We have the tendency to get caught up in trying to capture a line of thought or to verbalize a perception or idea. When we have an experience of the spiritual realms, the first thing we want to do is to create a thought-form to explain it, to organise it, and to be able to describe it. The very process of doing this kind of mental gymnastics tends to crush out much of the native force of the experience. It loses its impetus the more we try to capture it with thought or word. This is in fact what has dried up the sense of many religious doctrines. They likely started out as some kind of powerful realisation or experience, but the more we try to preach, to teach, to formulate, to describe and to conceptualize, the further away we get from the living, powerful force that operated on the founder of the religion such that he was inspired to try to communicate it.

This is not to deny all action of the mental power, as this is needed to some degree to help disseminate a new understanding or widening of the sense of meaning in life; yet, we cannot substitute the thought or idea for the experience itself. Thus, realized souls emphasize the inward turn of the nature, the quieting of the mind, and the focusing of the aspiration and will on having that direct connection between the Spirit and the individual. Some traditions communicate their force through silent communication, through mantric force which stirs the being at a deeper level, through various asanas or breathing techniques that avoid intellectualism, or through a direct transmission of the force through ‘shaktipat’.

The Mother observes: ”The important thing is to live the experience; that carries with it its own reality and force apart from any theory that may precede or accompany or follow it, for most often theories are no more than explanations that one gives to oneself in order to have, more or less, the illusion of knowledge. Man clothes the ideal or the absolute he seeks to attain with different names according to the environment in which he is born and the education he has received. The experience is essentially the same, if it is sincere; it is only the words and phrases in which it is formulated that differ according to the belief and the mental education of the one who has the experience. All formulation is thus only an approximation that should be progressive and grow in precision as the experience itself becomes more and more precise and co-ordinated. Still, to sketch a general outline of psychic education, we must give some idea, however relative it may be, of what we mean by the psychic being. One could say, for example, that the creation of an individual being is the result of the projection, in time and space, of one of the countless possibilities latent in the supreme origin of all manifestation which, through the medium of the one and universal consciousness, takes concrete form in the law or the truth of an individual and so, by a progressive development, becomes his soul or psychic being.”

“I must emphasise that what is stated briefly here does not claim to be a complete exposition of the reality and does not exhaust the subject — far from it. It is only a very summary explanation for a practical purpose, to serve as a basis for the education which we intend to consider now.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Our Many Selves: Practical Yogic Psychology, Chapter 6, Some Answers and Explanations, pp. 226-227

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com and podcast at https://anchor.fm/santosh-krinsky He is author of 19 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.
More information about Sri Aurobindo can be found at http://www.sri-aurobindo.com
The US editions and links to e-book editions of Sri Aurobindo’s writings can be found at http://www.lotuspress.com