The importance of subliminal self: It is in the subliminal that true spiritual experiences occur, and therefore, it is an instrument of experience By N SHAKUNTALA MANAY
Deccan Herald Tuesday, February 15, 2005
In Sri Aurobindo’s writing, ‘consciousness’ is a key word which is frequently used. This is a self-aware force of existence. It refers to a wakeful awareness of a dynamic creative energy. Below this is the subconscious and above it reaches the superconscience, which is beyond the mind. Besides these, Aurobindo refers to another state of the consciousness, which is subliminal. The wakeful awareness is the surface consciousness, which refers to the outer gross states of the physical, vital and mental, and the inner state that is subliminal, which combines the inner physical, inner vital and inner mental states, finally entering into psychic consciousness. The psyche is the divine spark hidden behind all these, which has descended into manifestation and is capable of evolving to unite with the divine reality. It supports all others from behind.
The importance of the subliminal in the growth of the psychic consciousness is of utmost importance in the spiritual journey. It is this which is the reality behind the superficial (surface) awareness. It is immensely wider and superior in capacity and is the refined purity of being. This power behind the surface being is vaster and luminous, opening directly to the superpower. Hence, when this pure being is progressively brought forward through the subtle hidden sheaths of the physical, vital and mental, the psychic entity, a pure power of light, love and joy, the essence of refined being, is experienced. It is in the subliminal that true spiritual experiences occur, and therefore, it is an instrument of experience. An individual, if he or she merely remains in the surface consciousness, will have a limited experience, as he or she would feel the acute limitations of the body, life (or vital) and the mind.
To feel that vaster universe as part of oneself, the subliminal, through deeper experiences, removes the veil between the individual and the universe. The experiences become richer, as one is enabled to receive the universe of contrary forces with indifference but with equal delight (samata). Thus, individuality widens to accommodate the universe. The individual subjectively experiences the objective universal and experiences the power to transcend the physical (grosser) world. The subliminal is the subtlest consciousness where the dream state can be useful to solve the problems of life. It is subliminal intelligence which can release premonitions, give warnings, indicate the future through symbol images, and give coherence to the surface activities. Because, it is the dream state which allows entry to the higher region of the consciousness. Keeping a record of dream experiences is a useful habit to bridge the gulf between the consciousness and the sub-consciousness. It enlarges the consciousness beyond the wakeful surface state. The dream experience takes one to other planes of our being, which is not possible in a wakeful state. Therefore, Aurobindo calls the subliminal self a “dream builder”.
Evolution can be accelerated as ascent to the higher planes of existence becomes possible. It is because the processed knowledge, gathered through inner experiences, brings the future closer in the light of psychic aspiration. The individual begins to blossom in becoming what was hidden and begins to realise and manifest his or her deeper soul.In this process, the weaker sheaths of the physical, vital and mental can be strengthened with the knowledge gathered of one’s realised identity, and the world view changes. What is required for developing one’s own consciousness can be acquired. The change is an organic transformation. Hellen Keller developed her states of consciousness only through the sense of touch when all her other senses had failed. The soul within gathered experiences of the outer world and she experienced the universe by enlarging her inner state. This is the power of the subliminal consciousness.
To tap this secret consciousness of the subliminal is to gradually open to the superconscient. While the subliminal and the subconscient are like the waves on the surface of the sea, the supraconscient is the higher ether which controls the surface of the sea. The subliminal, when it connects itself to the superconscience, has the power to penetrate the existing physical world to a still higher quality world. The problems of human nature which cannot be solved at the surface superficial level receive divine intervention. The spiritual journey is evolutionary. Therefore, it is an inner journey through the inner physical, the inner vital and the inner mental, and the subliminal is like a submarine with its periscope in the superconscience which makes human journey safe, and steady in reaching divine destiny. This journey is long, yet when gone through, the experience becomes enriching as one becomes what one cherishes and sincerely aspires for. All experiences will be of fulfilment, with a sense of completeness and wholesomeness.