The “Psychic Being”
The “Psychic Being” is a term used by Sri Aurobindo to describe a will inside of us, a force or director of our actions, an entity that can be built and can begin to guide our lives. This psychic being is closely related to the idea of a personal soul. It is my opinion that the psychic being is also related to what Gurdjieff calls the “soul” and to our ability to “do” in this world.
It is clearly taught and understood in the Gurdjieff path that man as she is, cannot “do”, that man as she is, is a machine, that man is not born with a soul, but has the ability to grow one through self work… And man only thinks that she has will and can do but in fact the opposite is true, man is asleep, has no will and cannot “do”.
To truly understand this one has to look a little deeper into one’s life, observe one’s self and others and see what Gurdjieff is pointing to… And in fact there is a current scientific theory called Materialism that hold the same to be true, “…[A] materialist thinker who argues that there really is no you in you at all, that consciousness, soul, spirit, and free will are merely illusions bolstered by folklore.” (The Spiritual Brain, Mario Beauregard &Denyse O’Leary). The difference is that Gurdjieff believed that one could grow a “soul”, could grow a “will”… This “will” and “soul” are what Sri Aurobindo calls the psychic being, and without it spiritual practice is merely a mind game.
The beginning of the spiritual path is seeing that one is not free, that one has no real will and is only acted upon by nature, a slave to genes/biology and conditioning (as the Materialists state); after this one learns how to develop will, to grow one’s psychic being through spiritual practice, and eventually have this psychic being as the sole director/driver of your body-ego-vehicle. Bellow is a quote from Sri Aurobindo more clearly describing the psychic being.
“The psychic part of us is something that comes directly from the Divine and is in touch with the Divine. In its origin it is the nucleus pregnant with the divine possibilities that supports this lower triple manifestation of mind, life, and body. There is the divine element in all living beings, but it stands hidden behind the ordinary consciousness, is not at first developed and, eve when developed, is not always or often in front; it expresses itself, so far as the imperfection of the instruments allows, by their means and under their limitations. It grows in the consciousness by Godward experience, gaining strength every time there is a movement in us, and finally, by the accumulation of these deeper and higher movements, there is developed a psychic individuality, — that which we call usually the psychic being. It is always this psychic being that is real, though often the secret cause of man’s turning to the spiritual life and his greatest help in it. It is therefor that which we have to bring from behind to the front in yoga.” -Sri Aurobindo