Read more about Expansion and Widening from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.
What is Expansion and Wideness?
Expansion and widening is becoming more and more a universal being who is not limited by the the narrow mental, vital and physical walls of existence. 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. 
Expansion and Widening can be viewed from two angles - a growth into a full mental being by expanding the capacities of the mind and universalisation of consciousness. 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. 
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. 
Why is it Important?
The reasons for developing oneself into a full mental being is for enriching the faculties. 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. 
In the process one experiences a delight of existence which is latent in oneself. 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  We are at a decisive hour in the history of the earth. It is preparing for the coming of the superman and because of this the old way of life is losing its value. We must strike out boldly on the path of the future despite its new demands. The pettinesses once tolerable, are tolerable no longer. We must widen ourselves to receive what is going to come. 
The reasons for universalisation is for developing receptivity, equality and calmness. One can also take a step to be free from ego and ignorance. 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. 
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.  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. 
Widen your consciousness to the dimension of the earth and you will have a place for everything. 
How to Expand or Widen?
For the growth of the mind one can adopt various methods like - identifying oneself with something vast, doing many different things, unfolding oneself etc. 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. 
By studying different subjects, learning different languages and traveling can help to expand and widen. 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. 
When one is hurt or faces something unpleasant, just visualising the tiny person one is in this tiny earth; all unpleasantness is swept away. One realises that our little person which is a second in eternity. Then suddenly you see the utter ridiculousness of the importance attached to what happened to you. And in the space of three minutes, if done 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. It immediately takes you out of your little ego. 
Universalisation of consciousness can be achieved through aspiration, surrender, oneness and love. But there must be enough aspiration and adhesion in the being to make the expansion of the being, the expansion of consciousness possible... one is so small that it is already quite filled up with all the ordinary little human movements.  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. 
Content curated by Archana
Read more about Expansion and Widening from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Sri Aurobindo. (2005). The order of the worlds. In The life divine II. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/22/the-order-of-the-worlds#p21
- 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
- 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
- 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
- The Mother. (2003). 29 September 1954. In Questions and answers (1954). http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/29-september-1954#p35
- The Mother. (2003). 23 February 1955. In Questions and answers (1955). http://incarnateword.in/cwm/07/23-february-1955#p6
- The Mother. (2003). 29 September 1954. In Questions and answers (1954). http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/29-september-1954#p38
- The Mother. (2003). 27 June 1956. In Questions and answers 1956. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/08/27-june-1956#p40
- The Mother. (2002). 4 august 1929. In Questions and answers (1929-1931). http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/4-august-1929#p3