Towards a Conscious Body

Sri Aurobindo, August 1950

Here are a few extracts I like particularly from Sri Aurobindo’s last book, ‘The Supramental Manifestation’, written in 1949, in which he presented the remarkable changes likely to happen regarding the body, after the Consciousness-Force he called ‘Supramental’  (sometimes ‘Supermind’) would be activated directly in terrestrial matter, awakening the evolutive potential at that level itself:

‘In this transformation the body itself can become an agent and a partner. It might indeed be possible for the spirit to achieve a considerable manifestation with only a passive and imperfectly conscious body as its last or bottommost means of material functioning, but this could not be anything perfect or complete. A fully conscious body might even discover  and work out the right material method and process of a material transformation. For this, no doubt, the spirit’s supreme  light and power and creative joy must have manifested on the summit of the individual consciousness and sent down their fiat into the body, but still the body may take in the working out its spontaneous part of self-discovery and achievement. It would be thus  a participator and agent in its own transformation and the integral transformation of the whole being.’

‘Even the body, if it can bear the touch of the Supermind, will become aware of its own truth – for there is a body-consciousness that has its own instinctive truth and power of right condition and action, even a kind of unexpressed occult knowledge in the constitution of its cells and tissues which may one day become conscious and contribute to the transformation of the physical being.’

‘There is (…) an obscure mind of the body, of the very cells, molecules, corpuscles. Haeckel, the German materialist, spoke somewhere of the will in the atom, and recent science, dealing with the incalculable individual variation in the activity of the electrons, comes near to perceiving that this is not a figure but the shadow thrown by a secret reality. This body-mind is a very tangible truth; owing to its obscurity and mechanical clinging to past movements and facile oblivion and rejection of the new, we find in it one of the chief obstacles to permeation by the Supermind Force and the transformation of the functioning of the body. On the other hand, once effectively converted, it will be one of the most precious instruments for the stabilisation of the Supramental Light and Force in material Nature.’

Such wonderfully foreseen  and explained results have greatly helped  me to understand how the present changes in our body-cells’ consciousness could be indeed anticipated, especially when the person writing these texts was  having  not only the vision of that evolutive future, but also already some personal bodily experience of what he was talking about…!

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carol Leigh Rice, M.A.
    May 14, 2011 @ 03:24:35

    Isn’t it fascinating – I am reminded that many cultures, including the Chinese, believe that there are two Spirits/Souls -one of the body and one of the personality…They thus hold 2 funerals, one for the “Ka” of the body and another for the larger soul…

    I am leaning to the idea that there is only one Mind and it constructs the body – down to the tiniest of cell atoms – with itself embedded within each cell as the actual source of Life…

    Yet I know it is not quite that simple! I also feel that cells have their own life and life cycle, so we are still talking about “selves” – and it seems that whether we go micro (cell “selves”) or macro (whole selves in other lives) we are still talking about discrete levels of semi-autonomous selfhood. Wow…talk about each person being a “community” (and I think that is truer than we realize!)

    I think there are many “selves” within each person as Jung uneasily concluded (not popular with mainstream psychiatry!) . He thought this was obvious from the large number of selves roaming free in our dreams which were repressed for the most part during our waking hours. I certainly encountered smaller “fragment personalities who identified themselves to me when I was doing psychic “life readings”, so when I later read all this in Jung’s vast body of work I was stunned, but also relieved!

    But does each of these conscious beings have “their” portion of each cell? Or does each “self” have a whole “copy” of the body to live within? This seems to points us in the direction of many “alternating bodies” just as there are “alternating fragments of psyche” within normal healthy people who have a stronger sense of integration than those we would call “multiple” or schizophrenic…After all, what is a “role” if not a temporary “self” in daily life, depending on how strongly we identify with it?

    Then of course, in Shamanic wisdom, we learn that we actually have missing pieces of consciousness (probably selves) that have fled the body and may reside near it, but not actually in it, due to various forms of trauma. And when they flee, they seem to take a portion of the cells’ life with them (else how could they survive here on earth?), and that is why we need shamanic healing (what they call “soul retrieval) to restore not just psychological health but also physical health….So it does all fit together more and more, I think.

    All this begins to explain why (certain) cells “forget”what they learned – they weren’t the ones that registered the information, perhaps? And why disease can come and go in a body, often depending on a change in life circumstances (or rearranging of the “inner selves?!)…

    Of course, I am sure the cells do have their fears – that is where the samskaras are, so there would be all that stored memory from other lives as well as this life from this and other lives…One thing you could do is tell the dear cells (regarding fears of death) that just as they “made the journey” with you into this body, they can make it safely with you into the next one?

    I do understand we are coming at this from different perspectives, that you are deeply based within the love of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, whereas I cannot relate to that…I would not (at least in this life) feel comfortable with a devotion to another human being nor imagine that joining them at death would be the goal of my body’s cells or soul…

    I say this not to bring a disagreement into the picture (my apologies!), but to explain why my way of exploring or resolving these questions only partially references what for you is a profoundly deep and wonderful spiritual frame of reference.

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    • Bhaga
      May 14, 2011 @ 09:27:18

      Here is down below, dear Carol, the best way I could think of this time to answer separately each of your comments.

      Comment by Carol, plus answers by Bhaga, starting with BHAGA:

      – Isn’t it fascinating – I am reminded that many cultures, including the Chinese, believe that there are two Spirits/Souls -one of the body and one of the personality…They thus hold 2 funerals, one for the “Ka” of the body and another for the larger soul…
      BHAGA: I don’t know so much as you do about other cultures, so here I am learning from you…

      – I am leaning to the idea that there is only one Mind and it constructs the body – down to the tiniest of cell atoms – with itself embedded within each cell as the actual source of Life…
      BHAGA: In the overall process of evolution, it is the Life Energy ‘Sleeping Beauty’ (my image!) which awakens first within Matter and builds adequate bodies for its own expression (unicellular organisms, and then multicellular ones of all kinds, vegetal and animal), with always some Mind Energy already at work too, giving some degree of mental capacity as well to each life-form. But then the main focus of expression shifts from the Life-Energy to the second ‘Sleeping Beauty’, so to say, the one of the Mind Energy, that fully awakens next and builds for its own expression the most adequate form: the human body. And now it is the Supramental Sleeping Beauty that is awake and busy evolving the best possible body for its own expression, by improving on the present human body and perhaps later transforming it altogether, we’ll see! And the great thing is that as human beings we are able to understand what is starting to happen, and we are invited to participate if we are interested…

      – Yet I know it is not quite that simple! I also feel that cells have their own life and life cycle, so we are still talking about “selves” – and it seems that whether we go micro (cell “selves”) or macro (whole selves in other lives) we are still talking about discrete levels of semi-autonomous selfhood. Wow…talk about each person being a “community” (and I think that is truer than we realize!)
      BHAGA: Absolutely correct !… We better get used to the fact and start seeing it as the very normal way of being that it actually is, instead of always as the diseased expression of it that is the only thing our science knows yet, the disorder it calls ‘Multiple Personality’.

      – I think there are many “selves” within each person as Jung uneasily concluded (not popular with mainstream psychiatry!) . He thought this was obvious from the large number of selves roaming free in our dreams which were repressed for the most part during our waking hours. I certainly encountered smaller “fragment personalities who identified themselves to me when I was doing psychic “life readings”, so when I later read all this in Jung’s vast body of work I was stunned, but also relieved!
      BHAGA: How uncomfortable it is to meet facts like that, that one doesn’t know how to interprete, and that main stream science sees only in a negative light!… But if one keeps stubbornly on the side of the plain facts without worrying about the present official interpretation, often a vaster and truer understanding dawns later, where the previous interpretation may still have some place, but a much smaller and relativised one.

      – But does each of these conscious beings have “their” portion of each cell? Or does each “self” have a whole “copy” of the body to live within? This seems to points us in the direction of many “alternating bodies” just as there are “alternating fragments of psyche” within normal healthy people who have a stronger sense of integration than those we would call “multiple” or schizophrenic…After all, what is a “role” if not a temporary “self” in daily life, depending on how strongly we identify with it?
      BHAGA: It remained stuck in my memory as a very important fact to remember, when I read somewhere years ago that precisely in cases of Multiple Personality Disorder, the physical symptoms disappear and become something else instantly with each different personality taking the front stage at one moment or the other: if personality A has asthma, for example, when personality B comes on top the asthma just vanishes and the body instantly takes on whatever healthy or ailing precise condition that personality B has. It seems to me its makes only perfect sense, as even without MPD our body manifests dutifully all our moods all the time, or our own current beliefs about the physical condition we are in or are expecting to be in at a certain time of the day, or of the year, or a certain season, etc, etc. For me it’s just the same dutiful response as the normal one from the body-consciousness to the individual consciousness that inhabits it for this lifetime – only in the case of MPD there are several individual consciousnesses using the same body, so the body has to adapt even more drastically!…

      – Then of course, in Shamanic wisdom, we learn that we actually have missing pieces of consciousness (probably selves) that have fled the body and may reside near it, but not actually in it, due to various forms of trauma. And when they flee, they seem to take a portion of the cells’ life with them (else how could they survive here on earth?), and that is why we need shamanic healing (what they call “soul retrieval) to restore not just psychological health but also physical health….So it does all fit together more and more, I think.
      BHAGA: I do tend to agree with you on this point…

      – All this begins to explain why (certain) cells “forget”what they learned – they weren’t the ones that registered the information, perhaps?
      BHAGA: Remember also that cells are the most material part of our being, they constitute our physical being, and until now Matter has been the most inert and the slowest to respond or change its habits, as compared to our mind or our emotions.
      – And why disease can come and go in a body, often depending on a change in life circumstances (or rearranging of the “inner selves?!
      BHAGA: Or re-balancing of our own normal inner tendancies? A change in the general orientation of our life, a choice, a decision in our being?)…

      – Of course, I am sure the cells do have their fears – that is where the samskaras are, so there would be all that stored memory from other lives as well as this life from this and other lives…One thing you could do is tell the dear cells (regarding fears of death) that just as they “made the journey” with you into this body, they can make it safely with you into the next one?
      BHAGA: One can indeed tell them that… But… it is not really the point for the cells; they know what they want, and why; and it is their absolute right to make a choice, just as for you or me.

      – I do understand we are coming at this from different perspectives, that you are deeply based within the love of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, whereas I cannot relate to that…I would not (at least in this life) feel comfortable with a devotion to another human being nor imagine that joining them at death would be the goal of my body’s cells or soul…
      BHAGA: A clarification is obviously needed here: ‘joining’, in this case, doesn’t mean at all merging with Sri Aurobindo; and the wish to be with him after death is the wish felt and expressed by my cells themselves, not by me; and certainly not by my imagination, as you seem to believe. If all this conversation with my cells was simply the fruit of my imaginings, it would really not be worthy of being put out on a blog called ‘Laboratory of Evolution’, where a scientific attitude must be part of the inner observations and internal communications within the being. That such conversations with one’s cells might be at all possible is obviously very new to you, and your mind has a hard time accepting that fact, and cannot believe it, but that doesn’t make it less of a fact – and a quite important one, as it indicates the very same possibility for anybody else, including you yourself of course…! In all that I write here, the perspective I come from is only the one given me by my own experience of what I am talking about. No devotion from my part to anybody needs to come into the picture, dear Carol; but why should I deny or hide or not mention here some of the most important spiritual experiences I live (with my cells in this instance), just because they happen to confirm what has been first experienced, and explained, by people who were Sri Aurobindo and the Mother?

      – I say this not to bring a disagreement into the picture (my apologies!), but to explain why my way of exploring or resolving these questions only partially references what for you is a profoundly deep and wonderful spiritual frame of reference.
      BHAGA: This is simply an assumption on your part, dear Carol. Actually my ‘spiritual frame of reference’ includes not only Sri Aurobindo and Mother, but anybody and anything else that I feel helps me grow back into an ever fuller consciousness and manifestation of my divine Self. I think this blog itself, and the many very different human beings it refers to quite visibly even just in the Categories, testifies to the vastness and openness of that frame of reference – I think it is pretty unlimited actually…! And yet, I see clearly the differences of level of inner attainment in all the people I learn from, and I keep my sense of discrimination alert as to what seems to me to make sense, or not, in all cases…
      Interestingly enough, I wrote something to a friend recently, which I think will shed some light on how I see it all, so I’m going to add it here right away!…🙂
      It’s about a book he gave me to read and wanted my feedback on:

      “There were a few short passages here and there that I did like in that ‘Zen’ book; but I liked those passages because what they spoke about was not specifically ‘Zen’ at all, in fact; what they spoke about was part simply of what is to be experienced in any authentic, real spirituality, regardless of the name and outer forms it is given.
      Please do not imagine that I agree automatically with whatever Sri Aurobindo and the Mother may have at some point written, or that I agree only with what they have written. I agree with whatever they say, or anybody else says, that makes my consciousness expand, or my heart and my body-cells sing.
      True Spirituality for me is whatever brings out in my being Peace and quiet Happiness, Love for others but also for my own self, and the sense of Fun and Adventure in this evolving terrestrial life.
      The rest of the book is mostly treatises on Comparative Religions, which to me are just empty words, perfectly useless and so, terribly boring, so I absolutely abstain from forcing myself to read them and waste precious time of terrestrial existence doing so.
      I am an essentially practical person, this is why in my life I put spirituality first. But it has to be the most efficient kind of spirituality:
      It is because Ramana Maharshi’s spirituality, for example (or also Zen etc) is incapable of changing things down here, that I know it is not the complete Truth; and I rather choose Sri Aurobindo and Mother’s Supramental Truth, because That one is not only capable of changing our world and the whole planet, but has actually been already changing them relentlessly since 1956, while opening at the same time for all willing human beings the way towards the promised and inevitable Life Divine right here on Earth.
      So those few ‘bits of real food’ in this book I like, and know for real as I experience them joyfully myself most of the time since years already, and I know and enjoy also other aspects of true spirituality, including that of my cells, which now has become an indispensable part of a full, embodied spiritual life; but I know that there is still so much more to be experienced, for our Becoming is infinite: we all are the Divine in hiding, playing together incognito here, so as to awaken more and more back to what we eternally are – which is wonderfully infinite…”

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  2. Carol Leigh Rice, M.A.
    May 15, 2011 @ 03:52:05

    It is such a surprise to find you saying that I don’t believe you had – or could have – a conversation with your cells, or your second suggestion – that I believe you only imagined such a conversation. I have no idea how to respond to that, since they are so far from what I thought and wrote. I thought it was quite clear that I was suggesting you respond to the fears of your cells, to comfort them, to help them not to be afraid of death, (as you had reported they had shared with you), and I had suggested that they be reminded (in conversation, obvioiusly?) of their own immortality as they have proven it already by migrating with you into this body from the last one.

    I mentioned the samskaras as one of the sources of fears expressed by the cells but that was not meant to deny their conscious expression of those fears to you…

    Also, I meant only that I do not share your faith in the teachings of Mother or Sri Aurobindo….So although I do share your beliefs about cellular consciousness and selfhood in many ways, I don’t link those beliefs to Mother’s or Sri Aurobindo’s convictions that we are entering a new phase of human evolution.

    Of course I do understand that you absorb wisdom from Mother and Sri Aurobindo and from many other places and wise ones too!

    I do apologize for having given the wrong impression in several areas. I think in trying to talk about too many complicated things I have failed to express myself clearly. So I will follow the advice of our old friend Voltaire who so wisely reminds us “Il faut cultiver notre jardin…”

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    • Bhaga
      May 15, 2011 @ 06:28:12

      Ah, dear Carol, I’m so glad that now I start making sense of your previous comment!… Thank you so much for clarifying all the points that had left me totally confused, and had led me to write, I see it now, quite unnecessary comments to you… Please excuse me for that misunderstanding on my part, I am really sorry about it.

      But… you will laugh!… Would you mind now spelling out also a little more for me what you had in mind when ending your above comment with ‘Il faut cultiver notre jardin’?… I must say I am perplexed again, so please be kind enough to explain what you meant in the context of that conversation we are having.
      Now that I have discovered this great possibility of adding a list of ‘Recent Comments’ as well as of ‘Recent Posts’ on my sidebar, I’ll see immediately when your answer will come, I suppose! It’s hard work, but at the same time real fun for me to gradually get to using all those added possibilities I was not at first even aware of.

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  3. Carol Leigh Rice, M.A.
    May 16, 2011 @ 03:44:08

    Yes the Recent Comments is another fun Widget. Sometimes I display it, and sometimes not, as my blog homepage is so long, I try to shorten it and prune it…

    Speaking of “Pruning” – and Voltaire, and cultivating one’s own garden. I was reminding myself that rather than engage in clanging theoretical exchanges where words often get in the way, it would be better “to simply cultivate one’s own garden”. I mean by that to spend a little more time in meditation and reflection and considerably less time in trying to orate like a Roman senator on my own theories!

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  4. Bhaga
    May 16, 2011 @ 03:57:24

    Oh, I see!… Thank you for your explanation, not only enlightening, but plain funny as well 😀
    Nice to have a good laugh just before going once again to Pondy, this time hopefully for the last time: getting the visa extension actually made visible on my passport…
    Back into the ‘Cheerful Determination’ mode…!

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