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object: - Ascent and Going out of the Body
book class:Letters On Yoga III
author class:Sri Aurobindo

There are two different things. One is the consciousness actually going out of the body - but that brings a deep sleep or trance.

Ascent to the Higher Planes


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.

There are two different experiences which from your account would seem to have happened together.

(1) An exteriorisation of the consciousness out of the body.

Part of the consciousness, mental, vital or subtle physical or all together rises out of the body, leaving it in a strongly internalised condition, sleep or trance and can move about above on other planes or in the room and outside on the earth plane. In such cases the body can be seen as lying below or in the room, seen clearly as one sees a separate object with the physical eyes. A fear such as you had can come in these exteriorisations and bring the consciousness back with a rush to the body.

(2) An ascension of the consciousness to a position which is no longer in the body but above it. The consciousness can thus ascend and rise higher and higher with the awareness of entering regions above the ordinary mind; usually it does not go very far at first but acquires the capacity to go always higher in repetitions of this experience. At the close of the experience it returns to the body. But also there comes a definitive rise by which the consciousness permanently takes its station above.

It is no longer in the body or limited by it; it feels itself not only above it but extended in space; the body is below its high station and enveloped in its extended consciousness. Sometimes indeed the extension is felt only above on the higher level and the enveloping extension below comes only afterwards as a later experience. But the nature of it is to be definitive, it is not merely an experience but a realisation, a permanent change.

This brings a liberation from identification with the body which becomes only a circumstance in the largeness of the being, an instrumental part of it; or it is felt as something very small or


Letters on Yoga - III
even non-existent, nothing seems to be left but a wide practically infinite consciousness which is oneself - or, if not at once infinite, yet what is now called a boundless finite.

This new consciousness is open to all knowledge from above, but it does not think with the brain as does the ordinary mind - it has other and larger means of awareness than thought. No methodical opening of the centres is necessary - the centres are in fact open, otherwise there could not be this ascent. In this Yoga their opening comes automatically - what we call opening is not that, but an ability of the consciousness itself on the various levels to receive the descent of the Higher
Consciousness above. By the ascent one can indeed bring down knowledge from above. But the larger movement is to receive it from above and let it flow through into the lower mental and other levels. I may add that on all these levels, in mind, heart and below there comes a liberation from the physical limitation, a wideness which no longer allows an identification with the body.

In this experience there is not usually the fear you had, unless it is in the body consciousness, as it were, which is alarmed by the unfamiliarity of the movement and fears to be abandoned or cast off. But this occurs rarely and does not usually repeat itself. It is therefore likely that there was an exteriorisation at the same time. You speak of being able to leave and enter the body at will; but this capacity is needed only for the phenomenon of exteriorisation - in the ascension of consciousness the ascent and coming down become easy and ordinary actions and in the definitive realisation of a higher station above there is really no more coming down except with a part of the consciousness which may descend to work in the body or on the lower levels while the permanently high-stationed being above presides over all that is experienced and done.

It [walking around as if in a dream] is a very usual experience.

It means that for a moment you were no longer in your body, but somehow either above or outside the body consciousness.

Ascent to the Higher Planes


This sometimes happens by the vital being rising up above the head or, more rarely, by its projecting itself into its own sheath
(part of the subtle body) out of the physical attachment. But it also comes by a sudden even if momentary liberation from the identification with the body consciousness, and this liberation may become frequent and prolonged or permanent. The body is felt as something separate or some small circumstance in the consciousness or as something one carries about with one etc. etc.; the exact experience varies. Many sadhaks here have had it.

When one is accustomed, the strangeness of it (dreamland etc.) disappears.

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1, #Letters On Yoga III, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  object: - Ascent and Going out of the Body
  author class:Sri Aurobindo

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