead of an out-flowering of what is divine or spiritual an uprush of the titanic or demoniac, or might call in agencies and powers which, though not of this disastrous type, are of a powerful but inferior cosmic character."
The Life Divine (10th ed.), pp.907-909

A vivid but unfortunately very common example of such experience is the so-called "Intermediate Zone", the essay on which should be recommended reading not only for all would-be gurus and sadhaks (spiritual aspirants), but also for people who feel the need to follow a guru but are somewhat lost or bewildered in the present "spiritual supermarket"

Because of these dangers and pitfalls there is the vital necessity of the guidance of the soul or true inner Light, which "brings into all experience the tendency of light, of integration, of harmony and intimate rightness which is native to the psychic essence." [Ibid]

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
Text by Sri Aurobindo © Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust 1977
page uploaded 19 July 2004