Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, The Triple Transformation

Track Running Distinction between Psychic and Spiritual experiences

Distinction between Psychic and Spiritual experiences

Now the next step is the step towards what Sri Aurobindo calls the spiritual transformation.

What is the distinction between psychic and spiritual first of all? In a sense, all that is beyond mind is called spiritual, so even what is psychic can be called spiritual. That is in a very rough and general way. But when we use the word spiritual as distinguished from psychic, then the distinction rests upon the fact that the psychic is connected with the individual. Psychic is connected with the formation of the individual. Psychic is connected with the delegate of the Jivatman and the experiences of this delegate in the relationship that this psychic entity has with the perfection of its formation, by its own specific activity: its unique activity. Unending self–surrender to the Divine is the specific activity of the psychic entity. Even the body can surrender to the Divine, life can surrender to the Divine, mind also can surrender to the Divine but the emotion, the love and the Ananda which is spontaneous in the psychic being for the surrender to the Divine is something which is unique to the psychic entity. So experiences of this kind which are centred in this field and the effect of these experiences in the formation and perfection of the individuality, and the influence of this on the body, life and mind and perfection of the body, life and mind by this influence is all called psychic. But there are other experiences for which also psychic being prepares us but the domains of which are not centred on the individual, they are centred on the universal and the transcendental.

The experience of the immobile Brahman, Akshara Purusha, experience of the self in all, the experience of the cosmic action of Ishwara, the universal and transcendental peace of the Divine, the action of the transcendent on the earth, the downpour of light, love, knowledge, peace coming down from the Supreme, the experience of the spirit that is spaceless and timeless; this domain is specifically called the domain of spirituality as distinguished from the domain of the psychic. In a simpler way you can say that spiritual is designated by experiences which take you away from space and time i.e. "when you transcend space and time. And when you experience continuity of space and time and your individuality as a continuous immortal, that is psychic.

Q: As immortal?

Immortal is that which is constantly in space and time, all the time, but undying.

One of the marks of the psychic experience is that you realise that you are not only in this body but you have incarnated many bodies in the past and you can incarnate many bodies in the future and you are immortal, that which is the same, that you are the one who cast off the old clothes when they are worn–out and you take new bodies and new clothes. It is an experience of being in space and time –– you are not out of space and time. In space and time when you are immortal individually, all experiences that are connected with this, are psychic. When you experience the Supreme Divine as spaceless and timeless and the One who stands above space and time –– even though you may be in space and time but who stands above space and time ––these experiences are spiritual. Secondly in the psychic experiences, you are limited to the fields of body, life and mind. Dealing with body, life and mind, converting body, life and mind, transforming body, life and mind, using these instruments of body, life and mind is something which is peculiar to the psychic level.

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