Infinity in a drop
a consciousness-centred psychology
inspired by the work of Sri Aurobindo
Matthijs Cornelissen

last revision: 23 December 2022


  1. What kind of book is this?
  2. Why is this text called Infinity in a drop?

    Part One
    Towards a new philosophical foundation for psychology

  1. Sri Aurobindo's work and what it can do for psychology

    1. Introduction
    2. A synthesis of European and Indian knowledge systems
    3. A synthesis of the psychological processes underlying the major spiritual traditions of India
    4. A vision of the future of humanity
    5. Towards a radical transformation of human nature
    6. An integral understanding of knowledge and how this could effect research in the subjective domain
  3. Bringing it all together
    1. Part Two
      Who am I?

      A short note before we start with Part Two

    2. Being human as process

      1. Introduction: being conscious
      2. volition
      3. emotion
      4. cognition
    4. Natural individual development

      1. Introduction
        1. The individual as a product of nature and nurture
        2. The individual as an eternal self, with a gradually developing soul nature
      2. Reincarnation: development over many lives
        1. Arguments against and alternative explanations
        2. Arguments in favour
      3. A more detailed description of how it might work:
        1. Possible mechanisms
        2. Avenues for research
      4. Development within one life-time from a many-lives perspective
        1. The influence of previous lives on childhood and life-span development
          1. Possible mechanisms
          2. Avenues for research
        2. Taking responsibility for one's own development
      5. Implications
        1. Implications for therapy, counselling and self-development
        2. Implications for education
      6. Summary and conclusion

      Part Three
      How do we know?

      A short note before we start with Part Three

      Part Four
      Meeting others and the world

    1. Relationships

      1. The pervasiveness of relationships
      2. Different types of relationships
      3. Self-giving and re-owning yourself
      4. Being lonely, alone, all one
      5. Human love and love divine
      6. Love and oneness
    3. Rasa, the "taste of existence"

      1. Emotions: colours and "tastes" of self and nature
      2. Some classical listings
      3. Vital emotions and psychic emotions
      4. Intrinsic delight; why nothing can exist without ananda at its core
      5. Drama and the rasa in things
      6. The Godward emotions
      7. Equanimity and "being there"
    5. Groups

      1. Group membership
      2. The group as source of identity
      3. The group as functional unit
      4. Roles and hierarchies within groups
      5. The group as carrier of culture
      6. Conflicts between groups: us against them
      7. Harmony within and between groups
      8. Symphony
    7. Action and agency, fate and free will

      1. What makes me act the way I act?
      2. What is egoless action?
      3. The scope for conscious, self-willed alignment
      4. Is freedom real?

      Part Five
      Working on oneself

    1. Positive and negative motivation for change

      1. Mind the gap
      2. Changing the world
      3. Changing oneself
      4. The need for integration
      5. The innate aspiration
      6. ... And what holds us back
      7. The role of pain
      8. The sunlit path
    3. Basic methods and things that help

      1. Aspiration and the Grace that answers
      2. Self-observation as tool: insight and detachment
      3. Knowledge and reason as tools
      4. Silence as tool
      5. Remember and offer
      6. Aspiration, rejection, surrender
      7. Humour, detachment, commitment and love
      8. Helpful attitudes and psychological perfections
      9. The four aids
    5. Dealing with difficulties and dangers

      1. Common principles
      2. Dealing with the mind
      3. Dealing with the vital
      4. When mind and vital gang up
      5. Dealing with the body
      6. The unholy trinity
      7. Some common issues
      8. In conclusion: dealing with the ego
    7. Realisation, liberation and transformation

      1. Changes within the normal range
      2. Realisation: meeting the infinite
      3. Mukti, liberation
      4. Embracing the shadow
      5. The difference between change and transformation
      6. Psychic transformation
      7. Spiritual transformation
      8. Supramental transformation
      9. The complexity of human nature revisited

      Part Six
      Working with others

    1. General introduction

      1. Helping others: a word of caution
      2. General principles
      3. Motivation, insight, skill, and effort
      4. Building a tool box
      5. Helping others to help themselves
    3. Education

      1. Integral education: basic principles
      2. Educating the mind
      3. Educating the vital
      4. Educating the body
      5. Psychic education
      6. Spiritual education
      7. Helping others revisited
      8. Imagine a society in which education would encourage honesty, collaboration, and the pursuit of perfection in whatever sphere of interest the child has.
    5. Helping others with their physical health

      • Still to come...
    7. Helping others with their psychological health

      • Still to come...
    9. Social & organisational psychology

      • Still to come...


    1. Psychology and the future of humanity

      1. Why, in spite of all obstacles, an increasing influence of an integral, Indian approach to psychology is inevitable
      2. Some strategic possibilities and considerations
    3. Life as sādhanā; sādhanā as life

      • Still to come...
    5. An expression of gratitude


    1. Psychology and the scientific method: a difficult relationship

      1. What is Indian Psychology?
      2. How assumptions and methods of enquiry determine what different schools of psychology can see
      3. Classical Behaviourism
      4. Mainstream yoga research
      5. 1913 and beyond: psychology's three lineages
        • A mini-history of psychology in modern times
    3. Applied psychology
    4. Biographical and bibliographical notes on Sri Aurobindo