This article is related to the previous article “Four Powers of Intuition“
The source of all Knowledge is the Superconscient; it is the reservoir of all creativity – the source of all inventions, paintings, musical compositions. In contrast, the source of all Ignorance is our limited consciousness which is only aware of its identity as the physical body in the physical world. Every problem we face is the result of a deformation of some underlying Truth and the Intuition required to solve a problem can be found by bridging this gap between Ignorance and Knowledge, by ascending and widening our consciousness so we can become aware of our larger Self. When we ascend into this wider consciousness, we also find ourselves crowned with the power of Intuition.
According to Sri Aurobindo & The Mother, there are two sources of intuition – one in the heart and one above the head. These sources of intuition correspond to the two centers of the Divine in us – the soul or psychic being within the heart, and the Central Being above the head. From time to time, we receive intimations from these two sources, but these intimations are clouded by the impurities that we have gathered since birth. Our surface personality is a whirlpool of activity and our thoughts, impulses, desires, habits obstruct the stream of Divine perception which is natural to the pure Self. The central aim of Integral Yoga is to remove these obstructions by a process of purification thereby allowing a ascent of consciousness from our surface personality into the subtle body or inner being. This is a gradual process fraught with stumblings and mishaps which need to be corrected by a painstaking effort towards purification as well as a central vigilance which delineates truth from impurities.
In the Synthesis of Yoga, Sri Aurobindo outlines four methods to cultivate the development of the Intuitive Mind.
Method 1: Silence the mind – make it a “Mirror of the Universe”
“At first it might seem the straight and right way to silence the mind altogether, to silence the intellect, the mental and personal will, the desire mind and the mind of emotion and sensation, and to allow in that perfect silence the Self, the Spirit, the Divine to disclose himself and leave him to illuminate the being by the supramental light and power and Ananda”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga – II: The Intuitive Mind
Thoughts are not the essence of the mental being but only an activity. When the thinking activity ceases, one feels a void and then one comes to realize that thoughts are not created within us but that they come to us as mind-waves from a vast infinite mental space (Chidakasa). This awakening to the inner mental-space turns our mind into what is referred to as a mirror of the Universe where it reflects the flow of thought-waves as they impinge on our mental consciousness. By staying in this state for longer intervals, one gradually heightens the consciousness and is able to develop the mind’s intuitive powers. For more on this subject, see the post All thoughts come from outside
A word of caution may be in order here. The preliminary effect of meditation is that it brings a feeling of levity which quickens the mind. Under the circumstances, one may easily fall into the trap of assuming that the swift reasoning of our quick-thinking intellect is actually our new-found intuition but that is not true. Some feedback is required to distinguish real intuition from random thoughts in circulation. One must train oneself to inwardly concentrate the consciousness at the point above the head and wait patiently for guidance.
Method 2 : Descent of Light from Above
Aren’t you aware of this thing up above, this white plate at the crown of the head? It’s what receives intuitions. It’s just like a photographic plate, and it’s not even active – things pass right through it without our even realizing it. And then if you concentrate just a little, everything stops, everything stops.
The Mother, Mother’s Agenda: October 11, 1960
This may be said to be a advancement over Method 1 described above. The continued ascent and descent process of Integral Yoga leads to the opening of the Brahmarandhra (door of Brahman) situated at the top-center of the skull, and brings about a descent of light and rising heat (Yoga-Agni = fire of Yoga or spiritual fire) in the brain. This illumination kindles the awakening in the subtle centers within the brain which are the source of latent faculties within Man. One then perceives the first signs of intuition whereby a ray of light turns into a faint wave caressing the skull and then a new idea is born in the brain. What begins as a spasmodic contact later integrates fully into our mental functioning. The mind discovers that observing a moment’s silence seems to automatically bring forth the solution.
Method 3 : Listening to the voice within the heart
In the words of the Mother:
“Behind the emotions, deep within the being, in a consciousness seated somewhere near the level of the heart, there is a sort of prescience, a kind of capacity for foresight, but not in the form of ideas: rather in the form of feelings, almost a perception of sensations. For instance, when one is going to decide to do something, there is sometimes a kind of uneasiness or inner refusal, and usually, if one listens to this deeper indication, one realises that it was justified.”
The Mother, Questions and Answers (1957 – 1958): 23 July 1958
When the being, and especially the heart itself, has been bathed in silence day after day, month after month, there begins to emerge the faintest pulse of intuition from within the heart which says “do this…not that”. This is the voice of our soul or psychic being – a voice which has been long supressed by our surface ego. Initially, one must listen to this voice with caution because as long as the heart’s desires have not been completely tranquilized, the voice may get appropriated by our ruling desires and impulses and end up misleading us. It is only after complete psychic transformation that what began as the faint voice develops into a pure voice of Intuition.
Method 4: Developing the intellect
Sri Aurobindo says:
“A fourth method is one which suggests itself naturally to the developed intelligence and suits the thinking man. This is to develop our intellect instead of eliminating it, but with the will not to cherish its limitations, but to heighten its capacity, light, intensity, degree and force of activity until it borders on the thing that transcends it and can easily be taken up and transformed into that higher conscious action…”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga – II: The Intuitive Mind
This method is semi-consciously practiced by those with well-developed intellect, who are already accustomed to engaging in heightened thought formations. They seem to discover solutions during dreams or periods of relaxation. During dreams, solutions appear spontaneously because the subliminal consciousness, free from the control of the regimented day-time mind, is able to vibrate at a higher intensity and automatically tap into the Superconscient. Similarly, during periods of relaxation, the mind, devoid of thought, semi-consciously tunes into a higher level of consciousness and suddenly finds the right idea for the problem at hand. Interestingly, the term “Incubation effect” has been coined to denote this phenomenon.
This method can be observed in the lives of various scientists:
- The Irish mathematician, William Hamilton, discovered quaternions during a period of relaxation after having exerted himself to no avail : “He was troubled by a certain problem for a few days. The solution came to him while taking a walk on a bridge. He carved the formula on that bridge to make sure he would not forget it.” 
- The Hungarian inventor, Nikola Tesla, in his biography My Inventions describes the visions which would play before his eyes in early childhood. These are indications of a highly-developed intuitive mind: “The incessant mental exertion developed my powers of observation and enabled me to discover a truth of great importance. I had noted that the appearance of images was always preceded by the actual visions of scenes and I was impelled on each occasion to locate the original impulse. Soon I became aware, to my surprise, that every thought I conceived was suggested by an external impression… “These luminous phenomena still manifest themselves from time to time as when a new idea opening up possibilities strikes me but they are no longer exciting being of smaller intensity. 
- The Indian mathematician, Srinivasa Ramanujan, often saw equations in his dreams and ascribed them to the family Goddess. 
- The German mathematician, Carl Gauss, discovered the construction of the 17-gon in his dream just before waking up. He wrote in a letter “I succeeded in the morning of this day, before I got up, to see the connection…”  He remarked that fruitful ideas seemed to appear in the morning just before he woke up. 
- The geologist Louis Aggassiz discovered the missing features of fossil fish in his dream : “Accordingly, towards morning the fish reappeared in his dream, confusedly at first, but at last with such distinctness that he had no longer any doubt as to its zoological characters. Still half dreaming, in perfect darkness, he traced these characters on the sheet of paper at his bedside.” 
- Friedrich Kekule worked out the structure of Benzene in his dream. 
- Otto Loewi in his dream found a way to prove his hypothesis that neural impulses were transmitted chemically. 
Shortlink to this post
- N. Tesla, My Inventions, pp 12-14
- Kanigel, Robert. The Man Who knew Infinity.
- Scharlau, Winfried and Hans Opolka. From Fermat to Minkowski, p 64
- Donnerer, Joseph and Fred Lembeck. The Chemical Languages of the Nervous System, p 79
Well researched article and very clearly written elucidating each of the 4 methods. Very helpful. Thanks.
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In the context of the fourth method, see the post “Delivered in a Daydream: 7 Great Achievements That Arose from a Wandering Mind” on the Scientific American website
Read the rest @ http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=achievements-of-wandering-minds
Also see the article in the March 2001 issue of Scientific American Mind titled “Living in a Dream World: The Role of Daydreaming in Problem-Solving and Creativity”
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A few more examples of problem-solving in dreams taken from the article “The “Committee of Sleep : A Study of Dream Incubation for Problem Solving” by psychologist Dierdre Barrett in the journal Dreaming, Vol. 3, No. 2, 1993.
The article is online at http://www.asdreams.org/journal/articles/barrett3-2.htm
Another article related to this topic:
Answers in Your Dreams by Deirdre Barrett in the Scientific American Mind November 2011 issue.
Read the full article at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=answers-in-your-dreams
Apropos the following text in the previous comment
One night Newman dreamed that he was reflecting on the problem when Nash appeared. The sleeping Newman related the details of the conundrum to Nash and asked if he knew the solution.
This anecdote by mathematician Donald Newman was originally recounted during a PBS program. Here is the text from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/nash/filmmore/pt.html
The Mother’s explanation of dreams like these where Newman met with Nash.
Child: Sweet Mother, When we sleep, our consciousness goes out, doesn’t it? But other people have dreams in which I appear. So what happens? Does the consciousness divide itself or are other people’s dreams only their own imagination?
Mother Mirra Alfassa : Most often, it is the vital consciousness that goes out of the body and has the form, the appearance of the person’s body. If one person dreams of another, it means that both have met at night, most often in the vital region, but it can also happen elsewhere, in the subtle physical or the mental. There are any number of different possibilities in dreams.
The Mother, Some Answers from the Mother: 1 August 1969
What’s is really interesting is the fact that Newman acknowledges Nash as the source of the solution. Very surprising!
Rumi on Intuition:
The ear is a go-between, the eye a lover in unison with
the beloved; the eye has the actual bliss, while the
ear has only the words that promise it.
In hearing there is a transformation of qualities; in
seeing, a transformation of essence.(3)
If your knowledge of fire has been ascertained from
words alone, seek to be cooked by fire!
There is no intuitive certainty until you burn: if you
desire that certainty, sit down in the fire!
When the ear is subtle, it becomes an eye; otherwise, the
words are enmeshed and cannot reach the heart (4)
Original verse from Masnavi II. 858.
This translation is from Peter Washington’s book “Rumi Poems” (Alfred Knopf, 2006) p 142.
Explanation of footnotes seen above:
Footnote (3): In the next verse, Rumi is contrasting the certainty derived from ‘hearing’ (‘ilmu l-yaqin) with the ‘certainty gained by seeing (‘aynu ‘l-yaqin) and realized in actual experience (haqqu ‘l-yaqin)
Footnote (4): The rudiments of spiritual knowledge are received through the ear, and when these ideas penetrate the heart and are apprehended by the oculus cordis(eye of the heart), hearing becomes vision
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In another article you suggest that all mental constructions must be destroyed and replaced by intution. I believe you are right I several times vaguely felt this ‘truth’. Yet when t he mystical moment is over I fall back into the habit of building construction (which I contribute to the ego, probabilly because at some point I resist to fully surender to the Devine without giving up my last final cherished desires which are coincidently the only relevant desires I had when entering spirituality and even more frustratingly the very reasons I entered spirituality).
Yet here in this article in method four it is implied that by furthering the intelligence (which seems to imply the continuance of reasoning and thus building constructions) you are capable of attaining intuition. What I want is to make my abstract notions of my mental construction concrete (as happens when I am in the mystical moment) continuously. It seems during the spiritual moment I amass enourmous vital energy by powering up, unleash it violenty to keep all the demons outside and enter a state of perfect tranquil love in which I can feel these ideas and transcend really high untill I somehow spontaniously start to act like a God or archetype (Indra, Varuna etc assume that is the overmind? the plane of the Gods???), like creating some sort of protective shield around me and the demons are swarming around it. Yet when I have the wrong thought, I’m off my guard, I feel almost as if they slip in quickly like water falling into a bucket or something. When that happens, only the memory of the conretness of an abstract idea remains which keeps me inspired but soon (the next day) that has faded as well.
Is it perhaps possible (as I seem to conclude, perhaps wrongly, from method four) to somehow mentally construct yourselve into the realm of intution? I start to see that my mental constructions become more and more mature, truth encompassing and I even discover things from the visual mappings of my constructions, which seem to assume that progress is being made.
At the outset, let me affirm that its best to consult the original sources (Sri Aurobindo and the Mother) in case you get confused with anything I have written on this blog !
Mike: Yet when I have the wrong thought, I’m off my guard, I feel almost as if they slip in quickly like water falling into a bucket or something. When that happens, only the memory of the conretness of an abstract idea remains which keeps me inspired but soon (the next day) that has faded as well.
This is why it is important to practice austerities. You may get a glimpse of the “heavens” above but you cannot sustain that state of consciousness until you conserve your energy by giving up certain social luxuries like movies, comfort food, unnecessary travel, chatting with friends, etc.
Mike: Is it perhaps possible (as I seem to conclude, perhaps wrongly, from method four) to somehow mentally construct yourselve into the realm of intution? I start to see that my mental constructions become more and more mature, truth encompassing and I even discover things from the visual mappings of my constructions, which seem to assume that progress is being made.
That’s a good question. No, you cannot have mental constructions in the realm of intuition. Rather, what happens is that the effort you made in widening the mind automatically opens a channel for the Power above your head to descend and dissolve the mental constructions.
Sri Aurobindo has explained how this transformation works in the Synthesis of Yoga. In the chapter XX on Intuitive Mind, he wrote:
The subsequent transformation of the intellect is possible because all the action of the intellect derives secretly from the supermind, each thought and will contains some truth of it however limited and altered by the inferior action of the intelligence. The transformation can be brought about by the removal of the limitation and the elimination of the distorting or perverting element. This however cannot be done by the heightening and greatening of the intellectual activity alone; for that must always be limited by the original inherent defects of the mental intelligence. An intervention of the supramental energy is needed that can light up and get rid of its deficiencies of thought and will and feeling. This intervention too cannot be completely effective unless the supramental plane is manifested and acts above the mind no longer from behind a lid or veil, however thin the veil may have grown, but more constantly in an open and luminous action till there is seen the full sun of Truth with no cloud to moderate its splendour. It is not necessary, either, to develop the intellect fully in its separateness before calling down this intervention or opening up by it the supramental levels. The intervention may came in earlier and at once develop the intellectual action and turn it, as it develops, into the higher intuitive form and substance.
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga – II: The Intuitive Mind
In the last chapter of the Synthesis of Yoga, Sri Aurobindo discusses two kinds of mental constructions: those related to our impure will, and those related to time:
The mental constructions that interfere are mainly of two kinds, and the first and most powerfully distorting are those which proceed from the stresses of the will claiming to see and determine, interfering with knowledge and not allowing the intuition to be passive to the truth light and its impartial and pure channel. The personal will, whether taking the shape of the emotions and the heart’s wishes or of vital desires or of strong dynamic volitions or the wilful preferences of the intelligence, is an evident source of distortion when these try, as they usually do try with success, to impose themselves on the knowledge and make us take what we desire or will for the thing that was, is or must be. For either they prevent the true knowledge from acting or if it at all presents itself, they seize upon it, twist it out of shape and make the resultant deformation a justifying basis for a mass of will-created falsehood. The personal will must either be put aside or else its suggestions must be kept in their place until a supreme reference has been made to the higher impersonal light and then must be sanctioned or rejected according to the truth that comes from deeper within than the mind or from higher above….
The second kind of mental construction belongs to the very nature of our mind and intelligence and its dealing with things in time. All is seen here by mind as a sum of realised actualities with their antecedents and natural consequences, an indeterminate of possibilities and, conceivably, although of this it is not certain, a determining something behind, a will, fate or Power, which rejects some and sanctions or compels others out of many possibles. Its constructions therefore are made partly of inferences from the actual, both past and present, partly of a volitional or an imaginative and conjectural selection and combining of possibilities and partly of a decisive reasoning or preferential judgment or insistent creative will-intelligence that tries to fix among the mass of actuals and possibles the definitive truth it is labouring to discover or determine…
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga – II: Towards the Supramental Time Vision
A conversation between Sri Aurobindo and a disciple on mental constructions
Disciple : When the Mind is transformed by the action of the Higher Power what are the changes that take place in the Mind?
Sri Aurobindo : Which part of the mind ? The thinking mind ?
Disciple : Yes.
Sri Aurobindo : The reasonings and the fanciful constructions of the mind cease : there remains only a play of intuitions.
Disciple : Does not reason remain, at all ?
Sri Aurobindo : When the whole mind is intuitionised, it knows directly and therefore needs no reasoning. I see you before me; so, why should I argue whether you exist or not ?
Disciple : As regards mental constructions, – are they always incorrect ? May not they be inspired by the Truth ?
Sri Aurobindo : Mind may build on its intuitions, but there is every likelihood of its committing mistakes or errors. Mental transformation is a gradual process. First, the reasoning and constructions are silenced. Then the mind becomes intuitionised. Then one feels that there is something above which is much more than intuition. Intuition goes downwards and the higher Truth takes the place of intuition. At present, you find it difficult to understand how all reasoning and constructions of the mind can cease. That can be understood when you know what is intuition.
Disciple : I understand that reasoning and constructions are obstacles to the coming of the Truth.
Sri Aurobindo : Yes, if you go on eternally with them the Truth will not come.
Disciple : Then one must correct these things before the higher Truth can come down.
Sri Aurobindo : You cannot do that ; it is only the Truth which can change the nature and activities of the mind. You can only quiet them so that the Truth may come down and take up the Transformation.
Disciple : If the mind is silenced, will the Truth come down ?
Sri Aurobindo : If you do nothing else but merely silence the mind you will have a silent mind and nothing else.
Disciple : When a developed mind opens to the Truth and an underdeveloped mind opens to it which will be the richer of the two ?
Sri Aurobindo : First you have to see whether the under-developed mind can open itself to the higher Truth ; generally it cannot. Then, it may have a narrow opening and the result will be limited. The higher Truth may afterwards develop the mind but if the mind is already developed, there is already a rich material upon which the Truth can work. But the too much developed mind is also an obstacle. It has its fixed habits, its fixed grooves to which it sticks tenaciously. With the coming down of the Truth the mind may suddenly develop new powers – painting or poetry etc.
[A.B. Purani. Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo, p 122]
” …I resist to fully surender to the Devine without giving up my last final cherished desires… ”
Cherished desires! It sounds like these desires are being held in some reverence, this could be indicative of some trouble ahead as the ego is blatantly declaring it will not surrender these things lightly.
” …creating some sort of protective shield around me and the demons are swarming around it.”
Here’s where we see the ego’s little scam. It has managed to convince the mental that the shield is all encompassing – that is, it is protecting the mental, vital & physical or at least the mental & vital. This is almost certainly not the case. If somebody punches you on the nose while this shield is up, with respect, you’re probably going to feel it and possibly bleed.
The shield is merely a ‘Panic Room’ for the mind. Whenever the ego wishes to indulge itself it creates the illusion of approaching ‘demons’ or ‘burglars’ breaking in. The mind runs to the Panic Room not only creating a division within but also leaving the vital & physical at the mercy of the ego where it robs you blind then blames it on the phantom ‘demons’. The perfect crime!
Adopting a passive attitude to this problem like invoking a shield will not do and repressing the desires will result in a life-long battle to fight. Exterminate!
The next time the burglar alarm sounds, instead of fleeing to the Panic Room put on a cloak of invisibility by which I mean adopt a witness consciousness then observe the ego, gathering evidence as it indulges itself. Amass enough eye-witness evidence then confront the ego, ask it why it does what it does. It will put up quite a fight and give all manner of reasons to justify its behaviour but with a sound case it has no adequate defence for its actions and it knows it. Banish it.
Any intuative capacity greatly enhances your surveillance equipment. 🙂
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
~ Dylan Thomas
Wow thank you for your quick reply! Really nice cause this is the first time I actually am in communication with another human being about my spiritual experiences!
“This is why it is important to practice austerities. You may get a glimpse of the “heavens” above but you cannot sustain that state of consciousness until you conserve your energy by giving up certain social luxuries like movies, comfort food, unnecessary travel, chatting with friends, etc. “
Thank you man. I already knew all this, and my spiritual side was convinced, but my normal wordly side still rejected. Hearing this from you somehow feels like a automatic conversion.
“That’s a good question. No, you cannot have mental constructions in the realm of intuition. Rather, what happens is that the effort you made in widening the mind automatically opens a channel for the Power above your head to descend and dissolve the mental constructions.”
Actually I think there is miscommunication here, because what you explained is what I meant. When I talked about constructing yourselve into intuition, I did not imply that reasoning or mental constructions excisted in the realm of Intuition. I meant that at a certain moment those constructions (which intepret knowledge from above) become so obvious, so pure that you just have faith and the mental constructions are transformed into an ocean of knowledge with Intuition as its master. NO MORE constructions. Just you that has surrendered to the Divine flame inside that is guiding you to where you must be.
Anyway thank you for responding, it is amazing that you take the time to help people out. I assume this blog is at some level a part of your spiritual excercise, to unite the internal reality with the external, the spiritual with the action. I’d like to say to you great job! I have been reading your articles and even though many of it I was aware, still the clearity with which you present information has impressed me and internally improved me! Keep doing it you are doing a great job!
I changed your alias to Mike-3 because you are the third Mike on this blog. Its getting confusing 🙂
Keep doing it you are doing a great job!
Thanks. Do let me know if there are any topics you’d like to cover.
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Car Mechanic Dreams Up a Tool to Ease Births
The idea came to Jorge Odón as he slept. Somehow, he said, his unconscious made the leap from a YouTube video he had just seen on extracting a lost cork from a wine bottle to the realization that the same parlor trick could save a baby stuck in the birth canal.
Mr. Odón, 59, an Argentine car mechanic, built his first prototype in his kitchen, using a glass jar for a womb, his daughter’s doll for the trapped baby, and a fabric bag and sleeve sewn by his wife as his lifesaving device.
Unlikely as it seems, the idea that took shape on his counter has won the enthusiastic endorsement of the World Health Organization and major donors, and an American medical technology company has just licensed it for production.
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