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Chapter3:Fundamentals

Fundamentals
Stopwanderingthoughts
1

Thelongestbookonyogacanteachyounothingmoreaboutthepracticalaimofyoga
thanthis:stillyourthoughts.
2

Oneofthecausesofthefailuretogetanyresultsfrommeditationisthatthemeditator
hasnotpractisedlongenough.Infact,thewastageofmuchtimeinunprofitable,
distracted,ramblingthinkingseemstobethegeneralexperience.Yetthisisthepreludeto
theactualworkofmeditationinitself.Itisanecessaryexcavationbeforethebuildingcan
beerected.Thefactisunpleasantbutmustbeaccepted.Ifthisexperienceofthefirst
periodisfrustratinganddisappointing,theexperienceofthesecondperiodishappyand
rewarding.Heshouldreallycountthefirstperiodasapreparation,andnotasadefeat.If
thepreliminaryperiodissoirksomethatitseemslikeanartificialactivity,andthe
subsequentperiodofmeditationitselfissopleasantandeffortlessthatitseemslikea
perfectlynaturalone,themoralis:moreperseveranceandmorepatience.
3

Iftheturningwheelofthoughtscanbebroughttoaperfectstandstillwithoutpayingthe
penaltyofsleep,theresultswillbethattheThinkerwillcometoknowhimselfinsteadof
histhoughts.
4

Meditationisadmittedlyoneofthemostdifficultartstolearn.Themindofhumanityin
itspresentdayconditionissorestless,sowandering,andespeciallysoextroverted,that
theefforttobringitundercontrolseemstothebeginnertomeetwithdisheartening
results.Properpatience,righttechnique,andthementalhelpofanexpertareneeded.In
mostcasesittakesseveralyears,butfromexperienceandknowledgetheremaycomethe
skillandeaseoftheproficientmeditator.
5

Itisusefulonlyinthemostelementarystagetoletthoughtsdrifthazilyorhaphazardly
duringtheallottedperiod.Foratthatstage,heneedsmoretomaketheideaofsitting
perfectlystillforsometimequiteacceptableinpracticethanheneedstobegin
withdrawalfromthebody'ssense.Hemustfirstgaincommandofhisbodybeforehecan
gaincommandofhisthoughts.Butinthenextstage,hemustforciblydirectattentiontoa
singlesubjectandforciblysustainitthere.Hemustbegintopractisementalmastery,for
thiswillnotonlybringhimthespiritualprofitsofmeditationbutalsowillwardoffsome
ofitspsychicdangers.
6

Arabbleofthoughtspursuehimintothesilenceperiod,asifdeterminedtokeephismind
fromeverbecomingstill.
7

Donotmisstheobjectofyourmeditationsandloseyourselfinuselessreveries.
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Themoralis,findtheobjectthatmakesmostappealtoyourtemperament,theobjectthat
experienceprovestobemosteffectiveininducingtheconditionofmentalconcentration.
9

Thefirstquarterhourisoftensofatiguingtobeginnersthattheylookfor,andeasilyfind,
anexcusetobringthepracticetoanabruptend,thusfailinginit.Theymayfrankly
acceptthefatigueitselfassufficientreasonfortheirdesertion.Ortheymaymakethe
excuseofattendingtosomeothertaskwaitingtobedone.Butthefactisthatalmostas
soonastheystart,theydonotwanttogoon.Theysitdowntomeditateandthenthey
findtheydonotwanttomeditate!Why?Theanswerliesintheintellect'sintractable
restlessness,itsinherentrepugnancetobeinggovernedorbeingstill.
10

Commandyourthoughtsduringthisfirstperiodofmeditationdirectthembythe
energizedwilltowardsadefiniteandspecificsubject.Donotletthemdriftvaguely.
Assertyourmasterybyapositiveeffort.
11

Inyourmeditations,stopthinkingaboutthethingsthatoughttohavebeenleftoutsidethe
doorandstartthinkingabouttheOverself.
12

Themindwillrushofflikeawildbullfromthedisciplineheseekstoimposeonit.Ifthis
fails,itwillusetemptationsordiversionsorpessimism.
13

ThinkofthelamasittinginlongandsustainedmeditationinthefreezingcellofaTibetan
monasteryandbeashamedofyourownweakness.
14

Ifthemeditationisnottoloseitselfinemptydaydreaming,itmustbealert.
15

Ifmeditationweretostopwithruminatingintentlyoverone'sownbestideasorover
someinspiredman'srecordedideas,theresultwouldcertainlybehelpfulandthetime
spentworthwhile.Itwouldbehelpfulandconstructive,butitwouldnotbemorethan
that.Suchcommunionwiththoughtsisnottherealaimofmeditation.Thataimistoopen
adoortotheOverself.Toachievethis,itcastsoutallideasandthrowsawayallthoughts.
Wherethinkingstillkeepsuswithinthelittleego,thedeliberatesilenceofthinkinglifts
usoutoftheegoaltogether.
16

Theessenceofyogaistoputastoptotheego'smentalactivities.Itseverworking,ever
restlesscharacterisrightandnecessaryforhumanlifebutatthesametimeisatyrantand
slavedriveroverhumanlife.
17

Oneofthehindrancestosuccessinmeditation,tobeovercomewithgreatdifficulty,is
thetendencyoftheintellectandespeciallyofthemodernWesternintellecttothinkof
theactivitytowhichitcouldbeattendingifitwerenottryingtomeditate,ortolook
forwardtowhatitwillbedoingassoonasthemeditationends,ortoprojectitselfinto
imaginationsandpredictionsaboutthenextfewhoursorthenextday.Theonlywayto
dealwiththiswhenithappensisforciblytodragthemind'sattentionawayfromits
wanderingsandholdittotheNow,asifnothingelseexistsorcaneverexist.
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18

Catchyourthoughtsintheirfirststageandyoucatchthecauseofsomeofyourtroubles,
sins,andevendiseases.
19

Thethoughtswhichintrudethemselvesonyourmeditationinsuchmultitudesandwith
suchpersistencemaybequelledifyousetgoingasearchastowheretheycomefrom.
20

Ifthewanderingcharacteristicofallthoughtsdivertsattentionanddefeatstheeffortto
meditate,tryanotherway.Questionthethoughtsthemselves,seekouttheirorigin,trace
themtotheirbeginningandreducetheirnumbermoreandmore.Findoutwhatparticular
interestorimpulseemotionordesireintheegocausesthemtoariseandpushthiscause
backnearertothevoid.Inthisway,youtendtoseparateyourselffromthethoughts
themselves,refusetoidentifywiththem,andgetbacknearertoyourhigheridentity.
21

Thefirstpartoftheexerciserequireshimtobanishallthoughts,feelings,images,and
energieswhichdonotbelongtothesubject,prayer,ideal,orproblemhechoosesasa
theme.Nothingelsemaybeallowedtointrudeintoconsciousnessor,havingintrudedby
themind'soldrestlessness,itistobeblottedoutimmediately.Suchexpulsionisalwaysto
beaccompaniedbyanexhalingofthebreath.Eachreturnofattentiontotheselected
themeistobeaccompaniedbyaninhalingofthebreath.
22

Whenthoughtsarerestlessandhardtocontrol,thereisalwayssomethinginuswhichis
awareofthisrestlessness.Thisknowledgebelongstothehidden"I"whichstandsasan
unruffledwitnessofallourefforts.Wemustseekthereforetofeelforandidentifyourself
withit.Ifwesucceed,thentherestlessnesspassesawayofitself,andthebubbling
thoughtsdissolveintoundifferentiatedThought.
23

Hemustfirstworkatthecleansingofhismind.Thisisdonebyvigilantlykeepingout
degradingthoughtsandbyrefusingentrytoweakeningones.
24

Hemustwaitpatientlyyetworkintentlyafterhecloseshiseyesuntilhisthoughts,
circlinglikeaflockofbirdsaroundaship,comegentlytorest.
25

Wehabituallythinkatrandom.Webeginourmusingswithonesubjectandusuallyend
withanentirelydifferentone.Weevenforgettheverythemewhichstartedthe
movementofourmind.Suchanundisciplinedmindisanaverageone.Ifwewereto
watchourselvesforfiveminutes,wewouldbesurprisedtodiscoverhowmanytimes
thoughthadinvoluntarilyjumpedfromonetopictoanother.
26

Thefirstproblemishowtokeephisinterestfromdryingup,thesecondhowtokeephis
attentionfromwanderingoff.
27

Whenhehaspreviouslypurifiedhischaracter,hewillnaturallybeabletosustainlong
periodsofmeditationwithoutbeingdistractedbywaywardemotions.
28

ThepassageinconsciousnessfrommerethoughtstosheerThoughtisnotaneasyone.
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Lifelongingrainedhabithasmadeourconsciousnessformridden,tiedtosolids,and
expectantofconstantchange.Tosurrenderthishabitseemstoit(albeitwrongly)quite
unnatural,andconsequentlyartificialresistancesaresetup.
29

Tokeepupthemeditationforsomelengthoftime,toforcehimselftosittherewhileall
hishabitualbodilyandmentalinstinctsareurginghimtoabandonthepractice,callsfor
arousingofinnerstrengthtofightoffinattentionorfatigue.Butthisverystrength,once
aroused,willeventuallyenablehimtokeepitupforlongerandlongerperiods.
30

Asthemindslowlyrelaxes,thenumberofthoughtsisreduced,theattentivenesstothem
increased.
31

Wheneverthemeditatornoticesthathehaslosthiswayandisnolongerthinkingofhis
chosensubject,hehastostartagainandrethinkthesubject.Thisprocessofrefindinghis
wayseveraltimesmayhavetoberepeatedduringeachsessionofmeditation.
32

Itwillbeahelptomeditatemoresuccessfullyif,atthebeginning,thebreathingrhythmis
equalizedsothattheinbreathandtheoutbreathareroughlyofthesamelengthandifone
drawstheairinalittlemoredeeplythannormallyandletsitoutalittlemoreslowlythan
normally.
33

Thesocallednormalmindisinastateofconstantagitation.Fromthestandpointofyoga,
thereislittledifferencewhetherthisagitationbepleasurableorpainful.
34

Ifastudentisnotpurifiedenough,norinformedenough,itisbetternottoendeavourto
reachthetrancestage.Heshoulddevotehiseffortstothecontrolofthoughtsandtothe
searchforinnertranquillityalongwiththisselfpurificationandimprovementof
knowledge.
35

Thethoughtflowmaybestoppedbyforciblemeanssuchasbreathcontrol,buttheresult
willthenbeonlyatransientandsuperficialone.Ifadeeperandmoredurableresultis
desired,itisessentialtoconjointhebreathcontrolwithotherkindsofselfcontrolwitha
disciplineofthesensesandacleansingofthethoughts.
36

Theaimistowork,littlebylittle,towardslowingdowntheactionofthinkingfirstand
stillingitaltogetherlater.
37

Iftheinitialperiodofdistracted,wandering,overactive,orrestlessthoughtsirkshimby
itslength,heshouldrememberthatthisshowsthestateofhismindduringmostofthe
day.
38

Itisacustomamongtheyogis,andonelaiddowninthetraditionaltexts,tobegin
meditationbypayinghomagetoGodandtothemaster.Thepurposeofthisistoattract
helpfromthesesources.
39
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Themindisdraggedhitherandthitherbyitsdesiresorinterest,draggedtofleetingand
ephemeralthings.
40

Theundisciplinedmindwillinevitablyresisttheeffectsneededfortheseexercises.This
isadifficultperiodforthepractiser.Theremedyistoarousehimself,"summonupthe
will,"andreturnagainandagaintothefightuntilthemind,likeahorse,beginstoaccept
itstrainingandlearnstoobey.
41

Inthisinterimwaitingperiodnothinghappens,onlythethoughtsbubblealongasthey
usuallydoduringanidletime,exceptthatthereissomestrain,someconstriction
wheneverheremembersthatthereisapurposeinhissittinghere,acontrolneededto
achieveit.
42

Heistobeginbygivingadisciplinedattentiontotheworkingsofhisownmind.
43

Thebodysoonbeginstoprotestagainsttheunaccustomedstillnesssuddenlyenforcedon
it:themindsoonstartstorebelagainstthetediumandboredomoftheearlystages,and
thehabitualunrestofbothwillhavetobefacedagainandagain.
44

Itisdifficult,oftenimpossible,tostopthinkingbyone'sowneffort.Butbygrace'shelpit
getsdone.Withthinkingnolongerintheway,consciousnessceasestobebrokenup:
nothingistheretoimpedemovementintostillness.
45

Iftheinnatecapacityislacking,asitusuallyis,thentheaspirantrequiressomeskill
gatheredfromrepeatedexperiencetoshutoutsoundswhichbringthemindbackto
physicalsituations.
46

Itisnotonlythoughtsthatcomeupintheformofwordsthathavetobebroughtunder
control,butalsothosethatcomeupintheformofimages.Solongasconsciousnessis
peopledbytheactivitiesofimagination,solongdoesitsstillnessandemptinessremain
unreached.Thatcertainyogaexercisesuseeitheroftheseformstoreachtheirgoaldoes
notfalsifythisstatement.Foreventherethemethodpractisedhastobeabandonedata
particularpoint,orstoptherebyitself.
47

Theintellectualtypetriestoanalysewhathedoesandseesintheattempttounderstandit
morefully.Buttheendresultisthatthetranscendentpartoftheexperienceislostone
setofthoughtssucceedsonlyinproducinganother.Hemustbewillingandreadytostop
intellectionatthestartoftheexercise.Thisisessentialtosuccessinmeditation.
48

Whatevermethodblocksthewanderingofthoughtsorthepracticeofintellectualism,
whetherrandomorcontinuous,maybeusefulsolongasitassistsconcentrationand
logicalexaminationisavoided.Itcouldbeamantram,butnotadevotional,intelligible,
ormeaningfulone.Itcouldbeadiagram,adotonthewall,oradoorhandle.
49

Hemusttrytokeephismentalequilibriumundisturbedbythehardshipsandunbrokenby
thepleasureswhichlifemaybringhim.Thiscannotbedoneunlessthemindisbroughtto
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restonsomepoint,idea,name,orsymbolwhichgivesitahappypoise,andunlessitis
keptthere.
50

Itisnotenoughtoachievecontrolofthebody,itsurgesanditsdrivesanditspassions,
splendidthoughthatcertainlyis.Hisadvancemustnotstopthere.Forhehasyettodeal
withhisthoughts,torecognizethattheycomefromhisego,feedandnurtureit,and
controlofthemmustalsobeachieved.
51

Thefirstlawofthedisciple'slifeistobringhisownthoughtsunderlaw.
52

"Tostopthinkingisasifonewantedtostopthewind"isanoldChinesestatement.
53

Thecontrolofthoughtanditsconsecrationtoexaltedthemeswillbringhimmorepeace
andmorepower.
54

Hemustgivehimselfasufficientlengthoftime,firsttoattaintheconcentratedstateand
second,toholdit.
55

Hefindsthat,howeverwillingandeagerhemaybe,hecansustaintheintensityof
struggleagainstthisrestlessnessofmindonlyforacertaintime.
56

Hemustgivehisthoughtsadecisiveturninthechosendirectioneverytimetheystray
fromit.
57

Imaginationislikelytorunawaywithhisattentionduringthisearlyperiod.Atfirstitwill
beoccupiedwithworldlymattersalreadybeingthoughtabout,butlateritmayinvolve
psychicalmatters,producingvisionsorhallucinationsofanunreliablekind.
58

Evenwhenheismeditating,theaspirantmayfindthatfeelings,thoughts,memories,or
desiresandotherimagesofhisworldlyexperiencecomeintotheconsciousness.Hemust
notbindhimselftothembygivingattentiontothem,butshouldimmediatelydismiss
them.
59

Experiencesandhappeningskeepattentioneveractiveandeveroutwardturned,while
memories,althoughinternal,directitbacktothephysicalworld.Soaman'sown
thoughtsgetinthewayandpreventhimfromaconfrontationwithpureThoughtitself.
60

Theabilitytobringthemindtocontrolledonepointednessisextremelydifficult,andits
achievementmayrequiresomeyearsofeffortanddetermination.Heneednotallow
himselftobecomediscouragedbutshouldacceptthechallengethusofferedforwhatitis.
61

Themindfluttersfromsubjecttosubjectlikeabutterflyfromflowertoflower,andis
unabletostaywherewewantit.

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Blanknessisnotthegoal
62

Amereemptinessofmindisnotenough,isnottheobjectiveofthesepractices.Some
idiotspossessthisnaturallybuttheydonotpossessthewisdomoftheOverself,the
understandingofWhoandWhattheyare.
63

Philosophydoesnotteachpeopletomaketheirmindsablank,doesnotsayemptyoutall
thoughts,beinertandpassive.Itteachesthereductionofallthinkingactivitytoasingle
seedthought,andthatoneistobeeitherinterrogativelike"WhatAmI?"oraffirmative
like"Thegodlikeiswithme."ItistruethattheopeningupofOverselfconsciousness
will,inthefirstdelicateexperience,meantheclosingdownofthelastthoughts,the
uttermoststillnessofmind.Butthatstagewillpass.Itwillrepeatitselfagainwhenever
oneplungesintothedeepesttrance,theraptestmeditativeabsorption.Anditmustthen
comeofitself,inducedbythehigherself'sgrace,notbythelowerself'sforce.Otherwise,
merementalblanknessisariskyconditiontobeavoidedbyprudentseekers.Itinvolves
theriskofmediumshipandofbeingpossessed.
64

Vacuityofmindisnottobeconfusedwithperceptionofreality.
65

Itisonlyalimp,semimesmericstate,afterall,andyieldsapeacewhichimitatesthetrue
divinepeaceastheimageinamirrorimitatesthefleshandbloodman.Itisproducedby
selfeffort,notbyGrace,byautosuggestionratherthanbytheOverself.
66

"Nomoreseriousmistakecanbecommittedthanconsideringthehibernationofreptiles
andotheranimalsasillustratingthesamadhistageofYoga.Itcorrespondswiththe
pratyahara,andnotthesamadhistage.Pratyaharahasbeencomparedwiththestageof
insensibilityproducedbytheadministrationofanesthetics,forexample,chloroform."*t
MajorB.D.Basu,IndianMedicalService
67

Toseekmentalblanknessasadirectobjectiveistomistakeaneffectforacause.Itistrue
thatsomeoftheinferioryogisdoso,tryingbyforciblemeanslikesuppressionofthe
breathtoputallthoughtsoutofthemind.Butthisisnotadvocatedbyphilosophy.
68

Toattempttheeliminationofallthoughtsastheyarise,withtheaimofkeeping
consciousnessentirelyemptyofallcontent,isanothermethodwhichsomeyogisandnot
afewOccidentalstrytopractise.Itisnotaseasyasitseemsandisnotfrequently
successful.Philosophydoesnotusethisrashmethod,doesnotrecommendmakingthe
mindjustablank.Therearetwoperilsinit.Thefirstisthatitlaysamanopentopsychic
invasionfromoutsidehimself,or,failingthat,frominsidehimself.Inthefirstcase,he
becomesaspiritualisticmedium,passivelysurrendershimselftoanyunseenentitywhich
maypassthroughthedoorthusleftopen,andrisksbeingtakenpossessionofbythis
entity.Itmaybeearthbound,foolish,lying,orevil,atworst.Inthesecondcase,he
unloosesthecontrolsoftheconsciousselfandletsintoitforcesthathehaslong
outgrownbutnotfullyeliminatedpastselvesthataredyingandwouldbebestleftalone,
subconsciousimpulsesthatleadintoevilorinsanehallucinationsmasqueradingasoccult
perceptionsorpowers.Nowitiscorrecttosaythatthemindmustbecompletely
masteredandthatavacuumwillariseintheprocess,butthisisstillnotthewaytodoit.
Thebetterwayistofocusthemindsounwaveringlyonsomeonething,thoughtorimage
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orphrase,soelevatedthatapointwillbereachedwherethehigherselfitselfsuddenly
obliteratesthethoughts.
69

Thesilenceofmeditationisadignifiedthing,butthesilenceofastupidemptymindis
not.
70

Merelybeingthoughtfreebyitselfmayleadtopsychicresults.Onehastosinkbacktoa
dynamicpositivementalsilencebystartingmeditationwithadynamicpositiveattitude.
Eliminatingthoughtsandeliminatingtheegoduringmeditationaretwodifferentthings.
Youshouldexperimentwiththevariousmethodsgiveninthebooksifyouwanttoknow
whichwouldhelpyoumost.
71

SuTungPo:"Peoplewhodonotunderstandsometimesdescribeastateofanimal
unconsciousnessasthestateofsamadhi.Ifso,thenwhencatsanddogssleepafterbeing
wellfed,theytoodonothaveathoughtontheirminds.Itwouldobviouslybeincorrectto
arguethattheyhaveenteredsamadhi."
72

ZenPatriarchHuineng:"Itisagreatmistaketosuppressourmindfromallthinking...
torefrainfromthinkingofanything,thisisanextremeerroneousview...yourmenare
herebywarnednottotakethoseexercisesforcontemplatingonquietudeorforkeeping
themindinablankstate."
73

Thedrowsytorporofalazymindisnotthetruevoidtobedesiredandsought.
74

Thefeelingofpeaceisgoodbutdeceptive.Theegocauseofallhistensionisstill
hiddenwithinit,inreposebutonlytemporarilyinactive.

Practiseconcentratedattention
75

Meditationhasasitsfirstobjectanincreasingwithdrawalofthemindfromthethingsof
thisworld,andalsofromthethoughtsofthisworld,untilitisstilled,passive,self
centered.Butbeforeitcanachieveanyobjectatall,attentionmustbemadeaskeenly
concentratedasaneagle'sstare.
76

TheaimistoachieveaconcentrationasfirmandassteadyastheMongolianhorseman's
whenhegallopswithoutspillingadropofwaterfromacompletelyfilledglassheldinhis
hand.
77

Eachexerciseinmeditationmuststartwithafocalpointifitistobeeffective.Itmust
workuponaparticularideaortheme,eventhoughitneednotendwithit.
78

Whenitissaidthattheobjectofconcentrationpracticeshouldbeasingleone,thisdoes
notmeanasinglethought.Thatisreservedeitherforadvancedstagesorforspiritual
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declarations.Itmeansasingletopic.Thiswillinvolveawholetrainofideas.Butthey
oughttobelogicallyconnected,oughttogrowoutofeachother,asitwere.
79

Thegeniusistheproductofintenseconcentration.Allthosewholackthisquality,will
alsolackgenius.
80

Exercise:Whenwhollyabsorbedinwatchingacinemapictureorastagedramaorin
readingabookwithcompleteinterest,youareunconsciouslyinthefirststageof
meditation.Droptheseedofthisattention,thatis,thestory,suddenly,buttrytoretainthe
pureconcentratedawareness.Ifsuccessful,thatwillbeitssecondstage.
81

Theseconcentrationsbegintobecomeeffectivewhentheysucceedinbreakingupthe
holdofhishabitualactivitiesandimmediateenvironment,whentheyfreehisattention
fromwhatwouldordinarilybehispresentstate.
82

Heisabletoreachthisstageonlyaftermanymonthsoffaithfulpracticeor,morelikely,
aftersomeyearsofit.Butonedayhewillsurelyreachit,andthenhewillrecognizethat
thestraining,thetoil,andthefaithwereallwellworthwhile.
83

Thefirstthingwhichhehastodoistoreeducateattention.Ithastobeturnedinanew
direction,directedtowardsanewobject.Ithastobebroughtinsidehimself,andbrought
withdeepfeelingandmuchlovetothequestoftheSoulthathidesthere.
84

Themindcanbeweaponedintoasharpswordwhichpiercesthroughtheillusionthat
surroundsusintotheRealitybehind.Ifthentheswordfallsfromourgrasp,whatmatter?
Ithasserveditsusefulpurpose.
85

Thereisaninvisibleandinaudibleforcewithinusall.Whocanreaditsriddle?Hewho
canfindtheinstrumentwherewithtocontactit.Thescientisttakeshisdynamoand
gatherselectricitythroughitsmeans.Thetruthseekerconcentrateshisminduponhis
interiorandcontactsthemysteriousForcebackoflife.Concentratedthoughtishis
instrument.
86

Theeffortneededtowithdrawconsciousnessfromitsfocalpointinthephysicalbodyto
itsfocalpointinathought,amentalpicture,orinitsownself,isinevitablytremendous.
Indeed,whenthechangeisfullycompleted,themanisoftenquiteunawareofhavingany
bodyatall.
87

Patanjalipointsoutthatinabilitytoholdastateofmeditationafteritisreachedwill
preventthearisalofspiritualconsciousnessasmuchasinabilitytoreachthestateatall.
88

Themindmustbeemptiedfirstofallcontentsavethisoneparamountthought,thisfixed
focusofconcentration.
89

Letitbegrantedthatthepracticeofconcentrationishardtoperformandirksometo
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continueforweeksandmonthswithoutgreatresult.Nevertheless,itisnottoohard.
Anyonewhoreallymakesuphismindtomasterit,candoso.
90

Whenthisconcentrationarrivesatfixityandfirmnesswhicheliminatesrestless
wandering,intrusion,anddisturbance,theneedofconstantlyrepeatingtheexercise
vanishes.Ithasfulfilleditsimmediatepurpose.Theaspirantshouldnowtransferhis
attentiontothenext("ConstantRemembrance")exercise,andexerthimselfhenceforthto
bringhisattainmentintoworldlylife,intothemidstofattendingtoearthlyduties.
91

Thepracticeofyogais,negatively,theprocessofisolatingone'sconsciousnessfromthe
fivesensesand,positively,ofconcentratingitinthetrueself.
92

Withitmaximummoralandmentalconsciousnessisinduced.Therearetwoseparate
phasesinthistechniquewhichmustbedistinguishedfromoneanother.Thefirstinvolves
theuseofwillpowerandthepracticeofselfcontrol.Thesecond,whichsucceedsit,
involvesredirectionoftheforcesinaspirationtowardtheOverself,andmaybecalledthe
egostillingphase.
93

Allexercisesinconcentration,alllearningandmasteryofit,requiretwothings:first,an
objectorsubjectuponwhichattentionmaybebroughtsteadilytorestsecond,enough
interestinthatobjecttocreatesomefeelingaboutit.Whenthisfeelingbecomesdeep
enough,thedistractionscausedbyotherthoughtsdieaway.Concentrationhasthenbeen
achieved.
94

Justaswegetstrongbyenduringtensionsinthevariedsituationsoflife,sowegetstrong
inconcentrationbypatientlyenduringdefeatsoneaftertheotherwhendistractionsmake
usforgetourpurposewhilesittingformeditation.
95

Quieteningthemindinvolves,andcannotbutinvolve,quieteningthesenses.
96

Concentrationpracticeadvancesthroughstages.Inthefirststagethatwhichis
concentratedonisseenasfromadistance,whereasinthesecondstagetheideatendsto
absorbtheminditself.Inthefirststagewestillhavetomakehardeffortstoholdtheidea
toattentionwhereasinthenextstagetheeffortisslightandeasy.
97

Thebodymuststopitshabitualmovement.Theattentionmusttakeholdofonethinga
metaphysicalsubjectorphysicalobject,amentalpictureordevotionalidea.Onlyafter
proficiencyisreachedinthispreliminarystageshouldtheintellectseekanunfamiliar
stillnessandanexpectantpassivitywhichmarktheclosingsectionofthesecondstage.
98

Ifanylightflashorformisseen,heshouldinstantlyconcentratehiswholeminduponit
andsustainthisconcentrationaslongasheisableto.Theactivethoughtscanbebrought
totheirendbythismeans.
99

Itispossibleforaperfectlyconcentratedyogitoimagineawaythewholeworldoutofhis
existence!
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100

Ifthereverieattainsthedepthofseeingandfeelinghardlyanythingoutsidehim,being
onlyfaintlyawareofthingsbeforehimoraroundhim,thatisquiteenoughfor
philosophicalpurposes.Afulltranceisneithernecessarynordesirable.
101

Heconcentratesdailyontheimagewhichhedesirestocreateandsustaininhismind.
102

Thisworkofpushingattentioninwards,backtoitsverysource,andthesenseof"Iness"
backwithit,istobeaccompaniedbythinkingonlyuntilthelattercanbestoppedoritself
stops.Thisworkisthencontinuedbyastilledandsteadysearch.Whentheneedofsearch
comestoanend,thesearchervanishes,the"I"becomespure"Being,"hasfoundits
source.Inthesedailyornightlysessions,itishisworktoturnawayfromthediffused
attentionwhichishisnormalconditiontotheconcentratedattentionwhichis
indispensableforprogress,andtosustainit.
103

Itisnotadvisabletolistentomusicwhilstworkingatatypewriter,doingcreative
writing,orreadingtolearn.Theonlyexceptionisreadinglight,unimportant,or
entertainingmaterialalthougheventhenitisstillnotadvisable.Thisisbecauseitleads
toadividedminditcreatestension,andwhatoneisdoingmustnecessarilysufferto
someextentwhiletryingtoattendtothemusic.
104

Readinganoblebookhelpsbecauseitconcentratesthethoughtsalongasingletrack.Itis
thusanexerciseinconcentration.
105

Ifhisloweremotionsandearthlypassionsaretobebroughtunderpropercontrol,will
andreason,intuitionandaspirationmustbebroughtintothestruggleagainstthem.Ifhis
actsaretobehisown,andnottheresultofenvironmentalsuggestion,ifhisthoughtsare
toarisefromwithinhisownmind,andnotfromotherpeople'sminds,hemustlearnthe
artoffixingthemonwhateverhechoosesandconcentratingthemwheneverhewishes.
106

GivequestersthisorderofDailyExercise:(1)Prayerinposture(2)Breathinginposture
(3)Affirmationsinmantrasemimeditation(4)Fullmeditation.
107

Becauseheneedstogenerateenoughpowertoconcentratehismindonthishightopic,a
certaineconomyofenergiesisrequiredandanavoidanceofdistractions.
108

Thesamepowerofdirectingattentionandconcentratingthoughtwhichbindshimtothe
worldlyexistencecanbeusedtofreehimselffromit.
109

Thecultivatedandconcentratedfacultyofattentionbecomesthetoolwherewithhe
carriesonhisinnerworkuponhimself.
110

Thepreliminariesofmeditationmustnotbemistakenfortheactualmeditationitself.
Theyaremerelyoccupiedwiththeefforttobrushoffdistractionsandattainconcentrated
thoughtwhereasitiseffortless,continuousmentalquiet.Theycarrythemeditator
throughtheinitialperiodofsearchitisthehigherstateofconsciousnesswhichthey
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induce.
111

Suchintenseconcentrationcanabolishtimeandannihilatespaceinitthusreveries
demonstratetheirrelativityandtheirmentalness.
112

Ausefulexercisetohelpacquireconcentrationistoshuttheeyes,directattentiontoward
somepartofthebody,andholditthere.
113

Wemakeuseofconsciouseffortsonlyinordertoattainsubconsciouseffortwefixone
thoughtinmeditationonlyinordertoarriveatastatebeyondallthought.
114

Themind'sgreatcreativepotencyrevealsitselfinproportionasthemind's
concentrativenessdevelops.
115

NuritheDervishwasanadeptinmeditation.Whenaskedfromwhichmasterhehad
learntsuchskill,hesaidthatacatwatchingamousehadbeenhisguru.
116

Therearetwodifferentgazingpracticesusedbytheyogis.Thefirstrequiresthemtofix
theireyessteadilyontheendortipofthenosethesecondrequiresthemtofixitonthe
root.Thefirstleavestheeyelidsclosertogetherthanthesecond.Thereisathirdpractice
ofarelatedkindinwhichthegazeisdirectedtothecentreofthestomach,ornavel.
117

MeditationExerciseonPulseBeat:Takeholdoftheleftwristbetweenthumband
forefingerofrighthand.Locatethearterywherethecirculationofthebloodcanbefelt.
Concentrateattentiononthispulsebeatundividedly.
118

Thestateofconcentrationacquiredduringaworldlypursuitdiffersfromthatacquired
duringmysticalmeditationinthatthefirstisusuallydirectedtowardoutwardthingsand
theexperienceofsensepleasures,whereasthesecondisdirectedtowardinwardbeing
andrejectssensepleasures.Thusthetwostatesareatoppositepolesonebelongingto
theegoseekingman,andtheothertotheOverselfseekingman.
119

Whereasordinaryconcentrationkeepstheattentionstillturnedtowardoutwardthings
andsituations,thatconcentrationwhichattainsitsthirdstageistransformedinto
contemplation.Heretheattentionisentirelyinwardturnedandtowardtheheavenly
being,theholyofholiesthatistheOverself.
120

Therearetwowaysinwhichconcentrationispractised.Thefirstisunconsciousandis
usedbymanypersonstogettheirworkdonewhethertheybeengineersorartists.They
havetoholdtheirmindtothejob,thematter,orthedutyinhand.Thescientistmay
practiseit,too,inanalysingorinlogicallydevelopingatheoryorinlinkingupdifferent
ideas.Themeditatorusesconcentrationinadifferentwayifheisatthefirststage,which
istheconsciousanddeliberatepracticeofconcentration.Itisthenusedwithoutanalysis,
withoutdiscursivethought.Itissimplyheldtoasingleobjectoridea.Theattentionisnot
allowedtowanderawayintodevelopmentsofthatideaorobject.Inshort,the
connectionstootherthingsarenotmade.
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121

Concentration,fromthestandpointofmysticaldevelopment,mayberegardedas
achievedwhenattentioniskeptononeideaallthetime,withoutbeingdividedupover
severaldifferentideas.Itisnotachievedifkeptononesubjectallthetimethrough
consideringseveralrelatedideasthatis,ordinaryconcentratedthinking.
122

Hemusttrainhimselftopossessthepowertoconcentrate:first,onasinglelineof
thoughtstotheexclusionofallothersandsecond,onasinglethought.
123

Withthegradualsettlingdownofthoughtandbody,thementalstiffnesswhichresisted
concentrationdiminishes.Hewillbedistinctlyandvividlyawareofthisturningpoint
becauseoftheease,andevendelight,withwhichhismindwillnowfeelitsownexalted
power.
124

Thespirituallifeofmanatthisjunctureisabattleagainsttheoutwardrunningtendency
ofthemind.Toperceivethisinoneselfistoperceivehowweakonereallyis,howfeeble
avictimofworldlyactivities,howlackingintheabilitytoconcentrateperfectlyevenfor
fiveminutes,andhowunabletoholdtheattentionforthesamelengthoftimeinthe
impersonalembraceofaphilosophictheme.
125

TheSamuraiofoldJapanembodiedayogatechniqueinthefencinginstruction.The
novicehadtodevelopthepowerofmentalconcentration,andthenuseitbypicturing
himselfduringmeditationwieldingtheswordtoperfection.Thusthebodywasbroken
graduallytothewillofthemind,andbegantorespondwithrapidlightningstrokesand
placingsofthesword.ThefamousKatsu,whorosefromdestituteboytonational
leadershipofJapan'snineteenthcenturyawakening,wentnightafternighttoan
abandonedtemplewherehemingledregularmeditationwithfencingpracticeinhis
ambitiontobecomeoneofTokyo'smasterswordsmen.
126

Thispowertosustainconcentratedattentionuponasinglelineorobjectiveforalong
timeapowersogreatlyadmiredbyNapoleoncomesintheendtothosewhopersevere
inthesepractices.
127

Thefixedstatuelikepostureofthehunterwatchingapreycloseathand,refrainingfrom
movementlesthedisturbit,eyesandmindcompletelyintentontheanimal,gavetheyogi
seersanotherobjectlessonintheartofconcentration.
128

Hemakesthenovice'smistakeofassumingthatwhatisgoodforhim,necessaryforhim,
isequallygoodandnecessaryforothers.Butwhatisessentialformysticalexperienceis
onethingandonethingonlythefacultyoffixingone'sattentionwithinandsustainingit.
129

Throughityoueffectachangeinyourentirementalmakeup.Themindbecomes
increasinglyonepointed.Itisabletoformquickdecisions.Thosedecisionsareusually
correctbecauseallthefactsofthecaseareseenatonce,asinaflash.Itwillgiveyouan
airofdefinitepurpose,simplybecauseinyourexternallifeyouaremerelyworking
accordingtothepurposesplannedinquietude.Youreveryactbecomesmorerealand
vital.Yougatherselfconfidencebecauseyouconcentrateyourmindontheonethingyou
aredoing.
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130

Hispurposemustbeutterlyunified,absolutelysingleminded.
131

Theattainmentofreveriepassesthroughtwostagesalso.Inthefirst,themindislikea
littlechildtryingtowalkbutoftenfalling,fortheabstractedmoodisintermittentonly
andsoonlost.Inthesecondstage,themindislikeanadultwalkingsteadilyand
continually,fortheabstractedmoodremainsunbrokenandundisturbed.
132

Whenthemeditatortriestokeepoutallotherthoughtsexceptthechosenone,heputs
himselfuptoatension,astrainbecauseinmostcaseshesimplycannotdothisandthe
failurewhichisfinallyadmittedafterrepeatedeffortsthenhasadepressingand
discouragingeffectuponhisQuest.Therefore,otherandeasiermethodshavebeen
devisedforbeginnersasapreliminarytothemoredifficultpracticesofconcentration.
Suchmethodsincludethesteadygazingataphysicalpoint,object,orplaceuseofa
mantram,whichistheconstantrepetitionofawordorphraseorformulaShortPath
affirmationwhichisthedwellingmentallyandconstructivelyonametaphysicaltruthor
ethicalqualityofcharacterand,finally,thepracticeofcertainbreathingexercises.
133

Heimaginesapointuponthewallandconcentratesallhisbeinguponituntilheisaware
ofnothingelsebutthepoint.Allotherthoughtshavetobeemptiedoutofhismind,all
experienceofthephysicalsensesotherthanthissightofthepointhastovanish.
134

Itisausefulpractice,whenthethoughtsduringmeditationrefusetobeconcentrated,to
turnthem,too,overtotheHigherPowernomattertowhateventorperson,situationor
placetheystray.
135

Whenthecapacityforconcentrationisintensifiedandprolonged,themanisthenready
forthefurtherphasewhichismeditationassuch.
136

AsimpletechniqueformeditationwhichhasbeenusedinAsiasincethemostancient
timesavoidstheuseofanyhumanbeingoranysacredmantramastheobjectof
meditation.Thistechniqueinitsmostprimitiveformistotakeapieceofcharcoalandto
drawacircleorasquareonthewallofaroomandtheninthecentreofthepatterntoput
adot.Thestudentisthentoldtoconcentratehisgazeuponthedotandtothinkofnothing
else.Thepatternisusuallylargeenoughforhimtoseeitquiteplainlywhensittingayard
ortwooreventhreefromthewall.Nowadays,thesametechniqueisusedbymakingthe
diagramonplainwhitethickdrawingpaperandpinningthepapertothewall.
137

Thepracticeofusingaphysicalobjectuponwhichtogazeinordertoconcentrate
attentionduringmeditationmakesitmucheasierforthosewhoareattractedtoit.A
metaphysicianofKonigsberg,ImmanuelKant,usedthesamepracticewhenworkingout
hismetaphysicaltheories.Sittinginhisstudy,hewouldlookthroughthewindowandfix
hissightonaparticularfirtreewhichwasgrowingoutside.Onedayitwascutdownand
removedandforsometimethereafterKantfounddifficultyinholdinghislineofthought
withouttheaccustomedfirtreetogazeupon.Indeed,Kantwassuchacreatureofhabit
thateveryeveningpunctuallyatfiveo'clockhewouldtakehiswalk.Peopleinthecityof
Konigsbergusedtotimetheirwatchesbyhisappearanceinthestreet,becausehewas
invariablypunctualinstartinghiswalk.
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138

Forthosewhohavesetupahighspiritualidealandmoralcharacterforthemselvesand
whohaveacquiredsufficientknowledgethroughstudyorlecturesabouttheprinciples
andfundamentalsofyoga,thereisanexcellentexercisewhichwillhelpthemthroughthe
elementaryphasesofdevelopmentbuttootherswhoarehighlyneurotic,mentally
disturbed,approachingorunderpsychosis,itisnotonlynotrecommended,butwouldbe
dangerous.Thisexerciseistoconcentratealltheattentionupononeobjectinthe
surroundingsandtokeepitthere.Allassociatedideas,analysis,andthoughtsaboutthe
objectshouldbethrownout.Itisnotamatterofreflectingabouttheobject,butof
holdingitintheviewandinthemindtotheexclusionofeverythingelse.
Onecanbeginwithveryshortperiodsofpracticeandgoonslowlytolongerones,but
whensomeamountofsuccesshasbeenestablishedbytherigoroususeofwillpowerthe
objectshouldbechosenfromsomethingselevatingtothemindsuchasbeautifulmusic
orbeautifullandscape.Fortheelementaryphase,aboutfifteenminutesshouldbethe
maximum,butforthisupliftingphaseonemaygoonlonger.
139

Thepracticeofonepointedconcentrationofattentionforanypurposeofanordinaryor
worldlycharacterorprofessionalortechnicalnaturecanbecarriedtosuchafarpointthat
itwillinfluencethemindgenerally,sothatwheninthecourseoftimethepersonevolves
tohigheraimsandworthiergoalshehasreadytouseandtobringintohiseffortstoattain
thosegoalsthisconcentratedpowerofthemindwhichissovaluableandsonecessaryfor
hisinnergrowth.
140

Tosquintlightlyattherootofthenoseisanotherformofconcentration.Itisahelp
towardswithdrawingfromthephysicalsensesandenteringeitherthepsychicorthe
spiritualplanes.Thepsychicpicturesmaybeseenassymbolicorliteral,andclairvoyance
maydevelop.Ifthesemanifestationsarerejected,andattentionisdrawndeeperintothe
voidofspace,freedomandjoymaybefelt.Butiftheyareaccepted,thecreativefaculty
oftheartistisunfolded.
141

Meditationexercise(LamaDrati):Imagineawhitedotincentreofforeheadandkeep
attentionheldunmovinglyonitforonehour.Oryoucanplaceitinheart.Betterstill,
imaginethefigureofBuddhaprojectedinfrontofyou,radiatingwhitelight.Orplacethe
Buddhaminiaturesizedonyourhead.Allthesearecalledexercisestoattainonepointed
mind.Onlyafterthisattainmentcanyouproperlydothemoreadvancedexercises.
142

Whatconcentrationmeanstotheartistiswhatitmeanstothemystic.Onlyitsobjectis
different.ThelateSirHenryWood,conductoroftheLondonQueen'sHallConcerts,told
how,duringtheFirstWorldWar,heneverheard,whilstconducting,thesirenswarning
themetropolisofimpendingairraids.Thisiswhatraptabsorptionmeans.
143

Theartoffixingthemindinfreechoice,ofholdingthoughtsas,andwhen,onewills,has
yettobevaluedandpractisedasitoughttobeamongus.Overlookedanddisregardedas
ithasbeen,itislikeburiedtreasureawaitingthediggerandthediscoverer.
144

Itisimportanttogivethemindadefiniteideatoholdandmulloveroradefinitelineto
followandconcentrateon.Itmustbepositiveinthisearlystagebeforeitcansafely
becomepassiveinalaterstage.
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145

Themindcanbeinfluencedbythefivesensesonlywhenitattendstothem.
146

Atacertaindepthofpenetrationintohisinwardbeing,painofthebodyandmiseryofthe
emotionsareunabletoexist.Theydisappearfromthemeditator'sconsciousness.
147

Duringthefirstperiod,whichmayextendtohalfanhour,whennothingseemstohappen
andthelineofthoughtorawarenessiswobblyanduncertain,discouragement
irksomenessandimpatiencequiteoftenovercomethepractiser.Theymayinducehimto
abandonthesessionforthatday.Suchasurrendertodefeatismisunwise.Eveninthe
caseofthosewhohavepractisedforsomeyearsthetediousinitialwaitingperiodmay
stillhavetobeendured.Foritistheperiodduringwhichthoughtssettleslowlydownjust
asaglassofmuddywaterslowlyclearsasthemudsettlestothebottom.Theproper
attitudetoholdwhilethisprocesscontinuesispatience.Thisisquiteindispensable.
148

HowcanamanunifyhisconsciousnesswiththeOverselfwithoutfirstputtinghismind
undersomesortofatrainingtostrengthenit,sothathewillnotletgobutwillbeableto
holdonwhenaGlimpsecomes?
149

Whereattentionisbeingfixedlyheldonasingletopicbythepowerofastronginterestin
it,therewillbelittleregardgiventothepassageoftime.
150

Thoughtswilldriftpastineverchangingvariety,buthewilllearntogivethemno
attentioneventhoughheisawareofthem.
151

Theactofcontinuousconcentrationifcarriedonforsometimedrawsanextraand
unusualquantityofbloodtothebrain.Thiscausespleasurablesensationswhichmay
increasetoanecstaticdegree.
152

Thenasalgazemeditationexerciseisbotheasyandquieting.ItismentionedintheGita.
Thehalfclosedeyeslookdownonthetipofone'snose.Theymustnotwinkduringthe
gazeorbeclosed.Whentired,closethemandrest.Avoidstrain,staring,andpoppingthe
eyeswideopen.Theactionshouldbeoneofrelaxation,restful.Allattentionofanalert
andconcentratedmindshouldbefixedonthegazing.Thisexercisegivescontroloverthe
opticnerveandcontributestowardssteadinessofmind.
153

Withsufficient,welldirectedpractice,heshouldfixtheidealofbeingabletoattaina
capacityofwithdrawingattentionfromtheworldandconcentratingitwithinhimself
withoutlosingasingleminute.
154

Hisprogressintothedeeperstateisretardedif,whiletryingtoholdhisattentiononthe
chosentheme,heletssomeofitremainselfconsciouslyalertatthesametimetowhathe
isdoingandwhathissurroundingsarelike.
155

Anymethodwhichsettlestheminduponafixedsubject,orconcentratesattentionupona
singleobject,maybeused.Buttheresultmustbeelevatingandinaccordwithhis
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ultimatepurpose.
156

Withallattentiongatheredin,listentothebeatingoftheheart.
157

Whenthemindistooactiveandthoughtssucceedeachothertooquickly,asinthecase
ofverynervousorveryintellectualpersons,physicalmethodsareindicatedforpractice.
Thesemaybebreathingexercises,repetitionofasoundorlisteningtomusicofa
repetitivenature,gazingatalandscape,figure,workofart,orsymbolicpattern.
158

Meditationsucceedstotheextentthatattentioniscontrolledandturnedinward.When
thiscontrolbecomessointensivethatneithersoundsnorlightscanbreakit,its
concentrationiscomplete.
159

Howbeautifulisthatdetachmentfromunpleasantsurroundingswhichthecapacityto
intenselyconcentratebestows.Andthisisonlyoneofitsrewards.Efficiencyinstudying
anewsubjectisanother.
160

Thesecretofconcentrationis...practiseconcentration!Onlybyarduouseffortand
persistent,diligentendeavourstomasterhisattentionwillhefinallysucceedindoingso.
Noeffortinthisdirectioniswastedanditmaybedoneatanytimeoftheday.
161

Onecanturnamysticalexperienceofasmuchastwentyyearsago,orlonger,intofocus
forattentioninmeditation,andtherebyassistthememorytorecalleverydetailofit.
162

Thepracticeofisolatingconsciousnessandremainingcenteredinit,canbefollowed
whetherweareinsolitarymeditationoractiveintheworld.Inmeditationitbecomesthe
objectofthoughtsinactivityitbecomestheirbackground.Theeyescannotlookat
themselves,neithercanconsciousness:itisitselfthesubjectandcannotbeitsownobject.
Ifthethoughtsletthemselvesslipbackintoittheirsourcethestillnessofbeingis
experienced.Stayinginitisthepractice.
163

Thementaldetachmentneededforthisstudypermitshimtoshakeoffpersonalworries
andpettierdistractions.Whenhecanfullyconcentrateinhisthinking,sustainedand
unwanderingabsorptionispossible.
164

Itisnotessentialforthemeditatortobesosunkinhispracticeastobecomeentirely
heedlessofhissurroundings.
165

Hisattentionshould,intheory,bewhollyconcentratedonthissinglelineofthought.But
inpracticeitwillbesoonlyatbrokenintervals.
166

Yogademandsthatthemindoccupyitselfwithonethoughtoronecoherentlineof
thought,thatattentionbeheldfasttoit,whetheritbethethoughtofsomethingabstract
likeGodorthethoughtofsomethingconcretelikethecross.
167
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Throughsuchconcentrativethinking,wemayreachpeace.Itishard,certainly,andthe
handcuffedintellectwillstruggleinyourgrasplikeareluctantprisonernewlyarrested.
Youmustcontinuewithyourefforttodevelopconsciousconcentratedthoughtnomatter
howfumblingyourfirstforaysmaybe.
168

Theaimistosittheretotallyabsorbedinhisthoughtor,atamoreadvancedlevel,rigidly
concentratedinhislackofit.
169

Theword"centre"isapurelymysticalterm:itisunphilosophical.Whereisthe
possibilityofacentralpointinthemindwhichissounlimited?Butforpractisingmystics
seekingtoretirewithin,thecentreisanexcellentgoaltoaimat.
170

Couldoneoftheseyogispractisehismeditationwhileassailedbythedeafeningnoiseof
asteelgirderrivettingmachineoperatingoutsidehiscave?Isitpracticabletofollowthe
adviceoftheMaharishee,whichIheardhimgiveawouldbemeditatorcomplaining
aboutbeingbittenbymosquitoes,toignorethem?Letitbenotedthatnopersonwhois
tryingtopractisethisartcouldbedistractedifhedidnotattendtothesenseaffected,
whetheritbehearingarousedbyamachineorfeelingarousedbyamosquito.
171

Shuttingtheeyesisonlythefirststeptowardshuttingallthesenses.Thatinitsturnis
onlyasteptowardsthestillhardertaskofshuttingoutallthoughtsandallordinary
everydayfeelings.
172

Thefivesensesserveuswellintheordinaryhoursofactuallifebuttyrannizeoverus
whenwetrytotranscenditandenterthespirituallife.
173

Withinafewminutesofstartingtheexercisetheyfeelexhausted.Theeffortto
concentratethemindishardenoughbuttoconcentrateandintrovertitatthesametimeis
toomuchforthem.
174

Theancientyogatextsenjoinconcentrationofasteadfastgazeuponasmallobjectuntil
theeyesbegintoshedtears.Theresultofsuchpracticesisacatalepticstateinwhichthe
mindbecomesfixedandunmovingwhilethebodybecomesstiffaswood.
175

Itisnotenoughtocarrytheconcentratedawarenessawayfromoutwardthings:itmust
thenbekeptthere.Thisalsoishard,becausealltendenciesrebelatfirst.
176

Hisattentionmustbeabsoluteandperfectifitistobeeffectualandcreativeinproducing
thisresult.
177

Concentrationrequiresacapacityforcontinuousattention.
178

Attentionmustnotwaver,thoughtmustnotwander.Thisistheideal,ofcourse,andis
notapproached,letalonereached,untilafterlongpractice.
179
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Tokeeptheattentionawayfromanyotherthanthechosensubjectistheworkofthisfirst
stage.Thebetterthisissustained,thedeeperisthepenetrationintothesubject.
180

Whateverdistractsattentionopenlyandviolently,likethepassionsorsubtlyand
insidiously,likecuriosityorpreoccupiesitwithcaresandanxieties,likebusiness,is
likelytointerferewiththemindduringpracticesessionseitherinconcentrationor
exaltation.
181

Againandagainhewillhavetocollecthisthoughtsandbringhisattentiontothecentral
point.
182

SomeoftheoldBuddhistmonks,thehistoriessay,reachedsamadhisimplybysteadfast
gazinguponthefloor.
183

Allthatliesonthemarginofattentionmayremainthere.
184

Thereisnodoubtthat,initsearlyphases,theartofmeditationmakesdemandsformore
concentrationthanmostpersonspossess,thattheysoontireunlesstheirenthusiasm
continues.
185

Fixingthegazeuponaspotmarkedonawalloranobjectnearorfar,isonlya
preliminarytofixingthemindonathought.
186

Whenconsciousnessisdeliberatelyturnedawayfromtheworldanddirectedinwardto
itself,andwhenthisconditionissteadilymaintainedbyapurifiedperson,theresultisa
realone.
187

Thestageofconcentrationisevaluatedashavingbeenestablishedwhenitcanbe
sustainedlongenoughtoletattentionbecomesufficientlyabstractedfromsurroundings,
sufficientlyabsorbedinthementalobject,andforthepracticeitselftobeeasy,
unhindered,attractive.
188

Toachievethiskindofconcentrationwhereattentioniswithdrawnfromtheouterworld
andheldtightlyinitself,adeterminedattitudeisneededofnotstoppinguntilthissharply
pointedstateisreached.Allotherthoughtsarerejectedintheverymomentthatthey
arise.IfatthestartthereisaspirationanddevotiontowardtheOverself,andinthecourse
oftheefforttoo,theneventuallythestressfallsawayandtheStillnessreplacesit.
189

Hewhoisunwillingtoendureconcentrationsustainedtothepointoffatiguewillnotbe
abletopenetratetothedeeplevelwheretruthabides.Butwhenhedoessucceed,the
fatiguevanishes,anintenseexhilarationreplacesit.
190

Whenheisgoingtopractiseanyexercisewhethermysticalorphysicalhismindshould
bethoroughlyconcentratedonitandnotonanythingelse.Allthoughtandenergyshould
gointoit,ifitistobesuccessfullydone.
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191

Whenconcentrationattainsitseffectivestate,theevertossingmentalwavessubsideand
theemotionalperturbationsbecomestill.Thisisthepsychologicalmomentwhenthe
mysticnaturallyfeelsexaltation,peace,andsuperearthliness.Butitisalsothe
psychologicalmomentwhen,ifheiswise,heshouldturnawayfromrevellinginpersonal
satisfactionatthisachievementand,penetratingyetdeeper,strivetounderstandtheinner
characterofthesourcewhencethesefeelingsarise,strivetounderstandpureMind.
192

Tobringhisscatteredthoughtstoheel,togiveundividedattentiontotheintuitivefeeling
whichwouldleadtothesecretspiritualselfthisisthefirsttask.
193

Ifitistoprofithim,thestudentmustnotallowhismeditationtobecomenebulousand
vague.
194

Thewill,drivingtheattentiontoafinepinpointofconcentration,sinksthroughlayer
afterlayerofthemindtillitreachesthenoblest,thewisest,andthehappiestofthemall.
195

Itwouldbeaseriouserrortobelievethatheistocontinuewithanyparticularexerciseor
chosentheme,withanyspecialdeclarationoranalysisorquestion,nomatterwhat
happensinthecourseofasession.Onthecontraryifatanymomenthefeelstheonsetof
deeperfeelings,orstrongeraspirations,ornotablepeace,heoughttostoptheexerciseor
abandonthemethodandgivehimselfupentirelytotheinteriorvisitant.Heoughttohave
nohesitationandnofearinconsideringhimselffreetodoso.
196

Whenthisgentleinwardpullisfelt,concentrateallattention,allfeeling,andalldesire
uponit.Giveyourselfuptoit,foryouarereceivingavisitationfromtheLord,andthe
moreyoudoso,thecloserHewillcome.
197

Thisisthestageofadoration,whentheOverself'sbeautyandtranquillitybegintotake
possessionofhisheart.Heshouldthenceasefromanyfurtherthinkingdiscursivelyabout
itorcommuningverballywithit.Itisatimeforcompleteinnersilence.Lethimengage
himselfsolelyinbeholding,loving,andeventuallyunitingwiththegracioussourceof
thesefeelings.
198

Thereisadistinctfeelingofsomethinglikeavalveopeningintheregionoftheheart.
199

Whenthatdelicatefeelingcomesoverhim,heshouldholdontoitwithallhis
concentrativenessandallhiscollectedness.
200

Thereisacrucialtimeinthemeditationsessionwhenthemeditatorgoesintoreverseasit
wereinsteadofintensifyinghisattentionontheideaorobject,imagery,orsound,helets
goinsurrenderandrests.Butitisnotarestinegocentricity.Allhasbeenhandedoverto
thehigherSelftowhomhenowfeelsclose.Onlyatthispointisheconcentrated,calm,
ready,andreceptivetotheDivinity.
201

Themomenthefeelsthebeginningsofanymovementtowardstheindrawingofthought
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andfeelingawayfromexternals,heshouldatoncerespondtoitandletattentionfall
deeperanddeeperintohimself,evenifforonlyfiveminutes.Thisisimportantbecause
ofthecurrentsofGracewhicharebeingtelepathicallytransmittedtohiminfulfilmentof
theexistingrelationship.
202

IfheiswillingtosubmittotheOverself'sgentledrawing,hemustfirstbeableto
recognizeitforwhatitis.
203

Thesensationofbeingdrawngentlyinsidewillbefelt.
204

Heistopushattentionfromoutsidehimselftoinside.Heisthentopushawayextraneous
thoughtswhileheconcentratesonthefeelingsearchforhisinnermostself.
205

Betterthananyotherpracticeisthisdeepinsearching.
206

Consciousnessmustfocusitselfinwarduponascertainingitsownsourcetotheexclusion
ofeverythingelse.
207

Themoreheinternalizeshisattention,andthelessherespondstothesenseimpressions,
thenearerhedrawstothespiritualpresenceinhisheart.
208

ThedivineatomisthatpartofthebodywithwhichtheOverselfismostdirectly
associated,andthatiswhyitisplacedintheheart,butofcourse,theOverselfis
associatedwiththewholebody.Thereisascientificexplanationwhytheheartisthe
spiritualcentreofthebodyandwhythebrainisthementalcentre,andthisisgivenin
TheWisdomoftheOverself.
209

Hisdetermined,onepointedattentionkeepsgoingdowndeeperanddeeperintohisown
being.

Varietiesofpractice
210

Therearevariouspracticalmethodsofachievingthecombinedaimofrememberingthe
divineandconcentratingonthedivine.Mantramrepetitionisoneofthem.Theyare
mostlyelementaryandwellsuitedtoaspirantswhoareatanearlystageofdevelopment.
Buttheseaspirantscannotstaytherealways.Thetimecomeswhentheymustseekand
struggleforahigherstage.Fullenlightenmentcancomeonlytothefullydeveloped.
211

Althoughtherearesomegeneralfeaturescommontomosttechniques,thereisalsoin
eachcasesomethingwhichispersonallyneededtosuittheparticulartemperament,
character,andstatus.
212

Eachmethodismerelyapointofdeparture,notaplaceorarrival.Itisafocussingof
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thoughtsuponaspecialobjectorsubjectwithaviewtotravellinglaterbeyondall
thoughtsintothestageofcontemplation.
213

Mostofthesetechniquesarepreliminary,intendedtobringthemindintoonepointed
concentration.Theydonotleadtotherealenlightenment.
214

Thereisnoobjectiontoelementarymethodsoflearningtoconcentrate,thatis,to
mantram,affirmation,andbreathcontrolprovideditisrecognizedthattheyare
elementaryandthereforehavetheirlimitations.Butwhen,asissooftenthecase,thisis
notknown,notunderstood,ornotthoughttobecorrect,thenillusionsanddeceptionsare
fostered.Oneoftheillusionsisthatenlightenment,Truth,reality,hasbeenattained.One
ofthedeceptionsisthatthistechniqueisallthatneedstobedone.
215

Wehavetriedtoformulatemethodsandtoadaptexerciseswhichwillenablethemodern
mantocomeintothistranscendentalconsciousnesswithoutdesertingtheworldand
withoutbecomingavotaryofasceticism.
216

Itisavaluableexerciseforthosewhoarerepelledbyallexercises,toreachbackin
memoryandimagination,insurrenderandlove,tosomegrandraremomentofmystical
insight.Theywillnotberepelledbythisone,foritissosimplethatitcanhardlybe
classifiedamongtheexercises.Andyetitis,withavalueimmenselydisproportionateto
itssimplicity.
217

Thestudentshouldnotfeelboundtofollowrigidlyadevotionalmeditationalprogram
laiddown,asitneedsmustbe,ongenerallinestosuitavarietyofpeople.Heshouldfeel
freetoexpresshisindividualitybyimprovisingadditionsoralterationsinitshoulda
strongpromptingtodosocometohim.
218

Alltheserulesandsuggestionsareforbeginners.Intheendhewillhavetolearntobe
abletopractiseinanyplaceandatanytime.
219

Lethimexperimentwithmanydifferentexercisesandsolearnwhichonessuithimbest
andhelphimmost.
220

Allthesemethodsaresimplymechanicaldevicesforthrowingtheconsciousmindoutof
gear.
221

Noneoftheelementarymethodsofyogasuchasbreathcontrolandmantramleadtoa
permanentcontrolofthemind,buttheypreparethewayandmakeiteasiertotakeup
thosepracticeswhichdoleadtosucharesult.
222

Sofarasmeditationisaffectedbytheirhiddenoperation,thetendenciesdrawoneperson
byonewayandothersbyanother.Thereisnosingleroad.Thosewhofailtoadvancein,
orareunattractedby,discursivemeditation,mayusemantrams,symbols,andforms
instead.
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223

WhethertheseekerusesaTibetanmandala(spirituallysymbolicpicture)toconcentrate
on,oranIndianmantram(continuousmentalormutteredrepetitionofaverbalformula),
theendresultwillbeanindrawnstateofconsciousness,abstractedfromtheoutside
world,orelseadeeperandmoresustainedremembranceofGod.Liketheotheryoga
methods,theyaredevicestoachieveonepointednessofmind.
224

Whenselectinganexerciseforpracticeitiswelltobeginwithonethatcomeseasiestto
him.
225

Anewexercise,theme,orpracticeinmeditationwillnaturallyneedmoretimethanan
oldfamiliarone.
226

ThemethodoftheMaharishiMaheshYogicannotleadtoenlightenmentbytruth,butit
canleadtoaverypleasurabletemporaryquietingofthemind.
227

Explanationsoftheyogicchakras:Heshouldtreatthemforjustwhattheyare,pointsin
thephysicalbodyuponwhichtoconcentratethemind.Asheprogressesinwardly,he
movesuptothenexthigherchakrabutthiskindofconcentrationyogaisnotordinarily
recommended.Itbelongstoaspecialyogawhichseekstheawakeningofthespiritfire
andthatisariskyundertaking.
228

InTibetanBuddhistinitiationsofcertainschools,themasteruseshissceptretotouch
thosecentreswhicharespeciallysensitivetoreceivethemysticpowerheistransmitting
amongthem.Aftertouchingtheheadandbreast,theimportanceofthenervecentreatthe
napeoftheneckisrecognizedbyreceivingthethirdtouch.
229

Aftersomepractice,hewilllessandlessconsciouslythinkofthetechniqueandmoreand
moreinstinctivelyfollowit.
230

Themostbalancedprocedureistoalterthethemesandexercisesfromtimetotimeto
meetthedifferentrequirementsofhisallrounddevelopmentaswellasthedifferent
intuitiveurgesandpassingmoodswhichmaymanifestthemselves.
231

Theadvocacyofmeditationinanonspiritualmedicopsychologicalformwouldprobably
meetthesituationofanumberofindividuals.However,thereoughttobe,sidebyside
andalongwithit,anotherefforttoadvocatemeditationinareligiousandaspirational
formforthesakeofotherindividualswhoarereadytoemergefromnarroworthodoxy,
butstillwishtokeeptheirreligiousfaith.Inbothcases,itisnecessarytopointoutthatall
kindsofmeditationmustbesafeguardedbysomeeffortatselfpurificationandat
strengtheningintellectualbalance.Otherwiseitmaydoharmaswellasgood.
232

Eventhelargerangeofpossiblemeditationsuponspiritualprinciples,mentalideas,
imaginedpicturesandphysicalobjectsdoesnotexhaustthelist.Hemayusehisown
body,too.Thegazemaybeconcentratedbetweentheeyebrows,downthenose,orupon
thenavel.Theprocessofbreathingmaybecloselywatched.
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233

Theinstructionsanddirectionswhichareoffirstimportancemustbeseparatedfrom
thosewhicharemerelysecondinimportance,orconfusionwillresult.
234

Discussionofthemethodsofmeditation,andcriticalscrutinyofitsnatureandresultscan
onlybeofvalue,ifnotofinterest,tothehandfulofinitiateswhohavepractisedoneof
themethodsandexperiencedsomeoftheresults.Allotherswillbedependentonwhat
theyhaveheardorreadaboutmeditation.Tothemsuchdiscussionandsuchscrutinywill
beeitherincomprehensibleorunprofitableorbewildering.
235

Acontinuousringingoflargeheavyoldchurchbells,ifintentlyconcentratedupon,may
produceinapersonappreciativeofthemusicinthem,asuitablestartingpointfor
introvertingattention.
236

Themethodsusedtoinducethisabsorbedtrancelikestatehavebeenasmanyastheyare
varied,fromtheloudbulllikeroarsofthePasupatayogistotheaestheticwhirlingsofthe
Mevlevidervishes.
237

Thewitchdoctorwho,orwhoseassistant,beatsoutarhythmonhisdrumaccomplishesa
concentrationofmindalullingofthesensesandarecessionfromtheworldforhis
hearers,toafartherextentthantheywouldhavebeenabletoaccomplishforthemselves
alone.
238

Thereareexerciseswhichleadtothishigherconsciousness.Bythepowerofwillthey
concentrateattentionbypursuinganelevatedtopictheybringthelattertomeditationby
patientlyandperseverantlydroppingthewillwhichservedsowell,theyattainthe
stillnessofcontemplation.
239

Someofthesetechniquesmakethemindnumbandthusarrestthinking:theyarenotonly
veryelementarybutalsoinferior.Butfornumbersofpeopletheyaretheeasiestwaysand
themostresultful.Theyhavetobeusedbysuchpersonsassteppingstones,notas
permanenthomes.
240

Therearevariouswaysusedbyvariousseekersofputtingtheconsciousmindoutof
ordinaryaction.Thewayofthosedervisheswhotwirlaroundontheirfeetand,atthe
sametime,spinaroundinalargercircle,isoneofthem.Theyeventuallygetvertigoand
falltotheground.Theyswoon,andthereaftermaygetaglimpse.
241

Thetrueinneruseofthekoaniscorrectandlaudable.Themistakeistomakeitspractice
acauseofanxietyandstress.No.Itshoulddevelopsmoothly,thinkingharmoniouslyand
evenlogically,andthusreachtheinevitablerecognitionthatintellectcangonofurther.
Sotheintellectstopsworking,resignsitself,andlo,actsnomore(WuWeiinaction).
Themanthenwaitspatientlyandpeacefullyandacceptantly.Theresultisnolongerin
hishands.Itmustbenowentrustedtohigherpower.
242

Wheremeditationusesthoughtsorimageslogicalsequentialthoughts,orsymbolicalor
realisticimagesitisstilltheworkofthemanhimselfandthereforewithintheego.
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243

Astowhethermeditationshouldbeginwithmentalconcentrationormentalstillness,
eachpracticeisadvisableatdifferenttimesorduringdifferentphasesofone's
development.Inthecourseofayear,thestudentmaydevotehisworkduringsome
monthstobeginningwiththefirstandduringothermonthswiththesecond.Itisnot
possibletogeneralizeaboutwhichoneisbetterduringanyparticularperiodthisdepends
entirelyonindividualcircumstances.Thebestwaytofindoutistomakeanimpersonal
selfexamination,andthenfollowone'sownintuition.
244

ThecreatoroftheOrderofWhirlingDervishesusedthegyratorymovementsanddance
concentrations,withreedpipemusicalaccompaniments,tobringthemintothemystical
experience.Thisispossiblebecausebodyandmindreactuponeachother.Toalesser
extentbutinadifferentway,thesameprincipleisusedinhathayoga.Bothmethodsare
intendedtoreachandawakenpeoplewhowouldfindthesolelymental,physically
immobilemeditationtoodifficult.
245

Theycomplainaboutthenoiseoutsidetheirmeditationroombutthenoiseoftheirego
insideitislouder.Theirtechniquesareusefulandpreparatorybutunlessaccompaniedor
followedbydiscrimination,knowledge,understanding,theyfailtorootouttheego,only
lullingitandtyingthemtotheespousedsystem,dogma,orcredo.
246

Thedifferentyogasaretransitoryphaseswhichtheseekermustdevelopandthen
outgrow.
247

Thosewhofeeltheneedofoutwardritualandsacramentalserviceshouldsatisfyit,but
thosewhofindsimplemeditationwithnothingaddedmoreattractivemayprogressin
theirownway.
248

Ifsomeofthedisciplinesarenolongerpracticalundertheconditionsofpresentday
living,othersarestilluseful.
249

Thewellknownhelpstoconcentrationsuchasrosaries,mandalas,geometricaldiagrams,
candleflamesinthedarkness,and,mostpopularofall,amantrammaybeusedby
beginnersbuttheyarenotnecessarytofairlyadvancedstudents.
250

Techniqueshouldsuittemperament.
251

Thereisavailableforusallatechnicalmethodinwhichmaybefoundthemeansto
achievetherefulgentmoodsofmysticalinspiration.
252

Itisneitherrightorwrongtotrytosuppressthoughtsinmeditationexercises:what
mattersistofitwhatisattemptedtotheparticularobjectoftheparticularexercise.So
therearetimestoletthoughtsmoveandtimestoreinthemin.
253

Thepracticeoftratak[continuousgazing]isintendedtomaketheyogiblindtoexternal
scenesbyattendingtoasingleobjectthepracticeofshabdayogaisintendedtorender
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himdeaftoexternalsoundsbyattendingtoasinglesoundandwithsightsandsoundscut
off,heiswellnighcutofffromthewholeexternalworld.Thusthesesystemsofyogaare
nootherthantechniquesforinducingaconcentratedinwardturnedstate.
254

DalaiLamaonTibetantantra:"YoupushupForcethroughspinethenleanbackward
mentallytomeetit."
255

Tothealternativesofthinkingwiththeheadandthinkingwiththeheart,theJapanese
Zenmasteroffersathirdchoice:"Thinkwiththeabdomen,"headvisesthepractiserof
koanmeditationexercises.TheTibetanTantrikmastersofferevenafourthchoice:
"Thinkwiththegenerativeorganandsublimateitsfeelings."TheAdvaitaVedantinsgo
stillfarther."Thinkquiteabstractly,notofthebodyatall,"theycounsel.Shouldallthis
notshowthatnomethodisofexclusiveimportance?
256

TheEasternChurchused,amongotherHesychasticmethodsofmakingmeditationmore
successful,thepressingofthechinagainstthechest.
257

OnceaprofessoratleadingIndianuniversities,andthenonattainmentofindependencea
ministerintheIndiangovernment,thelateRadhakumudMukerjeewasacodiscipleof
thesameguruwhosentYogananda,founderofS.R.F.,toAmerica!Oncewhenwe
meditatedtogether,Mukerjeeswayedashesat,movingheadandshouldersfromleftto
rightinacircularfashion.Atfirstthisrotationwasquiteslow,butitpickedupalittle
speedasitwenton.
258

VoodoomusiciansandAfricanwitchdoctorsusetherhythmicbeatingofdrumstoinduce
eitherthetrancestateoremotionalcrescendos.
259

Thedesertfathers,theEgyptianeremites,havetheirIndianequivalents.Meditation
withoutphilosophy,withoutinstruction,withoutknowledge,produceswidelyand
strangelydifferentresultsindifferentpeople.
260

Someoftheseoldyogaswerecurious,somealluring,andothershorrible.Thusone
requiredhimtolethisbodyenterregularlyintosexualintercoursebuttothinkallthe
timeabouttheact'sanimaluglinessandevilconsequences.Hewastodothisuntilthe
sightofanakedfemalebodyarousedrevulsion,itswhitegleaminglimbsseemedmore
hideousthanattractive,anditsinvitationtocoitusfilledhimwithdisgust.Another
methodrequiredhimtositonafreshcorpseinthepitchdarknessofacemeteryat
midnightandthinksolelyofthequalityoffearlessness.TheseapparentlywereIndian
versionsoftheattempttotakethekingdomofheavenbyviolence.InBengalandTibet
theyarestillpractisedbysomefanatics.Yetmoreaspirantsarelikelytofailwiththem
thansucceed.Intheoneyoga,suchfailureswouldresultingreatersensualitythanbefore
andintheotheringreaterfearthanbefore.Neverthelesstheireffectivenessmaybe
granted.But,weask,isitnotbetterforcivilizedmodernseekerstousemorerefinedand
lessdrasticmethods?
TheNotebooksarecopyright19841989,ThePaulBruntonPhilosophicFoundation.

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