There are numerous ways to widen one’s consciousness to begin to incorporate the viewpoint and direction of others. Some of these methods are easier than others, in that they utilize a mood or feeling that is evoked from a natural environment, such as the starry sky, the ocean, a wide view from a mountaintop, etc. These methods also have the advantage of being safer in various ways as they do not try to directly enter and assimilate the energies or viewpoints of other individuals, who in some cases may be hostile to the thoughts and emotional process of the seeker.

Similarly, when one enters the vital plane through what may be called an out of body, or astral plane experience, caution must be exercised as the protection afforded by the physical body and the individuality is gone, and forces with dramatically different agendas can exercise power on one’s consciousness there. Entering directly into an individual’s consciousness has similarities to this type of event.

That is not to say that there are not times and places where it becomes useful, with due caution, to widen oneself to incorporate the understanding and view of another party. A seeker with a strong aspiration and sense of clear will to progress may be able to withstand the pressures involved in such an action, and some actually seem to be suited for this as part of the larger direction of the manifestation to bring about a higher synthesis and harmony of opposing viewpoints.

The Mother observes: “There is a way also by trying to identify yourself with all things upon earth. 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. This is a little more — how shall I put it?… dangerous. Because to identify oneself with the thought and will of others means to identify oneself with a heap of stupidities (Mother laughs) and bad wills, and this may bring consequences which are not very good. But still, some people do this more easily. For instance, when they are in disagreement with someone, in order to widen their consciousness they try to put themselves in the place of the other and see the thing not from their own point of view but from the point of view of the other. This widens the consciousness, though not as much as by the first ways I spoke about, which are quite innocent. They don’t do you any harm, they do you much good. They make you very peaceful.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Exercises for Growth and Mastery, Widening the Consciousness, pp. 150-155

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 16 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.