== What are Expansion and Widening? ==
Man is there to affirm himself in the universe, that is his first business, but also to evolve and finally to exceed himself: he has to enlarge his partial being into a complete being, his partial consciousness into an integral consciousness; he has to achieve mastery of his environment but also world-union and world-harmony; he has to realise his individuality but also to enlarge it into a cosmic self and a universal and spiritual delight of existence. A transformation, a chastening and correction of all that is obscure, erroneous and ignorant in his mentality, an ultimate arrival at a free and wide harmony and luminousness of knowledge and will and feeling and action and character, is the evident intention of his nature; it is the ideal which the creative Energy has imposed on his intelligence, a need implanted by her in his mental and vital substance. But this can only be accomplished by his growing into a larger being and a larger consciousness: self-enlargement, self-fulfilment, self-evolution from what he partially and temporarily is in his actual and apparent nature to what he completely is in his secret self and spirit and therefore can become even in his manifest existence, is the object of his creation. This hope is the justification of his life upon earth amidst the phenomena of the cosmos. The outer apparent man, an ephemeral being subject to the constraints of his material embodiment and imprisoned in a limited mentality, has to be come the inner real Man, master of himself and his environment and universal in his being. In a more vivid and less metaphysical language, the natural man has to evolve himself into the divine Man; the sons of Death have to know themselves as the children of Immortality. It is on this account that the human birth can be described as the turning-point in the evolution, the critical stage in earth-nature.
Sri Aurobindo. (2005). The progress to knowledge -god,man and nature. In The life divine II.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/22/the-progress-to-knowledge-god-man-and-nature#p2</ref>
We must go farther on, we must advance, climb greater heights and go beyond the arid search for pleasure and personal welfare, not through fear of punishment, even punishment after death, but through the development of a new sense of beauty, a thirst for truth and light, through understanding that it is only by widening yourself, illumining yourself, setting yourself ablaze with the ardour for progress, that you can find both integral peace and enduring happiness.
(The Mother, 18 April 1958)<ref> The Mother. (2002). Punishment. In Questions and answers (1929-1931).http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/punishment#p24</ref>
===Growth of the Mind ===
Our true happiness lies in the true growth of our whole being, in a victory throughout the total range of our existence, in mastery of the inner as well as and more than the outer, the hidden as well as the overt nature; our true completeness comes not by describing wider circles on the plane where we began, but by transcendence. It is for this reason that, after the first necessary foundation in life and matter, we have to heighten our force of consciousness, deepen, widen, subtilise it; we must first liberate our mental selves and enter into a freer, finer and nobler play of our mental existence: for the mental is much more than the physical our true existence, because we are even in our instrumental or expressive nature predominantly mind and not matter, mental much rather than physical beings. That growth into the full mental being is the first transitional movement towards human perfection and freedom; it does not actually perfect, it does not liberate the soul, but it lifts us one step out of the material and vital absorption and prepares the loosening of the hold of the Ignorance.
Sri Aurobindo. (2005). Out of the sevenfold ignorance towards the sevenfold knowledge. In The life divine II.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/22/out-of-the-sevenfold-ignorance-towards-the-sevenfold-knowledge#p4</ref>
===Why is it important? ===
Widen your consciousness to the dimension of the earth and you will have a place for everything.
(The Mother, 20 September 1971)<ref> The Mother. (2003). Aims and principles . In Words of the mother I.http://incarnateword.in/cwm/ 13/ aims- and- principles# p331</ref >
To become capable of receiving and bearing the light of the Truth, the mind must be made strong, wide and supple..
(The Mother, 17 December 1966)<ref> The Mother. (2003). Other subjects. In On education.http://incarnateword.in/cwm/12/other-subjects#p15</ref>
==== Enrichment of Faculties ====
Widen your consciousness and your memory will increase.
(The Mother, 16 September 1953)<ref> The Mother. (1998). 16 September 1953. In Questions and answers 1953.http://incarnateword.in/cwm/05/16-september-1953#p27</ref >
Outside the mental memory, which is something defective, there are states of consciousness. Each state of consciousness in which one happen to be registers the phenomena of that moment, whatever they may be. If your consciousness remain limpid, wide and strong, you can at any moment whatsoever, by concentrating, call into the active consciousness what you did, thought, saw, observed at any time before; all this you can remember by bringing up in yourself the same state of consciousness. And that, that is never for gotten. You could live a thousand years and you would remember it. Consequently, if you don't want to forget, it must be your consciousness which remembers and not your mental memory. Your mental memory will perforce be wiped out, get blurred, and new things will take the place of the old ones. But things of which you are conscious you do not forget. You have only to bring up the same state of consciousness again.
(The Mother, 10 February 1954)<ref> The Mother. (2003). 10 February 1954. In Questions and answers 1954.http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/10-february-1954#p10</ref>
Joy of being, delight of realisation by knowledge, rapture of possession by will and power or creative force, ecstasy of union in love and joy are the highest terms of expanding life because they are the essence of existence itself in its hidden roots as on its yet unseen heights.<ref>
Sri Aurobindo. (2005). The sevenfold chord of being. In The life divine I.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/21/the-sevenfold-chord-of-being#p14</ref >
This growth of the conscious being, an expansion, an increasing self-expression, a more and more harmonised development of his constituent members is the whole meaning and all the pith of human existence. It is for this meaningful development of consciousness by thought, will, emotion, desire, action and experience, leading in the end to a supreme divine self-discovery, that Man, the mental being, has entered into the material body.
Sri Aurobindo. (1999). Self-surrender in works - the way of the gita . In synthesis of yoga I.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/23/ self- surrender- in-works-the- way- of-the- gita# p2</ref >
This action of elevation and expansion is not confined to an utmost possible largeness in the essential play of the new principle itself; it includes a taking up of that which is lower into the higher values: the divine or spiritual life will not only assume into itself the mental, vital, physical life transformed and spiritualised, but it will give them a much wider and fuller play than was open to them so long as they were living on their own level. Our mental, physical, vital existence need not be destroyed by our self-exceeding, nor are they lessened and impaired by being spiritualised; they can and do become much richer, greater, more powerful and more perfect: in their divine change they break into possibilities which in their unspiritualised condition could not be practicable or imaginable.
Sri Aurobindo. (2005). Out of the sevenfold ignorance towards the sevenfold knowledge. In The life divine II.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/22/out-of-the-sevenfold-ignorance-towards-the-sevenfold-knowledge#p1</ref >
It is the pressure of the mind-world which evolves and develops mind here and helps us to find a leverage for our mental self-uplifting and expansion, so that we may hope to enlarge continually our self of intelligence and even to break the prison walls of our matter-bound physical mentality. It is the pressure of the supramental and spiritual worlds which is preparing to develop here the manifest power of the spirit and by it open our being on the physical plane into the freedom and infinity of the super conscient Divine; that contact, that pressure can alone liberate from the apparent Inconscience, which was our starting-point, the all-conscient Godhead concealed in us.
Sri Aurobindo. (2005). The order of the worlds. In The life divine II.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/22/the-order-of-the-worlds#p21</ref>
=== How? ===
==== Identification ====
The easiest way is to identify yourself with something vast. For instance, when you feel that you are shut up in a completely narrow and limited thought, will, consciousness, when you feel as though you were in a shell, then if you begin thinking about something very vast, as for example, the immensity of the waters of an ocean, and if really you can think of this ocean and how it stretches out far, far, far, far, in all directions, like this (Mother stretches out her arms), how, compared with you, it is so far, so far that you cannot see the other shore, you cannot reach its end anywhere, neither behind nor in front nor to the right or left... it is wide, wide, wide, wide... you think of this and then you feel that you are floating on this sea, like that, and that there are no limits... This is very easy. Then you can widen your consciousness a little.
(The Mother, 29 September 1954 )
<ref>The Mother. (2003). 29 September 1954. In Questions and answers (1954). http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/29-september-1954#p35</ref> ==== Do Many Different Things ====
I say there that a great variety of subjects should be studied. I believe that is it. For instance, if you are at school, to study all the subjects possible. If you are reading at home, not to read just one kind of thing, read all sorts of different things.
And as for me, I was scolded all the time because I did many different things! And I was always told I would never be good at anything. I studied, I did painting, I did music, and besides was busy with other things still. And I was told my music wouldn’t be up to much, my painting wouldn’t be worthwhile, and my studies would be quite incomplete. Probably it is quite true, but still I have found that this had its advantages—those very advantages I am speaking about, of widening, making supple one’s mind and understanding.
(The Mother, 10 february 1954)<ref> The Mother. (2003). 10 february 1954. In Questions and answers (1954).http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/10-february-1954#p1</ref >
It is the same thing everywhere. Only those who have developed a little artistic taste, have travelled much and seen many things have widened their consciousness and they are no longer so sectarian.
(The Mother, 21 October 1953)<ref> The Mother. (1998). 21 October 1953. In Questions and answers (1953).http://incarnateword.in/cwm/05/21-october-1953#p61</ref >
… this is being continuously repeated to me: if anything is to be done properly, one must specialize. It is the same thing for sports also. It is the same for every thing in life. It is said and repeated, and there are people who will prove it: to do something well one must specialize. One must do that and concentrate. If one wants to become a good philosopher, one must learn only philosophy, if one wants to be a good chemist, one must learn chemistry only. And if one wants to become a good tennis-player, one must play only tennis. That's not what I think, that is all I can say. My experience is different. I believe there are general faculties and that it is much more important to acquire these than to specialise—unless, naturally, it be like M. and Mme. Curie who wanted to develop a certain science, find something new, then of course they were compelled to concentrate on that science. But still that was only till they had discovered it; once they had found it, nothing stopped them from widening their mind.
(The Mother,10 February 1954)<ref> The Mother. (2003). 10 February 1954. In Questions and answers (1954).http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/10-february-1954#p4</ref >
Naturally, as soon as races, species, nationalities intermix, it produces a mixture of egos. And then the horizon begins to widen. It is as when one tries to widen his mind, to understand many different things, study many languages, the knowledge of many countries and ages, one widens his ego very much, one begins to grow less narrow-minded. Naturally, with yoga one can overcome all this consciously.
(The Mother, 12 January 1955)<ref> The Mother. (2003). 12 January 1955 . In Questions and answers (1955).http://incarnateword.in/cwm/07/ 12- january-1955# p29</ref>
It is like the people who cultivate their intelligence, who learn, read, think, compare, study. These people's minds widen and they are much vaster and more understanding than those who live without mental education, with a few petty ideas which sometimes are even contradictory in their consciousness and govern them totally because these are the only ones they have and they think these are unique ideas which should guide their life; these people are altogether narrow and limited whereas those who are trained and have studied—this at least widens their minds and they can see, compare ideas and see that all possible ideas are there in the world and that it is a pettiness, an absurdity to be attached to a limited number of ideas and consider them the exclusive expression of truth. (The Mother, 23 February 1955)< ref> The Mother. (2003). 23 February 1955. In Questions and answers (1955). http://incarnateword.in/cwm/07/23-february-1955#p6</ ref>
So, never come to me saying, "I am no good at this subject, I shall never understand philosophy" or "I shall never be able to do mathematics" or... It is ignorance, it is sheer ignorance. There is nothing you cannot understand if you give your brain the time to widen and perfect itself. And you can from one mental construction to another: this corresponds to studies; from one subject to another: and each subject of study means a language; from one language to another, and build up one thing after another within you, and contain all that and many more things yet, very harmoniously, if you do this with care and take your time over it. For each one of these branches of knowledge corresponds to an inner formation, and you can multiply these formations indefinitely if you give the necessary time and care.
(The Mother,12 December 1956)<ref> The Mother. (2003). 12 December 1956. In Questions and answers (1956).http://incarnateword.in/cwm/08/12-december-1956#p15</ref>
====Intellectual Ways of Widening ====
There are lots of intellectual ways of widening the consciousness. These I have explained fully in my book. But in any case, when you are bored by something, when something is painful to you or very unpleasant, if you begin to think of the eternity of time and the immensity of space, if you think of all that has gone before and all that will come afterwards, and that this second in eternity is truly just a passing breath, and that it seems so utterly ridiculous to be upset by something which in the eternity of time is... one doesn't even have the time to become aware of it, it has no place, no importance, because, what indeed is a second in eternity? If one can manage to realise that, to... how to put it?... visualise, picture the little person one is, in the little earth where one is, and the tiny second of consciousness which for the moment is hurting you or is unpleasant for you, just this—which in itself is only a second in your existence, and that you yourself have been many things before and will be many more things afterwards, that what affects you now you will have probably completely forgotten in ten years, or if you remember it you will say, "How did I happen to attach any importance to that?"... if you can realise that first and then realise your little person which is a second in eternity, not even a second, you know, imperceptible, a fragment of a second in eternity, that the whole world has unrolled before this and will unroll yet, indefinitely—before, behind—and that... well, then suddenly you see the utter ridiculousness of the importance you attach to what happened to you... Truly you feel... to what an extent it is absurd to attach any importance to one's life, to oneself, and to what happen to you. And in the space of three minutes, if you do this properly, all unpleasantness is swept away. Even a very deep pain can be swept away. Simply a concentration like this, and to place oneself in infinity and eternity. Everything goes away. One comes out of it cleansed. One can get rid of all attachments and even, I say, of the deepest sorrows—of everything, in this way—if one knows how to do it in the right way. It immediately takes you out of your little ego. There we are.
(The Mother, 29 September 1954)<ref> The Mother. (2003). 29 September 1954. In Questions and answers (1954).http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/29-september-1954#p38</ref>
How is it that we lose a chance to widen our knowledge by prevailing in a debate ?''
If you prevail in a debate, it means that your opinion has prevailed over the opinion of another, not necessarily because yours was truer than his, but because you were better at wielding the arguments or because you were a more stubborn debater. And you come out of the discussion convinced that you are right in what you assert; and so you lose a chance to see a view of the question other than your own and to add an aspect of the truth to the one or the ones you already possess. You remain imprisoned in your own thought and refuse to widen it. (The Mother, 17 March 1961)< ref> The Mother. (2003). Aphorism - 56. In On thoughts and aphorisms. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/10/aphorism-56#p11</ ref>
For instance, you are with someone. This person tells you something, you tell him the contrary (as it usually happens, simply through a spirit of contradiction) and you begin arguing. Naturally, you will never come to any point, except a quarrel if you are ill-natured. But instead of doing that, instead of remaining shut up in your own ideas or your own words, if you tell yourself: "Wait a little, I am going to try and see why he said that to me. Yes, why did he tell me that?" And you concentrate: "Why, why, why?" You stand there, just like that, trying. The other person continues speaking, doesn't he?—and is very happy too, for you don't contradict him any longer! He talks profusely and is sure he has convinced you. Then you concentrate more and more on what he is saying, and with the feeling that gradually, through his words, you are entering his mind. When you enter his head, suddenly you enter into his way of thinking, and next, just imagine, you understand why he is speaking to you thus! And then, if you have a fairly swift intelligence and put what you have just come to understand alongside what you had known before, you have the two ways together, and so can find the truth reconciling both. And here you have truly made progress. And this is the best way of widening one's thought.
(The Mother, 12 August 1953)<ref> The Mother. (1998). 12 August 1953. In Questions and answers (1953).http://incarnateword.in/cwm/05/12-august-1953#p11</ref >
For example, when you have a small narrow vision of something and are hurt by others' vision and point of view, you must begin by shifting your consciousness, try to put it in others, and try gradually to identify yourself with all the different ways of thinking of all others.
(The Mother, 29 September 1954)<ref> The Mother. (2003). 29 September 1954. In Questions and answers (1954).http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/29-september-1954#p37</ref >
Easily we feel attracted towards people who bring a reinforcement to our nervous envelope; we are repelled by those who disturb or hurt it. Whatever gives it a sense of expansion and comfort and ease, whatever makes it respond with a feeling of happiness and pleasure exercises on us at once an attraction; when the effect is in the contrary sense, it responds with a protecting repulsion.
(The Mother, 16 June 1929)<ref> The Mother. (2002). 16 June 1929. In Questions and answers(1929-1931).http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/16-june-1929#p12</ref>
You must widen your consciousness and understand that everyone has his own law. It is necessary to find the ground of understanding and harmony in a happy combination of individual wills and not to try that all may be the same in an identical will and action. (The Mother, January 1931)< ref> The Mother. (2003). Narrowness and one-sidedness. In Words of the mother II. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/narrowness-and-one-sidedness#p2</ ref>
==== Relaxation ====
For instance, you are reading something and come across a thought you don't understand—it is beyond you, you understand nothing and so in your head it lies like a brick, and if you try to understand, it becomes more and more like a brick, a stiffening, and if you persist it gives you a headache. There is but one thing to do: not to struggle with the words, remain just like this (gesture, stretched out, immobile), create a relaxation, simply widen, widen. And don't try to understand, above all, don't try to understand—let it enter like that, quite gently, and relax, relax, and in this relaxing your headache goes away. You no longer think of anything, you wait for a few days and after some days you see from inside: "Oh! How clear it is! I understand what I had not understood." It is as easy as that. When you read a book which is beyond you, when you come across sentences which you cannot understand—one feels that there is no correspondence in the head—well, you must do this; one reads the thing once, twice, thrice, then remains calm and makes the mind silent. A fortnight later, one takes up the same passage again and it is clear as daylight.
(The Mother, 31 March 1951)<ref> The Mother. (2002). 31 March 1951. In Questions and answers (1950-1951).http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/31-march-1951#p19</ref>
But if, when you have to face anguish, suffering, revolt, pain or a feeling of helplessness—whatever it may be, all the things that come to you on the path and which precisely are your difficulties—if physically, that is to say, in your body-consciousness, you can have the feeling of widening yourself, one could say of unfolding yourself—you feel as it were all folded up, one fold on another like a piece of cloth which is folded and refolded and folded again—so if you have this feeling that what is holding and strangling you and making you suffer or paralysing your movement, is like a too closely, too tightly folded piece of cloth or like a parcel that is too well-tied, too well-packed, and that slowly, gradually, you undo all the folds and stretch yourself out exactly as one unfolds a piece of cloth or a sheet of paper and spreads it out flat, and you lie flat and make yourself very wide, as wide as possible, spreading yourself out as far as you can, opening yourself and stretching out in an attitude of complete passivity with what I could call "the face to the light": not curling back upon your difficulty, doubling up on it, shutting it in, so to say, into yourself, but, on the contrary, unfurling yourself as much as you can, as perfectly as you can, putting the difficulty before the Light—the Light which comes from above—if you do that in all the domains, and even if mentally you don't succeed in doing it—for it is sometimes difficult—if you can imagine yourself doing this physically, almost materially, well, when you have finished unfolding yourself and stretching yourself out, you will find that more than three-quarters of the difficulty is gone. And then just a little work of receptivity to the Light and the last quarter will disappear.
(The Mother, 29 August 1956)<ref> The Mother. (2003). 29 August 1956. In Questions and answers (1956).http://incarnateword.in/cwm/08/29-august-1956#p33</ref>
Activity which is an Expression of Goodwill====
I am going to set two conditions. To want to progress―that is really a moderate condition. To want to progress, to know that everything is yet to be done, everything is yet to be conquered. The second condition: to do something every day, some activity, some work, anything, something which is not for oneself, and above all something which is an expression of goodwill for all―you are a group, aren't you?―simply to show that you do not live solely for yourselves as if you were at the centre of the universe and the whole universe had to revolve around you. That is how it is for the vast majority of people, and they don't even know it. Each one should become aware that, spontaneously, one puts oneself at the centre of the universe and wants everything to come to oneself, just like that, in one way or another. But one should make an effort to recognise the existence of the whole, that's all. It is to widen one's consciousness, just to become a little less tiny.
(The Mother, 24 March 1970)<ref> The Mother. (2003). Aspiration talks. In Words of the mother II.http://incarnateword.in/cwm/13/aspiration-talks#p53</ref>
= ==Universalising Oneself ===
What we discover within this secret part of ourselves is an inner being, a soul, an inner mind, an inner life, an inner subtle-physical entity which is much larger in its potentialities, more plastic, more powerful, more capable of a manifold knowledge and dynamism than our surface mind, life or body; especially, it is capable of a direct communication with the universal forces, movements, objects of the cosmos, a direct feeling and opening to them, a direct action on them and even a widening of itself beyond the limits of the personal mind, the personal life, the body, so that it feels itself more and more a universal being no longer limited by the existing walls of our too narrow mental, vital, physical existence. This widening can extend itself to a complete entry into the consciousness of cosmic Mind, into unity with the universal Life, even into a oneness with universal Matter.
Sri Aurobindo. (2005). Supermind mind and the overmind maya. In The life divine I.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/21/supermind-mind-and-the-overmind-maya#p5</ref >
The divine embraces are embraces of soul and of consciousness, and they can be reproduced among human beings only by a widening of the consciousness, understanding and feelings—a widening that enables you to understand everything and love everything, without preference or exclusiveness.
(The Mother, 26 November 1960)<ref> The Mother. (2003). 26 november 1960. In Some answers from the mother.http://incarnateword.in/cwm/16/26-november-1960#p3</ref>
Man, the individual, has to become and to live as a universal being; his limited mental consciousness has to widen to the superconscient unity in which each embraces all; his narrow heart has to learn the infinite embrace and replace its lusts and discords by universal love and his restricted vital being to become equal to the whole shock of the universe upon it and capable of universal delight; his very physical being has to know itself as no separate entity but as one with and sustaining in itself the whole flow of the indivisible Force that is all things; his whole nature has to reproduce in the individual the unity, the harmony, the oneness-in-all of the supreme Existence-Consciousness-Bliss.< ref> Sri Aurobindo. (2005). Supermind mind and the overmind maya. In The life divine I. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/21/delight-of-existence-the-solution#p18</ ref>
As the individual has a consciousness of his own, so too there is a universal consciousness, a cosmic Being, a universal Mind, a universal Life, a universal physical conscious Nature. We are unaware of it because we are shut up in our outer physical selves. By the inner awakening and the opening above we become aware of this cosmic consciousness, cosmic Nature and cosmic Self and its movements; our consciousness can widen and become one with it. The forces of universal Nature are always working on us without our knowing how they act or being able to get any general control over their action on us. By becoming conscious of the universal we are able to detect this working and control it.
Sri Aurobindo. (2012). Sachchidananda:existence,consciousness-force and bliss. In Letters on yoga I.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/28/sachchidananda-existence-consciousness-force-and-bliss#p23</ref >
Develop the cosmic consciousness—let the egocentric outlook disappear in wideness, impersonality, the sense of the cosmic Divine, the perception of universal forces, the realisation and understanding of the cosmic manifestation, the play.
Sri Aurobindo. (2014). Conditions of transformation. In Letters on yoga III.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/30/conditions-of-transformation#p10</ref >
One has in his consciousness the feeling of rising above what is obscure and ordinary and unconscious, of raising himself—because usually our head is on top and our head is more conscious than the rest of our body—and the impression that there is above him a greater consciousness. So when one makes an effort to progress, at the same time one makes an effort of ascent. Sometimes one has even symbolically the impression of climbing a mountain and wanting to reach the summit, that is, as close as possible to the free expanses of the light, of what is purer. And if one doesn't take care, quite naturally, spontaneously, one slips back into the ordinary consciousness.
(The Mother, 30 March 1955)<ref> The Mother. (2003). 30 March 1955. In Questions and answers (1955).http://incarnateword.in/cwm/07/30-march-1955#p18</ref>
The lightness, the feeling of the disappearance of the head and that all is open is a sign of the wideness of the mental consciousness which is no longer limited by the brain and its body sense—no longer imprisoned but wide and free. This is felt in the meditation only at first or with closed eyes, but at a later stage it becomes established and one feels always oneself a wide consciousness not limited by any feeling of the body. < ref> Sri Aurobindo. (2014). The universal or cosmic consciousness. In Letters on yoga III. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/30/the-universal-or-cosmic-consciousness#p35</ ref>
= ==Why? ===
====To Get Rid of the Egoistic Ignorance====
At the same time we get rid of the egoistic ignorance; for so long as we are at any point bound by that, the divine life must either be unattainable or imperfect in its self-expression. For the ego is a falsification of our true individuality by a limiting self-identification of it with this life, this mind, this body: it is a separation from other souls which shuts us up in our own individual experience and prevents us from living as the universal individual: it is a separation from God, our highest Self, who is the one Self in all existences and the divine Inhabitant within us. As our consciousness changes into the height and depth and wideness of the spirit, the ego can no longer survive there: it is too small and feeble to subsist in that vastness and dissolves into it; for it exists by its limits and perishes by the loss of its limits.
Sri Aurobindo. (2005). Out of the sevenfold ignorance towards the sevenfold knowledge. In The life divine II.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/22/out-of-the-sevenfold-ignorance-towards-the-sevenfold-knowledge#p16</ref >
Absolved in the cosmic wideness, released from ego, his personality reduced to a point of working of the universal Force, himself calm, liberated, deathless in universality, motionless in the Witness Self even while outspread without limit in unending Space and Time, he can enjoy in the world the freedom of the Timeless.
Sri Aurobindo. (1999). The master of the work. In The synthesis of yoga I.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/23/the-master-of-the-work#p24</ref >
Among human beings, the most widely spread disease is mental narrowness. They understand only what is in their own consciousness and cannot tolerate anything else.
(The Mother, 24 September 1953)<ref> The Mother. (2003). Narrowness and one-sidedness. In Words of the mother II.http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/narrowness-and-one-sidedness#p10</ref>
These desires, these passions have no personality, there is nothing in them or their action that is peculiar to you; they manifest in the same way in everyone. The obscure movements of the mind too, the doubts and errors and difficulties that cloud the personality and diminish its expansion and fulfilment, (The Mother, 4 August 1929)< ref> The Mother. (2002). 4 August 1929. In Questions and answers (1929-1931). http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/4-august-1929#p5</ ref>
So far as we really succeed in living for others, it is done by an inner spiritual force of love and sympathy; but the power and field of effectuality of this force in us are small, the psychic movement that prompts it is incomplete, its action often ignorant because there is contact of mind and heart but our being does not embrace the being of others as ourselves. An external unity with others must always be an outward joining and association of external lives with a minor inner result; the mind and heart attach their movements to this common life and the beings whom we meet there; but the common external life remains the foundation, —the inward constructed unity, or so much of it as can persist in spite of mutual ignorance and discordant egoisms , conflict of minds, conflict of hearts, conflict of vital temperaments, conflict of interests, is a partial and insecure superstructure. The spiritual consciousness , the spiritual life reverses this principle of building; it bases its action in the collective life upon an inner experience and inclusion of others in our own being , an inner sense and reality of oneness. The spiritual individual acts out of that sense of oneness which gives him immediate and direct perception of the demand of self on other self, the need of the life, the good, the work of love and sympathy that can truly be done. A realisation of spiritual unity, a dynamisation of the intimate consciousness of one- being, of one self in all beings, can alone found and govern by its truth the action of the divine life.<ref> Sri Aurobindo. (2005). The divine life. In The life divine II.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/ 22/the- divine-life# p17</ref>
In the spiritual ascent this power of the consciousness and its will over the instruments, the control of spirit and inner mind over the outer mentality and the nervous being and the body, increases immensely; a tranquil and wide equality of the spirit to all shocks and contacts comes in and becomes the habitual poise, and this can pass from the mind to the vital parts and establish there too an immense and enduring largeness of strength and peace; even in the body this state may form itself and meet inwardly the shocks of grief and pain and all kinds of suffering. Even, a power of willed physical insensibility can intervene or a power of mental separation from all shock and injury can be acquired which shows that the ordinary reactions and the debile submission of the bodily self to the normal habits of response of material Nature are not obligatory or unalterable.
Sri Aurobindo. (2005). The gnostic being. In The life divine II.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/22/the-gnostic-being#p25</ref>
It is when there is this death of desire and this calm equal wideness in the consciousness everywhere, that the true vital being within us comes out from the veil and reveals its own calm, intense and potent presence.< ref> Sri Aurobindo. (1999). The ascent of the sacrifice II. In The synthesis of yoga I. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/23/the-ascent-of-the-sacrifice-ii#p25</ ref>
A larger psychic and emotional relation with God and the world, more deep and plastic in its essence, more wide and embracing in its movements, more capable of taking up in its sweep the whole of life, is imperative.
Sri Aurobindo. (1999). The ascent of the sacrifice II. In The synthesis of yoga I.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/23/the-ascent-of-the-sacrifice-i#p18</ref>
Those who are capable of extending the consciousness as wide as the world, become the world; but those who are shut up in their little bodies and limited feelings stop at those limits; their bodies and their petty feelings are to them their whole self. (The Mother, 5 May 1929)< ref> The Mother. (2002). 5 May 1929. In Questions and answers (1929-1931). http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/5-may-1929#p16</ ref>
True repose comes from the widening, the universalisation of the consciousness. Become as vast as the world and you will always be at rest. In the thick of action, in the very midst of the battle, the effort, you will know the repose of infinity and eternity.
The Mother. (2003). 20 March 1957. In Questions and answers (1957-1958).http://incarnateword.in/cwm/09/20-march-1957#p19</ref >
And when you enter into this consciousness where you see all things in a single look, the infinite multitude of relations between the Divine and men, you see how wonderful all that is, in all details. You can look at the history of mankind and see how much the Divine has evolved according to what men have understood, desired, hoped, dreamed and how He was materialist with the materialist and how He grows every day and becomes nearer, more luminous according as human consciousness widens itself. Each one is free to choose. The perfection of this endless variety of relations of man with God throughout the history of the world is an ineffable marvel. And all that together is only one second of the total manifestation of the Divine.
(The Mother, 1970)<ref> The Mother. (2013). Relations with others. In Words of the mother I.http://incarnateword.in/cwm/13/relations-with-others#p94</ref>
==== Peace and Calmness and Silence ====
But in order that it may go on developing, you must become more and more quiet, more and more able to hold whatever comes without getting too eager and excited. Peace and calmness are the first thing, and with it wideness—in the peace you can bear whatever love or Ananda comes, whatever strength comes or whatever knowledge.
Sri Aurobindo. (2012). The true being and the true consciousness. In Letters on yoga I.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/28/the-true-being-and-the-true-consciousness#p15</ref>
It is as though you were in the midst of a big cyclone. It happens at times that the wind is so violent that you are not able to stand—you have to lie down and wait till it blows over. Now, the divine forces are a thousand times stronger than a cyclonic wind. If you do not have in you a very wide receptivity, an extremely solid basis of calmness, of equality of soul and inner peace, they come and carry you away like a gale and you cannot resist them. It is the same thing with light; some people get a pain in the eyes when they look at the sun and are obliged to put on dark glasses because sunlight is too strong for them. But this is merely sunlight. When you are able to look at the supramental light, it appears to you so brilliant that sunlight seems like a black stain in comparison. One must have strong eyes and a solid brain to bear that, one must be well prepared, established in something extremely calm and vast—it is as though one had such a strong basis of tranquillity that when the storm passes, when the light comes with a great intensity, one is able to remain immobile and receive what one can without being knocked over.
(The Mother, 12 February 1951)<ref> The Mother. (2002). 12 february 1951. In Questions and answers (1950-1951).http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/12-february-1951#p5</ref >
It is by full entry into this wideness of the Self that cessation of mental activity becomes possible; one gets the inner Silence. After that this inner Silence can remain even when there is activity of any kind; the being remains silent within, the action goes on in the instruments and one receives all the necessary indications and execution of action whether mental, vital or physical from a higher source without the fundamental peace and calm of the Spirit being troubled.
Sri Aurobindo. (2013). The newness of the integral yoga. In Letters on yoga II.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/the-newness-of-the-integral-yoga#p5</ref>
Wideness and calmness are the foundation of the Yogic consciousness and the best condition for inner growth and experience. If a wide calm can be established in the physical consciousness, occupying and filling the very body and all its cells, that can become the basis for its transformation; in fact, without this wideness and calmness the transformation is hardly possible.
Sri Aurobindo. (2013). Peace - the basis of the sadhana. In Letters on yoga II.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/peace-the-basis-of-the-sadhana#p18</ref >
But once this individualisation, that is, this awareness of the inner truth is complete, it becomes possible, by an inner identification, to re-establish in the multiplicity the original unity; that is the raison d'être of the universe as we perceive it. The universe has been made so that this phenomenon may take place. The Supreme has manifested Himself to Himself so as to become aware of Himself.
(The Mother, 2 March 1951)<ref> The Mother. (2002). 3 March 1951. In Questions and answers (1950-1951).http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/3-march-1951#p29</ref >
It is evident that if we can live thus deeper within and put out steadily the inner forces into the outer instrumentation or raise ourselves to dwell on higher and wider levels and bring their powers to bear on physical existence, not merely receive influences descending from them, which is all we can now do, there could begin a heightening of our force of conscious being so as to create a new principle of consciousness, a new range of activities, new values for all things, a widening of our consciousness and life, a taking up and transformation of the lower grades of our existence,—in brief, the whole evolutionary process by which the Spirit in Nature creates a higher type of being. Each step could mean a pace, however distant from the goal, or a close approach leading to a larger and more divine being, a larger and more divine force and consciousness, knowledge and will, sense of existence and delight in existence; there could be an initial unfolding towards the divine life. All religion, all occult knowledge, all supernormal (as opposed to abnormal) psychological experience, all Yoga, all psychic experience and discipline are sign-posts and directions pointing us upon that road of progress of the occult self-unfolding spirit.
Sri Aurobindo. (2005). The evolutionary process - ascent and integration. In The life divine II.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/22/the-evolutionary-process-ascent-and-integration#p25</ref>
=== How? ===
==== Find Your Psychic and Unite With It ====
Naturally, it is to widen and illumine your consciousness—but how to do it? Your own consciousness... to widen and illumine it. And if you could find, each one of you, your psychic and unite with it, all the problems would be solved.
(The Mother, 8 February 1973)<ref> The Mother. (2003). 8 February 1973. In On education.http://incarnateword.in/cwm/12/8-february-1973#p2</ref >
It all depends upon where the consciousness places itself and centralises itself. If the consciousness places or associates itself within the ego, you are identified with the ego—if in the mind, it is identified with the mind and its activities and so on. If the consciousness puts its stress outside, it is said to live in the external being and becomes oblivious of its inner mind and vital and inmost psychic; if it goes inside, puts its centralising stress there, then it knows itself as the inner being or, still deeper, as the psychic being; if it ascends out of the body to the planes where self is naturally conscious of its wideness and freedom, it knows itself as the self and not the mind, life or body. It is this stress of consciousness that makes all the difference. That is why one has to concentrate the consciousness in heart or mind in order to go within or go above.
Sri Aurobindo. (2012). Sachchidananda: Existence, consciousness, force and bliss. In Letters on yoga I.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/28/sachchidananda-existence-consciousness-force-and-bliss#p24</ref >
The spiritual experience does not even despise dreams and visions; it is known to it that many of these things are not dreams at all but experiences on an inner plane and if the experiences of the inner planes which lead to the opening of the inner self into the outer so as to influence and change it are not accepted, the experiences of the subtle consciousness and the trance consciousness, how is the waking consciousness to expand out of the narrow prison of the body and the body-mind and the senses? For, to the physical mind untouched by the inner awakened consciousness, even the experience of the cosmic consciousness or the Eternal Self might very well seem merely subjective and unconvincing. It would think, "Curious, no doubt, rather interesting, but very subjective, don't you think? Hallucinations, yes?" The first business of the spiritual seeker is to get away from the outward mind's outlook and to look at inward phenomena with an inward mind to which they soon become powerful and stimulating realities. If one does that, then one begins to see that there is here a wide field of truth and knowledge, in which one can move from discovery to discovery to reach the supreme discovery of all. But the outer physical mind, if it has any ideas about the Divine and spirituality at all, has only hasty a priori ideas miles away from the solid ground of inner truth and experience.
Sri Aurobindo. (2014). The value of experiences. In Letters on yoga III.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/30/the-value-of-experiences#p15</ref >
It is a factor in all human natures,—restless, desiring, eager, despondent, unstable. Stand back from it and do not allow it to govern or move you. There is a right part of the vital which must be used—ardent, sensitive to the higher things, capable of great love and devotion. Strengthen that and support it on the psychic and on the peace and wideness that comes from above.
Sri Aurobindo. (2014). Wrong movements of the vital. In Letters on yoga IV.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/31/wrong-movements-of-the-vital#p54</ref>
==== Aspiration ====
But there must be enough aspiration and adhesion in the being to make the expansion of the being, the expansion of consciousness possible. For, to tell the truth, everybody is small, small, small, so small that there is not enough room to put any supramental in! It is so small that it is already quite filled up with all the ordinary little human movements. There must be a great widening to make room for the movements of the Supermind.
(The Mother, 27 June 1956)<ref> The Mother. (2003). 27 June 1956. In Questions and answers 1956.http://incarnateword.in/cwm/08/27-june-1956#p40</ref>
One starts by an intense idea and will to know or reach the Divine and surrenders more and more one's ordinary personal ideas, desires, attachments, urges to action or habits of action so that the Divine may take up everything. Surrender means that, to give up our little mind and its mental ideas and preferences into a divine Light and a greater knowledge, our petty personal troubled blind stumbling will into a great calm tranquil luminous Will and Force, our little restless tormented feelings into a wide intense divine Love and Ananda, our small suffering personality into the one Person of which it is an obscure outcome. If one insists on one's own ideas and reasonings, the greater Light and Knowledge cannot come or else is marred and obstructed in the coming at every step by a lower interference; if one insists on one's own desires and fancies, that great luminous Will and Force cannot act in its own true power—for you ask it to be the servant of your desires; if one refuses to give up one's petty ways of feeling, eternal Love and supreme Ananda cannot descend or is mixed and is spilt from the effervescing crude emotional vessel. No amount of ordinary reasoning can get rid of that necessity of surmounting the lower in order that the higher may be there.
Sri Aurobindo. (2012). Science and yoga. In Letters on yoga I.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/28/science-and-yoga#p9</ref >
True surrender enlarges you; it increases your capacity; it gives you a greater measure in quality and in quantity which you could not have had by yourself. This new greater measure of quality and quantity is different from anything you could attain before: you enter into another world, into a wideness which you could not have entered if you did not surrender. It is as when a drop of water falls into the sea; if it still kept there its separate identity, it would remain a little drop of water and nothing more, a little drop crushed by all the immensity around, because it has not surrendered.
(The Mother, 4 August 1929)<ref> The Mother. (2002). 4 august 1929. In Questions and answers (1929-1931).http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/4-august-1929#p3</ref >
You will notice then that the little black spot comes from the ego which is full of preferences; generally it does what it likes; the things it likes are called good and those it does not are called bad—this clouds your judgment. It is difficult to judge under these conditions. If you truly want to know, you must draw back a step and look, and you will know then that it is this small movement of the ego which is the cause of the uneasiness. You will see that it is a tiny thing curled back upon itself; you will have the impression of being in front of something hard which resists or is black. Then with patience, from the height of your consciousness, you must explain to this thing its mistake, and in the end it will disappear. I do not say that you will succeed all at once the very first day, but if you try sincerely, you will always end with success. And if you persevere, you will see that all of a sudden you are relieved of a mass of meanness and ugliness and obscurity which was preventing you from flowering in the light. It is those things which make you shrivel up, prevent you from widening yourself, opening out in a light where you have the impression of being very comfortable. If you make this effort, you will see finally that you are very far from the point where you had begun, the things you did not feel, did not understand, have become clear. If you are resolved, you are sure to succeed.
(The Mother, 8 February 1951)<ref> The Mother. (2002). 8 February 1951. In Questions and answers (1950-1951).http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/8-february-1951#p18</ref >
<div> Open with sincerity. That means to open integrally and without reservation: not to give one part of you to the divine working and keep back the rest; not to make a partial offering and keep for yourself the other movements of your nature. All must be opened wide; it is insincerity to hold back any part of you or keep it shut to the Divine.
Sri Aurobindo. (2013). Opening. In Letters on yoga II.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/opening#p15</ref> </div>
====Union With the Divine in Works ====
… we can have the union with the Divine in works in its extreme wideness, if not yet on its most luminous heights; for we perceive no longer merely Nature or the modes of Nature, but become conscious, in our physical movements, in our nervous and vital reactions, in our mental workings, of a Force greater than body, mind and life which takes hold of our limited instruments and drives all their motion. There is no longer the sense of ourselves moving, thinking or feeling but of that moving, feeling and thinking in us. This force that we feel is the universal Force of the Divine, which, veiled or unveiled, acting directly or permitting the use of its powers by beings in the cosmos, is the one Energy that alone exists and alone makes universal or individual action possible. For this force is the Divine itself in the body of its power; all is that, power of act, power of thought and knowledge, power of mastery and enjoyment, power of love. Conscious always and in everything, in ourselves and in others, of the Master of Works possessing, inhabiting, enjoying through this Force that is himself, becoming through it all existences and all happenings…
Sri Aurobindo. (1999). The master of the work. In The synthesis of yoga I.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/23/the-master-of-the-work#p17</ref >
There are two different things. One is the consciousness actually going out of the body—but that brings a deep sleep or trance. The other is the consciousness lifting itself out of the body and taking its stand outside it—above and spread round in wideness. That can be a condition of the Yogin in the waking state—he does not feel himself to be in the body but he feels the body to be in his wide free self, he is delivered from limitation in the body consciousness.
Sri Aurobindo. (2014). Ascent to the higher planes. In Letters on yoga III.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/30/ascent-to-the-higher-planes#p27</ref>
<div> This pure wideness is brought into the intensity of the sacrifice of love when into all our activities there is poured the spirit and power of a divine infinite joy and the whole atmosphere of our life is suffused with an engrossing adoration of the One who is the All and the Highest. For then does the sacrifice of love attain its utter perfection when, offered to the divine All, it becomes integral, catholic and boundless, and when, uplifted to the Supreme, it ceases to be the weak, superficial and transient movement men call love and becomes a pure and grand and deep uniting Ananda.<ref>
Sri Aurobindo. (1999). The ascent of the sacrifice - II. In The synthesis of yoga I. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/23/the-ascent-of-the-sacrifice-ii# p1</ref> </div>
div> As with individual, so with universal Love; all that widening of the self through sympathy, goodwill, universal benevolence and beneficence, love of mankind, love of creatures, the attraction of all the myriad forms and presences that surround us, by which mentally and emotionally man escapes from the first limits of his ego, has to be taken up into a unifying divine love for the universal Divine. <ref> Sri Aurobindo. (1999). The ascent of the sacrifice II. In The synthesis of yoga I. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/23/the-ascent-of-the-sacrifice-ii#p7</ref> </ div>
<div> Knowing Him too in all beings, perceiving the glory and beauty and joy of the Beloved everywhere, we transform our souls into a passion of universal delight and a wideness and joy of universal love. <ref>
Sri Aurobindo. (1999). Oneness. In The synthesis of yoga I. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/23/oneness#p10</ref> </div>
But the consciousness can also widen and begin to be first in direct contact with an immense range of things in the world, then to contain them as it were,—as it is said to see the world in oneself,—and to be in a way identified with it. To see all things in the self and the self in all things—to be aware of one being everywhere, aware directly of the different planes, their forces, their beings—that is universalisation.
Sri Aurobindo. (2013). The universal or cosmic consciousness. In Letters on yoga III.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/30/the-universal-or-cosmic-consciousness#p24</ref >
The starting-point is to seek in yourself that which is independent of the body and the circumstances of life, which is not born of the mental formation that you have been given, the language you speak, the habits and customs of the environment in which you live, the country where you are born or the age to which you belong. You must find, in the depths of your being, that which carries in it a sense of universality, limitless expansion, unbroken continuity. Then you decentralise, extend and widen yourself; you begin to live in all things and in all beings; the barriers separating individuals from each other break down. You think in their thoughts, vibrate in their sensations, feel in their feelings, live in the life of all. What seemed inert suddenly becomes full of life, stones quicken, plants feel and will and suffer, animals speak in a language more or less inarticulate, but clear and expressive; everything is animated by a marvellous consciousness without time or limit. And this is only one aspect of the psychic realisation; there are others, many others. All help you to go beyond the barriers of your egoism, the walls of your external personality, the impotence of your reactions and the incapacity of your will.
The Mother. (2003). Psychic education and spiritual education. In On education.http://incarnateword.in/cwm/12/psychic-education-and-spiritual-education#p4 </ref> ... kindness is an indispensable step towards the widening and illumination of the consciousness. (The Mother, 25 May 1934) <ref>The Mother. (2003). Series one. In More answers from the mother. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/17/25-may-1934#p2</ref>
====Connecting with the Vastness in Nature====
One stands upon a mountain ridge and glimpses or mentally feels a wideness, a pervasiveness, a nameless Vast in Nature; then suddenly there comes the touch, a revelation, a flooding, the mental loses itself in the spiritual, one bears the first invasion of the Infinite. Or you stand before a temple of Kali beside a sacred river and see what?—a sculpture, a gracious piece of architecture, but in a moment mysteriously, unexpectedly there is instead a Presence, a Power, a Face that looks into yours, an inner sight in you has regarded the World-Mother. Similar touches can come too through art, music, poetry to their creator or to one who feels the shock of the word, the hidden significance of a form, a message in the sound that carries more perhaps than was consciously meant by the composer.
Sri Aurobindo. (2012). The intellect and yoga. In Letters on yoga I.http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/28/the-intellect-and-yoga#p26</ref >
I knew somebody who wanted to widen his consciousness; he said he had found a way, it was to lie flat on his back at night, out-of-doors, and look at the stars and try to identify himself with them, and go away deep into an immense world, and so lose completely all sense of proportion, of the order of the earth and all its little things, and become vast as the sky—you couldn't say as vast as the universe, for we see only a tiny bit of it, but vast as the sky with all the stars. And so, you know, the little impurities fall off for the time being, and one understands things on a very vast scale. It is a good exercise.
(The Mother, 8 July 1953 ) < ref> The Mother . (1998). 8 July 1953. In Questions and answers (1953). http://incarnateword.in/cwm/ 05/ 8- july-1953# p41</ref>
From the point of view of thought it is elementary, very easy. And even from the point of view of feelings, it is not difficult; for the heart, that is, the emotional being, to widen itself to the dimension of the Supreme is relatively easy. But the body! It is very difficult, very difficult without the body losing—how to put it?—it's centre of coagulation; without it dissolving into the surrounding mass. And even then, if one were in the midst of Nature with mountains, forests and rivers, and great natural beauty, plenty of space, it would be rather pleasant! But one cannot take a single step materially, out of one's body, without coming across things that are painful. It occasionally happens that one comes in contact with a substance that is pleasing, harmonious, warm, that vibrates with a higher light. But this is rare. Yes, flowers, sometimes flowers—sometimes, not always. But this material world, oh!... You get knocked everywhere—scratched, scratched, scraped, knocked by all kinds of things that won't unfold. Oh, how difficult it is! How little human life has blossomed! It is shrivelled up, hardened, without light, without warmth—to say nothing of joy.< ref> The Mother. (2003). Aphorism - 69. In On thoughts and aphorisms. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/10/aphorism-69#p27</ ref>
… but if the pain continues and if it is indeed necessary to increase the receptivity in order to be able to receive what is helpful, what should be received, you must, after having relaxed this contraction, begin trying to widen yourself—you feel you are widening yourself. There are many methods. Some find it very useful to imagine they are floating on water with a plank under their back. Then they widen themselves, widen, until they become the vast liquid mass. Others make an effort to identify themselves with the sky and the stars, so they widen, widen themselves, identifying themselves more and more with the sky. Others again don't need these pictures; they can become conscious of their consciousness, enlarge their consciousness more and more until it becomes unlimited. One can enlarge it till it becomes vast as the earth and even the universe. When one does that one becomes really receptive.
(The Mother, 31 March 1951)<ref> The Mother. (2002). 31 March 1951. In Questions and answers (1950-1951).http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/31-march-1951#p18</ref>