The evolving soul
Difficulties in distinguishing the psychic presence
It is true again that it is difficult for man's mind to distinguish entirely the soul or self or any spiritual element in him from the mental and vital formation in which it makes its appearance; but that is only so long as the emergence is not complete. […] at first soul in man does not appear as something quite distinct from mind and from mentalised life; its movements are involved in the mind-movements, its operations seem to be mental and emotional activities; the mental human being is not aware of a soul in him standing back from the mind and life and body, detaching itself, seeing and controlling and moulding their action and formation: but, as the inner evolution proceeds, this is precisely what can, must and does happen, -- it is the long-delayed but inevitable next step in our evolutionary destiny.
—Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, p. 886
But even so this evolution would be slow and long if left solely to the difficult automatic action of the evolutionary Energy; it is only when man awakes to the knowledge of the soul and feels a need to bring it to the front and make it the master of his life and action that a quicker conscious method of evolution intervenes and a psychic transformation becomes possible.
—Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, p. 929
What is the psychic being
It is in each of you the deep inner being which you have to find in order that you may come in contact with the Divine in you. It is the intermediary between the Divine Consciousness and your external consciousness; it is the builder of the inner life, it is that which manifests in the outer nature the order and rule of the Divine Will.
—The Mother, MCW, Vol. 3, p. 62
The difference between the soul and the psychic being
The soul and the psychic being are not exactly the same thing, although their essence is the same.
The soul is the divine spark that dwells at the centre of each being; it is identical with its Divine Origin; it is the divine in man.
The psychic being is formed progressively around this divine centre, the soul, in the course of its innumerable lives in the terrestrial evolution, until the time comes when the psychic being, fully formed and wholly awakened, becomes the conscious sheath of the soul around which it is formed.
And thus identified with the Divine, it becomes His perfect instrument in the world.
—The Mother, MCW, Vol. 16, p. 245-46
The effect of the psychic influence
…when one touches certain parts of the mind which are under the psychic influence and full of light and the joy of that light, or when one touches certain very pure and very high parts of the emotive being which has the most generous, most unselfish emotions, one also has the impression of being in contact with one's soul. But this is not the true soul, it is not the soul in its very essence. These are parts of the being under its influence and manifesting something of it.
—The Mother, MCW, Vol. 7, p. 259
How to find the psychic being
Start living within and from within
The individual being has to ﬁnd himself, his true existence; he can only do this by going inward, by living within and from within…This movement of going inward and living inward is a difficult task to lay upon the normal consciousness of the human being; yet there is no other way of self-ﬁnding.
—Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, p. 1063
The process of psychisation
If you organise everything — your feelings, your thoughts, your impulses, etc. — around the psychic centre which is the inner light, you will see that all inner disorder will change into a luminous order.
—The Mother, MCW, Vol. 4, p. 40
The evolving soul or psychic development
The psychic world or plane of consciousness is that part of the world, the psychic being is that part of the being which is directly under the influence of the Divine Consciousness; the hostile forces cannot have even the remotest action upon it. It is a world of harmony, and everything moves in it from light to light and from progress to progress. It is the seat of the Divine Consciousness, the Divine Self in the individual being. It is a centre of light and truth and knowledge and beauty and harmony which the Divine Self in each of you creates by his presence, little by little; it is influenced, formed and moved by the Divine Consciousness of which it is a part and parcel. It is in each of you the deep inner being which you have to find in order that you may come in contact with the Divine in you.
It is the intermediary between the Divine Consciousness and your external consciousness; it is the builder of the inner life, it is that which manifests in the outer nature the order and rule of the Divine Will.
If you become aware in your outer consciousness of the psychic being within you and unite with it, you can find the pure Eternal Consciousness and live in it; instead of being moved by the Ignorance as the human being constantly is, you grow aware of the presence of an eternal light and knowledge within you, and to it you surrender and are integrally consecrated to it and moved by it in all things.
For your psychic being is that part of you which is already given to the Divine. It is its influence gradually spreading from within towards the most outward and material boundaries of your consciousness that will bring about the transformation of your entire nature. There can be no obscurity here; it is the luminous part in you. Most people are unconscious of this psychic part within them; the effort of Yoga is to make you conscious of it, so that the process of your transformation, instead of a slow labour extending through centuries, can be pressed into one life or even a few years.
The psychic being is that which persists after death, because it is your eternal self; it is this that carries the consciousness forward from life to life.
The psychic being is the real individuality of the true and divine individual within you. For your individuality means your special mode of expression and your psychic being is a special aspect of the one Divine Consciousness that has taken shape in you.
-The Mother, MCW, Vol. 3, pp. 62-3
Once the being has entered into contact with the psychic, why does the psychic again hide itself?
It is not the psychic that hides itself, it is the being which returns to its ordinary consciousness!... It is difficult for it to remain at its highest. One slides down, falls back. Only, the second time the discovery is easier. And each time the road is easier until one no longer falls back.
—The Mother, MCW, Vol. 6, p. 24
Once the psychic has come to the front, can it withdraw again?
Yes. Generally one has a series of experiences of identification, very intense at first, which later gradually diminish, and then one day you find that they have disappeared. Still you must not be disturbed, for it is quite a common phenomenon. But next time —the second time — the contact is more easily obtained. And then comes a moment, which is not very far off, when as soon as one concentrates and aspires, one gets a contact. One may not have the power of keeping it all the time, but can get it at will. Then, from that moment things become very easy. When one feels a difficulty or there is a problem to be solved, when one wants to make progress or there is just a depression to conquer or an obstacle to be overcome or else simply for the joy of identification (for it is an experience that gives a very concrete joy; at the moment of identification one truly feels a very, very great joy), then, at any moment whatever, one may pause, concentrate for a while and aspire, and quite naturally the contact is established and all problems which were to be solved are solved. Simply to concentrate — to sit down and concentrate — to aspire in this way, and the contact is made, so to say, instantaneously.
There comes a time, as I said, when this does not leave you, that is, it is in the depths of the consciousness and supports all that you do, and you never lose the contact. Then many things disappear. For instance, depression is one of these things, discontentment, revolt, fatigue, depression, all these difficulties. And if one makes it a habit to step back, as we say, in one's consciousness and see on the screen of one's psychic consciousness — see all the circumstances, all the events, all the ideas, all the knowledge, everything — at that moment one sees it and has an altogether sure guide for everything that one may do.
—The Mother, MCW, Vol. 6, pp. 33-34