The ordinary man lives in his own personal consciousness knowing things through his mind and senses as they are touched by a world which is outside him, outside his consciousness. When the consciousness subtilises, it begins to come into contact with things in a much more direct way, not only with their forms and outer impacts but with what is inside them, but still the range may be small. 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.
Opening is when it [the consciousness] receives the higher forces—widening is when it is no longer limited to the body but widens to meet the cosmic consciousness.
The widening of the consciousness beyond the body means that there is a preparation to pass out of the limitation by the body consciousness and feel oneself either in the cosmic consciousness or in contact with it. If one has this feeling of enlargement or wideness above the head one is in contact with the universal Self; below it is according to the level with the cosmic Mind, the cosmic vital or the cosmic physical consciousness. When one is entirely freed from the body limitation, then one feels the consciousness as infinite with the body only as something very small within it.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Yoga – III : CWSA, Vol. 30, p. 273
Higher her swing of vision swept and knew,
Admitted through large sapphire opening gates
Into the wideness of a light beyond,
These were but sumptuous decorated doors
To worlds nobler, more felicitously fair.
Sri Aurobindo – Savitri: CWSA, Vol. 34, Book Eleven, p. 676
If you feel the barrier in which you lived broken down and an inner ocean of wideness, then a great thing has happened in you. For it is this wideness that comes when the consciousness opens to the Divine. Into this wideness the Divine’s peace, love, light and joy can pour and fix themselves there.
Go on calling the Mother and opening yourself to her. All the rest will come.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Yoga – III : CWSA, Vol. 30, p. 274
One must, if one can, widen one’s consciousness.
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 – Questions and Answers : CWM, Vol. 5, p. 151
Because the least detail of life and action, each movement of thought, even of sensation, of feeling, which is normally of little importance, becomes different the moment you look at it asking yourself, “Did I think this as an offering to the Divine, did I feel this as an offering to the Divine?…” If you recall this every moment of your life, the attitude becomes quite different from what it was before. It becomes very wide; it is a chain of innumerable little things each having its own place, whilst formerly you used to let them go by without being aware of them. That widens the field of consciousness. If you take a half-hour of your life and think of it, putting to yourself this question: “Is it a consecration to the Divine?” you will see that the small things become a big thing and you will have the impression that life becomes rich and luminous.
The Mother – Questions and Answers : CWM, Vol. 4, p. 133
The usual mental means to widen the consciousness is to think of and feel oneself as spreading out into space beyond the body—as a corrective to the thought and feeling of oneself as identified with the body and shut up in it. After a time this leads to a substantial experience of wide consciousness beyond the body. The means to quieten the physical consciousness is to detach oneself from all restless vibrations, not by any struggle or effort but by a simple easy will of quietude. However now that the higher Force is bringing quietude, these mental means may not be necessary—for the peace from above usually brings the wideness of the self—though for some it brings it at once, for others it takes time.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Yoga – III : CWSA, Vol. 30, p. 445
It is an experience of the extension of consciousness. In Yoga experience the consciousness widens in every direction, around, below, above, in each direction stretching to infinity. When the consciousness of the Yogin becomes liberated, it is not in the body, but in this infinite height, depth and wideness that he lives always. Its basis is an infinite void or silence, but in that all can manifest—Peace, Freedom, Power, Light, Knowledge, Ananda. This consciousness is usually called the consciousness of the Self or Atman, for it is a pure existence or self that is the source of all things and contains all things.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Yoga – III : CWSA, Vol. 30, p. 275
In order to achieve self-mastery, should one follow the method of “widening the consciousness”?
Widening the consciousness is necessary for all who want to live a free and intelligent life, even without there being any question of Yoga or aspiration for the Divine Life.
The Mother – Some Answers from the Mother : CWM, Vol. 16, p. 344
For those who want always to progress, there are three major ways of progressing:
(1) To widen the field of one’s consciousness.
(2) To understand ever better and more completely what one knows.
(3) To find the Divine and surrender more and more to his Will.
In other words, this means:
(1) To constantly enrich the possibilities of the instrument.
(2) To ceaselessly perfect the functioning of this instrument.
(3) To make this instrument increasingly receptive and obedient to the Divine.
To learn to understand and do more and more things. To purify oneself of all that prevents one from being totally surrendered to the Divine. To make one’s consciousness more and more receptive to the Divine Influence.
One could say: to widen oneself more and more, to deepen oneself more and more, to surrender oneself more and more completely.
The Mother – Some Answers from the Mother : CWM, Vol. 16, pp. 435-436
….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 – Some Answers from the Mother : CWM, Vol. 16, p. 252
Can it be that in course of the sadhana, one may have certain intellectual or other training by the direct power of yoga? How did your own wide development come?
It came not by “training”, but by the spontaneous opening and widening and perfecting of the consciousness in the sadhana.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Himself and the Ashram : CWSA, Vol. 35, p. 63
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….
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 – Questions and Answers : CWM, Vol. 6, pp. 345-346
It is not an image, it is not just fine words when it is said that if one enters the true consciousness, if one changes one’s consciousness, well, the world itself changes for you. And it is not only an appearance or an impression: one sees differently than one does in the ordinary consciousness; relations are different, causes are different, effects are different. And instead of seeing only something which is not transparent—one cannot see what’s behind, it is a surface, a crust; it is only this one sees and one can’t even see what moves it, what makes it exist—everything is turned inside out, and it is that which appears artificial and unreal, and almost inexistent. And so, when one sees things in this way, normally, you know, without straining oneself, without having to practise meditation and concentration and make strenuous efforts to see things like this, when it is one’s normal, natural vision, then one understands things in a completely different way—naturally, the world is different!
The Mother – Questions and Answers : CWM, Vol. 8, p. 12