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Chapter4:MeditativeThinking

MeditativeThinking
Thepathofinspiredintellect
1

Thenexttypeofmeditationistheanalytic.Itmaydealwithpersonalexperience,general
events,universallaws,thenatureofman,andtherealityofsoul,butalwaysitseeksby
analysisandreflectiontounderstand.
2

Inthistypeofreflectivemeditation,criticalthinkingisnotbanishedbutisilluminatedby
theOverself'slight.Itisthepathofinspiredintellect.Itisextremelyvaluablebecauseit
canrevealtherightpathtotakeinpracticalaffairsandtherightcoursetotakeinmoral
ones.Itisequallyvaluableforextractingthelessonsoutofpastexperience.
3

Thetopicselectedforpracticemaybequitepersonaltobeginwith,providedthatitis
suitabletohelpbringaboutselfimprovementofapositivekindsuchasremovingfaults
andcultivatingvirtues.Butthisisonlypreparatory,sinceitisstillconcernedwiththeego
anddesignedtoimproveconcentration.Whenexperienceandregularpracticehave
reachedasufficientdevelopment,thenthetopicshouldbeonewhichmakeshimfeel
highlyreverentialandshouldbedirectedtotheOVERSELFnottotheego,notevenfor
theego'simprovementspiritually.
4

AcleardistinctionhastobemadebetweenthinkingaboutGodandtheexperienceof
God.Eachhasitsplace.Thinkingandevaluatingtakeplaceontheintellectuallevelone
shouldnotlimitoneselftothatbutshouldtrytoarriveattheinnerstillness,the
experienceoftheOverselfduringmeditation.Thereshouldbeaclearsenseofthe
differencebetweenthesetwo.Thepilingupofthoughts,howeverreasonabletheyare,
actsonlyasasignaltheypointoutwhichwaytogo,butattheenddropthem.
5

Itisnotmerelyanintellectualexercise.Allthepietyandreverenceandworshipgained
fromreligionareneededheretoo.WemustprayconstantlytotheSoultorevealitself.
6

Whenthinkinghasdoneitsbestwork,reacheditsloftiestpoint,itshouldrelaxandcease
itsactivity.Ifallelsehaspreparedtheway,themindwillbereadytoenterthesilence,to
acceptatakeoverbytheOverself.
7

Inthistypeofmeditation,theintellectmustthink,firstaboutitselfandsecondaboutwhat
isbeyonditself.Thischangeofthoughtbecomesasteppingstonetoachangeof
consciousness.
8

TheoldQuakerfamilymorningcustomofreadingaloudapassagefromtheBible,and
followingitbyaperiodofmeditativesilence,isausefulpointer.Anybookthatinspires
maybereadvocallythenshutandponderedquietlyanysentencethatholdsandexalts
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attentionmaybemadethesubjectofslow,graveutterancefollowedbysilent
concentratedrumination.Anyword,attribute,name,orphrasethatenshrinesspiritual
truthmaybeaffirmedinspeechandafterwardcontemplatedinhush.
9

Vicharameansdiscursivethinking,soatmavicharameansthinkingone'swayintothe
realself.
10

Toshortentheperiodofreincarnations,thoughtisneeded:first,analyticreflectionabout
thepastsecond,imaginativereflectionaboutthefuture.
11

Allpossessthepowerofreflectionbutfewuseit.Whenthispoweristurnedoutwardly,
welookuponthephysicalbody,itsorgansandsenses,asourselfandsoplungeintothe
bustlingactivityofthisworldwithouthesitation.Butifthissamepowerofreflectionbe
turnedinwardly,webegintoforgetouractivitiesandtoloseknowledgeofthephysical
bodyanditsenvironment.Forwebecomesodeeplyindrawnintotheworldofthought
thatforthetimebeingthisinnerworldbecomesforustherealworld.Thusweareled
graduallybyrepeatingthispracticetoidentifyourselveswiththemindalone,tolook
uponourselvesasthoughtbeings.
12

Inthistypeofmeditationtheactivityofthinkingisnotrejected.Onthecontrary,itis
deliberatelyaccepted,foritscharacterundergoesamarkedchange.Atacertainstage,
whenconcentrationthoroughlyestablishesitself,someforcethatisdeeperthanthe
familiarpersonalselfrisesupfromwithinitselfandimposesacontinuousstreamof
sequential,illuminedthoughtsupontheconsciousness.
13

Whatareliefforaman,harassedbyanxietiesandfrustratedbyburdens,toturntowards
thesegreatimpersonalveritiesandconsiderthemintheserenemoodofthetwilight
meditationorthesunriseworship.
14

Deepreflectivethinkingispresentbehinddeepimpersonalthinking.
15

Ourrichestmomentsarethosespentindeepreverieuponthedivinerthings.
16

Atdifferentperiodsinhiscareertherewillbetheneedofandconsequentlythe
attractiontodifferentsubjectsformeditation.Thus:thebeautyofaflower,theugliness
ofacorpse,theattributesofasage,theinfinitudeofspace,thechangesofadolescence,
middle,andoldage.
17

Thishabitofpersistentdailyreflectiononthegreatverities,ofthinkingaboutthenature
orattributesoftheOverself,isaveryrewardingone.Frombeingmereintellectualideas,
theybegintotakeonwarmth,life,andpower.
18

TheOverselftakeshisthoughtsaboutit,limitedandremotethoughtheyare,andguides
themcloserandclosertoitsownhighlevel.Suchilluminedthinkingisnotthesameas
ordinarythinking.Itsqualitativeheightandmysticaldepthareimmenselysuperior.But
whenhisthoughtscangonofarther,theOverself'sGracetouchesandsilencesthem.In
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thatmomentheknows.
19

Thebookswhichlivearethosewrittenoutofthisdeepunionwiththetrueselfbymen
whohadovercomethefalseself.Onesuchbookisworthathousandwrittenoutofthe
intellectaloneorthefalseegoalone.Itwilldomoregoodtomorepeopleformoreyears.
Thestudentmayusesuchawork,therefore,asabasisforameditationexercise.Its
statements,itsideas,shouldbetakenonebyone,putintofocusforhismindtoworkon.
20

Aninspiredwritingismorethansomethingtobereadforinformationorinstructionit
givesamanfaith,itbecomesasymboltowhichhecanholdandfromwhichhecandraw
arenewaloftrustintheuniverse.Itisthistrustwhichmakeshimdenyhimselfand
inspireshimtoreachbeyondhimself.Forhismindtofastenitselftosuchawriting,
therefore,andtouseitasafocusformeditation,isunconsciouslytoinvokeandreceive
thegraceoftheilluminedmanwhobroughtthewritingtobirth.
21

Intheseinspiredwritings,wemaylookfortwodistinctivequalities:thepowerto
stimulatethoughtandthepowertoupliftcharacter.Inthefirstcaseweshallfindthema
seedbedofideaswhichcanbearamplefruitinourmindsinthesecondcasethereis
impartedtoreadingsomeflavouroftheunshakeablemoralstrengthwhichtheinspired
writersthemselvespossess.
22

Lethimdwelluponsomepiecefromaninspiredwritingorthinkoutthemeaningof
someeternalverity.Lethimdothiswiththeutmostattentiveness.Suchmeditationwill
notonlyenablehimtoadvanceinconcentrativenessbutwillalsoprofithimmentallyand
morally.
23

Ifhecanrespondtothesegreatinspiredutterances,ifhecanlethisthoughtworkover
themintherightwayandlethisemotionbesusceptibletotheirinnerdynamism,his
intenseconcentrationwillenablehimtoshareatleastthereflectedlightbehindtheir
creator,thelightitself.
24

Thereisasensitivityandadepthinsuchworkswhicharetrulyremarkable,apower,a
light,andaheattoinspiretheirreaderswhichisbornfromgenius.
25

Whenthoughtisthustrainedtoitsuttermostpointandwhenitisetherealizedbydwelling
onthemostabstracttopic,itleapsoutofitself,asitwere,transcendsandtransformsitself
andbecomesintuition.
26

Paragraphsthatarebornandwritteninthishigherconsciousnessarelastingones,like
manyofthevigorousscripturalsayings.
27

Themeditationsonthe"I,"ontransiency,ongoodandevil,andonsufferingarebutfor
beginners.Theydonotrequirethesubtletyneededforultramysticmeditation.
28

ThethoughtoftheOverselfmayeasilyopenthegatewhichentersintoitsawareness.
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29

Thedifferencebetweenthefirststage,concentration,andthesecondstage,meditation,is
likethedifferencebetweenastillphotographandacinemafilm.Inthefirststage,you
centreyourattentionuponanobject,justtonotewhatitis,initsdetails,parts,and
qualities,whereasinthesecondstage,yougoontothinkallaroundandabouttheobject
initsfunctionalstate.Inconcentration,youmerelyobservetheobjectinmeditation,you
reflectuponit.Thedifferencebetweenmeditationandordinarythinkingisthatordinary
thinkingdoesnotgobeyonditsownlevelnorintendtostopitself,whereasmeditation
seekstoissueforthonanintuitionalandecstaticlevelwhereonthethinkingprocesswill
itselfceasetofunction.
30

ThebetterkindofthinkingisthatwhichisdirectedtotheideaoftheOverself.Itreaches
aculminationwhenthethinkerisabsorbedsofullyintotheideathatheandthethought
slipawayinto,andremainundistractedfrom,theactualconsciousnessoftheOverself.
31

Thoughtsmaybeahindrancetomeditationmerelybytheirpresenceor,ifoftheproper
kind,ahelptoit.Andtheonlyproperkindisthatwhichleadsthemtolooktowardthe
consciousnesswhichtranscendsthem.
32

Thesearchforfirstcauses,whendoneonlyintellectuallyandmetaphysically,may
becomeashadow,oralookingglassimageoftherealsearch.Forthismust,andcanonly
bedone,onadeeperleveltheintuitive.Theprocesstobeusedismeditation.
33

Inmeditationoneshouldfollowthepathpointedoutbyhistemperament.Heshould
strivetothinkhisownthoughtsandnotalwaysechothoseofothers.
34

Itisnotenoughtolearntheseteachingsbystudyandanalysisofthem.Theyshouldalso
beallowedtoworkunhindereduponpassive,receptive,stillmoodsofthesilenced
intellect.
35

Uponthosewhoaresensitivetotruthatahighlevel,thesestatementshaveastrongand
peculiareffect.Thereisdeepawe,asifstandingbeforeamysticshrine,reverentialjoy,
asifbeholdingnewmosaictablets.Thereis,indeed,afeelingofbeingabouttoreceive
staggeringrevelations.
36

Thatathemeformeditationshouldbeformulatedintheinterrogativeisatoncean
indicationthatthekindofmeditationinvolvedisintellectual.WhatamI?isasimple
questionwithacomplexanswer.
Inthisexerciseyouwillrepeatedlythinkofwhatyoureallyareasdistinctfromwhatyou
seemtobe.Youwillseparateyourselfintellectually,emotionally,andvolitionallysofar
asyoucanfromyourflesh,yourdesires,andyourthoughtsasbeingobjectsofyour
consciousnessandnotpureconsciousnessitself.Youwillbeginbyaskingyourself"Who
amI?"and,whenyoucomprehendthatthelowernaturecannotbetherealyou,goonto
askingthefurtherquestion:"WhatamI?"Bysuchfrequentselfstudiesandself
discriminations,youwillcomecloserandclosertothetruth.
37

Istheexperimenttoodifficult?Howcanamanstopthinking?Iremembernowthatitis
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notsuggestedthatoneshoulddeliberatelystopthinking.No,itistaught,"pursuethe
enquiry,`WhatamI'relentlessly."Well,Ihavepursuedituptothispoint.Icannot
definitelypindownmyegoeithertothebodyortheintellect.ThenwhoamI?Beyond
bodyandintellectthereisleftonlynothing!Thethoughtcametome,"Nowpay
attentiontothisnothingness."
Nothing?...Nothing?...Nothing?...Igraduallyandinsensiblyslippedintoapassive
attitude.Afterthatcameasenseofdeepeningcalm.Subtly,intangibly,quietnessofsoul
invadedme.Itwaspleasant,verypleasant,andsoothednerves,mind,andheart.The
senseofpeacewhichenvelopedmewhileIsatsoquietgentlyswelledupintobliss
ineffable,intoamarvellousserenity.TheblissbecamesopoignantlykeenthatIforgotto
continuethinking.Isimplysurrenderedmyselftoitasardentlyasawomansurrenders
herselftothemansheloves.Whatblessednesswasnotmine!Wasitnotsomecondition
likethistowhichSaintPaulreferredwhenhementioned"thepeacewhichpasseth
understanding"?Theminutestrickledbyslowly.Ahalfhourlaterfoundmybodystill
motionless,thefacestillfixed,theeyesstillindifferentto,orobliviousoftheir
surroundings.HadIfathomedthemysticdepthsofmyownmind?Impatiencemighthave
reareditsrestlessheadandcompletelyspoilttheresult.Isawhowfutileitwastoattempt
alwaystoimposeourhabitualrestlessnessinsuchunfamiliarcircumstances.
38

Inonesenseallattemptstomeditateonspiritualthemesareattemptstoawakenintuition.
Fortheyachievesuccessonlywhentheactivityofthethinkingintellectisstilledandthe
consciousnessentersintothatdeepsilencewherefromthevoiceofintuitionitselfissues
forth.
39

Tousethesesublimeideasinandforourhoursofcontemplation,istousedefinite
potencies.
40

Duringthesemeditations,heistodwellaspiringlyandlovinglyupontheidealattimes
andtoreflectcalmlyandrationallyaboutitatothertimes.Thushewilllearntoachieve
imaginativelyaneffectiveselfgovernment.
41

Myuseoftheterm"reverie"maymisleadsometothinkImeanidle,drifting,
purposeless,languidthinking.Imeannothingofthesort.
42

Onlyafteralong,longsearchcanhetracethesethoughtstotheirfinalsourceinthepure
streamofMind.
43

Workonsuchthemesinspiresawriter,athinker,orateacher,asworkonthehigher
levelsofartmustinspirethecreativeartist.
44

Thepracticeofselfinquirybeginswiththeself'senvironmentandendswithitscentre.It
asks,"Whatistheworld?"Then,"WhatistheBody?"Next,"WhatistheMind?"Then,
"Whatisthesourceofhappiness?"Andfinally,"WhatamI?"atthethresholdofits
innermostbeing.
45

Heshouldsitdownbytheseashoreoronahillsideorontheroofofatallbuildingorin
anyotherplacewherehecangetalong,uninterruptedviewofoceanandskyorsky
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alone.Ifnootherplaceisavailable,lethimlieonthegroundandgazeatthesky.Thenlet
himthinkoftheSpiritasbeinglikethisvastexpanseinitsfreedomanduniqueness,but
infiniteandboundlesswheretheotherisnot.
46

Ordinarilyourmindshavetoolimitedandtooegocenteredarange.Itisneedfulto
broadenthembyreflectionsandmeditationswhicharehighlyabstractandtotally
impersonal."Theuniverseisinfiniteandunmeasurable.Howtinyandinsignificantisthis
planetEarthinrelationtoit!Howtrivialandunimportantareearthlythings,iftheplanet
itselfissuch!Howridiculoustoletoneselfbecapturedandimprisonedbymomentary
sensualpleasureswhichhavenoteventhedurationofmostofthesethings!"Suchisone
sampleofhowthisexercisecouldbegin.
47

Thosewhohavetrieditknowhowmuchharderrealmeditationisthanmerethinking.
Thetwoarenotthesame.
48

Ifhefindsonlyignorance,bewilderment,orordinariness,thenheneedstogofartherinto
himself.Therevelationistherebutatadeeplevel.
49

Intheseearlierstages,whatmattersishowdeeplyabsorbedhisattentionbecomesinthe
subject,howstronglyheldishiscontroloverthethoughtswhichcomeintotheareaof
awareness,howfarawayhewithdrawsfromactivityofthebody'ssenses.
50

Everytimeathoughtrearsitshead,evaluateitforwhatitisandthenpushitaside.Every
timeanemotionrushesup,recognizeit,too,forwhatitisanddetachyourselffromit.
ThisisthepathofSelfEnquiry,forasyoudothesethingsholdthewilldirectedtowards
findingthecentreofyourbeing.Dothemwithdoggedpersistence.Dotheminyour
consciousnessandinyourfeeling.
51

Someimaginativemindscanmakeprofitableuseofthevastnessoftheoceanorthe
immensityofspaceastopicsonwhichtomeditateintheadvancedstages.
52

Iftheutmostbenefitistobeextractedfromthiskindofexercise,heshould,attheend
andbeforeherisestoresumetheordinarydailylife,brieflyrepeattohimselfitsleading
pointsandthensumupinconcentratedemphasisitsfinallesson.
53

Althoughhemaycollecttogetheronlythosethoughtswhichrefertothechosensubject,
hemaytakedifferentsidesofitbyturns.
54

Whateverthinkingisdoneduringtheexercise,oneoughttostrivefortheutmost
clearnessandthefullestalertnessinit.
55

Hemaydeliberatelychooseafreshsubjecteachdayorletthespontaneousurgeofthe
momentchooseitforhim.Orhemaytakeagainonethathasservedhimwellbefore.
56

Thekindofmeditationinwhichthemeditatorponderspersistentlywhathissourceis,
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whatthe"I"reallyis,hastheeventualeffectofdehypnotizinghimfromthesefalseand
limitingidentificationswiththebody,thedesires,andtheintellect.
57

Itmustbeatopicverydistantfrom,andquiteunconnectedwith,hisordinaryoccupations
oftheday.Hemustreleasehimselfaltogetherfromtheirproblemsandpleasures.
58

Themorehepractisesatsuchtimesathinkingthatissensefreeandbeyondthephysical
thatis,metaphysicalinthetruestsensethebetterwillhebepreparedtoreceivethe
intuitiveinfluxfromtheOverself.
59

Thepursuitoftheselfcomesatlasttoanirreducibleelement.Theanalysercutshisway
throughallintermediateregionsofthemind.
60

Whenintellectliesexhaustedandprostrated,attheendofitsselfdirectedefforts,and
givesup,itmaythenbereadytoreceivewhat,earlier,itcouldnot.
61

Concentrationkeepsthemindimplantedonaparticularthought,orlineofthought,by
keepingofftheotherones.Meditationremovesthesinglethoughtandkeepsthemind
quiet.Thisisanexcellentstate,butnotenoughforthosewhoseektheReal.Itmustbe
complementedbyknowledgeofwhatisandisnottheReal.
62

Theordinarykindofmeditationseekstoescapefromintellectualismatthevery
beginning,whereasthemetaphysicalkindusesitfromthebeginning.Eventhoughitis
analytic,itdoesnotlimititselftocerebralactivityitconjoinsfeelingalso,sinceitseeks
anexperienceaswellasunderstanding.Therefore,inthe"WhoAmI?"workitmoves
withthewholebeingandwithallitsintensity.
63

Thewholecollectedforceofhisbeingisbroughttothisidea.
64

IntheseexerciseshethinksofGod'snature,qualities,andattributeshemeditateson
God'sinfinity,eternity,andunity.
65

AfterhehasenteredontheShortPath,fitthemesforhismeditationwillbethosewhich
turnhimawayfromthepersonalego.HecanmeditateonthegloriousattributesofGod,
orontheessentialperfectionofthecosmos,orontheutterserenityofhisOverself,for
instance.
66

MoststudentscanprofitablymeditateonsuchfragmentsoftheWorldIdeaastheycan
gleanfromdifferentandvariedsources:fromthetextsofmysticalseers,philosophic
sages,religiousprophets,andeventheirownpersonalintuitions.
67

Themoreweuseourthoughtstogetthedeepunderstandingofourselves,ofGod,andthe
world,andthemorewestillthethoughtstogetthemoutofthewaywhenthedivineis
readytospeaktous,themoresuccessfulwilloursearchbecome,andthemorewillwe
awakenfromthedreamofanunrealmateriality.
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68

Butunlessthepointissurrenderedandsilenced,itwillnotbepossibletogobeyondthe
intellectualstageofunderstanding.Anditisonlyaminoritywhocanachievethissilence
andyieldcapacityfordeepeningtheirexperiencetowhatamountstoarealizationofthe
truth.Thesilencehasanothername:eithermeditationorcontemplation.
69

Ifhehashadaspiritualexperienceinwhichfirsthanddirectknowledgeofhisown
spiritualnatureanditsnonmaterialityandimmortalitybecameevidenttohim,lethim
takethatmemoryandcherishitasabasisforhispresentmeditations.
70

ThenamesofGodtraditionallyusedintheOrient,suchastheCompassionate,theGuide,
theAnswererofPrayer,thePardoner,thePatient,arehelpfulasobjectsofprayeror
subjectsofmeditation.
71

Whenonecarriesintellecttoitshighestexercise,whichisrightreasoning,hecomesnear
tothefinestfunctionofnatureintuition.Yetthegulfbetweenthemremainsimpassable
unlessheiswillingtoperformthevitalandsupremeactofstillingitaltogether.Inthe
intellect'scompletesilencethevoiceofdivineintuitionmaybeheard.
72

Thegoalofenlightenmentcanbereachedbythoughtalonedespitethecontrary
assertionoftheEnglishmedievalhermitwhowroteTheCloudofUnknowingbutonly
whenthoughtissofinelysharpenedthat,seeingpreciselywhereitslimitslie,itiswilling
toceaseitsownactivityandsurrendertothehigherpower.Butitmustbewiseenoughto
believeintheexistenceofsuchapower,toknowthatItisunthinkableandunsearchable
andthereforemustbeallowedtotakeoverwherethinkingstops.Yetthemedievalauthor
isquiterighttothisextentthatwherethoughtiswrappedinloveandwarmedbyit,the
enlightenmentisthatmuchmoreattainable.
73

Pythagorashadseenthattheuniversewasbuiltonnumber,Spinozathatthenumberof
possibilitieswasinfinite:bothmenworkedwithamathematicallytrainedmindwhose
borderlandmergedintointuition,inthesamewayasitdoeswithametaphysicallytrained
mindbutitmustbepurifiedandstrengthened,too,iftherequiredconcentrationistobe
sustainedandifitscourseistobestraightenedandnotdistorted.Thentheintuitive
experienceofinfinitycomeswiththeintuitivenotionofit.Thismustbesobecausethe
Mindwhichconceivedtheuniverseisitselfinfinite.
74

Selectasentencefrompsalm,prayer,gospel,orbookwhichepitomizesforyoutheentire
quest,orupliftsyounearertothegoalofthequest.Murmurittoyourselfslowlyand
repeatedly.Ponderoveritsmeaning.
75

Whenwetakeupabookthatthrowslightbeforeourfeet,thatdaybecomesastarred
eventinthecalendarofourlife.Itisnottobeeasilyforgotten,becausetheplanetsof
TruthandBeautyarehardtofindamidthepanoplyofrivallightsinthesky.
76

Itisonlywhentheideasofabookliveinyourmemoryandthinkinglongafteryouhave
putawaythebookitselfthattheauthor'spurposehasreallybeenachieved.
77
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Anotherexcellentandalwaysusefulthemeformeditationistoreadafewsentencesfrom
aninspiredbookandthenletyourthoughtdwelluponwhatyouhaveread.
78

Suchbookssetthemindgropingforthemysterioussourcewhenceithasarisen.
79

Thethememaybeoneofthosegreattruthsofphilosophywhichliftthemindtoan
impersonalandeternalregion,oritmaybeoneofthoseaptsentencesfromaninspired
bookorbiblewhichliftthefeelingstoadorationoftheOverself.
80

Takeanyofthesegreatideasbyturns,orastheysuityouatdifferentperiods,andsubject
themtointensivemeditation.
81

Ateachofthesedailysessions,hewillbeeverwatchfulforanyinnerleadingtowarda
specialtopictoengagehismusing.
82

Whenyougetagreatthoughtchainit.Holdit.
83

Themorehecanlosehimselfintheabstractthought,thementalimage,thechosenideal,
thequickerhewillfindhimselfintheSoul'spresence.
84

Thepracticeofselfquesteliminatestheoppositionoftheintellectinamarvellous
mannerandbringstheminduptotheverybordersofthetranscendental,whereitistaken
upandputtotheserviceoftheDivine.
85

Whenheissosunkinabstractionthathedoesnotnoticeeventhepresenceofanother
person,hismeditationhasgoneasdeepasitoughtto.
86

Ashemeditatesonthesesacredsentences,everywordwillbecomemorealiveandmore
significant.
87

Whenconcentrationcomeswithoutdifficultyandcanbepractisedwithease,heshould
goontomeditation.
88

Bringingthesamelineofthoughtintothefocusofattentionagainandagain,holdingit
theresustainedly,isapathtorealizingit.
89

Hemuststudytheseinspiredsayingsasalapidarymightstudyagemwithlovingcare
andjoyousfeeling.
90

Whatevertopicwillinteresthimsoonest,engagehisattentionmorefirmly,andabsorbit
morefullyisthebesttopictomeditateupon.
91

Ausefulexerciseistomeditateonthewisdomwritteninthebookoftheuniverse.
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92

Thekindofmeditationcalleddiscursivetriestothinkactivelyaboutanideaoratruth
untilitisfullypenetrated.
93

Theendofallthisthinkingistobenotthinking,mentalquiet.Thisstatecomeshardto
everyoneitleadsmanytoutterboredom,butafewtoutterpeace.
94

Thematerialsfortheseanalyticmeditationswillcomedirectlyoutofhispresent
circumstancesandpastexperiences,outofthelivesofotherpeoplehehasknown,outof
thepagesofbookshehasread.
95

Heistotakesuchamightyspiritualtruthorphilosophicmaximintodeepest
considerationanddeepestfeeling.
96

Ifthemeditationattemptsprovecompletelyarid,theymaybeprefacedbyslow,thought
outreadingpunctuatedbyreflectivepauseswhenthebookistobeputaside.Itisduring
suchpausesthattheimpetustotheinnermovementmaybefelt.Thebook'sworkisthen
done.
97

"MeditateonthemindasBrahman"(theSupremeBeing),counselsanancientIndiantext.
98

Toooftendoeshelosehiswayandleavethehighsubjectofhismeditationforthoughts
aboutpersonalaffairsandworldlytopics.
99

Weneedtomeditatemoreoftenontheseremindingstatementsofthesages,tobecome
moreconcernedwithourhigherinterests.
100

TakeaconceptofGodintoyourmeditationandtrytostaywithitaslongasyoucan.
Thisitselfisaformofworship,astrueaformasanythatyouwillfindinachurch.
101

Itisavaluable,important,andfruitfultopicofmeditationtothinkoftheDivinePrinciple
asitisinitsrealnatureandessentialbeing,notastheologianshavethoughtittobeor
visionarieshaveimaginedittobe.
102

Meditationisnotachievediftheconcentratedmindisdirectedtowardasubjectof
personalandworldlynature.Reflectingonthesubjectwillgiveadeeperknowledgeofit
andafullerperceptionofitsmeaning,butitwillnotgiveanythingmore.However
concentratedthemindmaybecome,itwillnotescapefromtheego,nordoesitseektodo
so.MeditationisachievediftheconcentratedmindisusedtoreflectontheOverselfor
thewaytoit.
103

Letthinkingexamineitself,alwayswithaviewtopenetrationofitshinterland.

Selfexaminationexercises
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104

Meditationmustbeaccompaniedbyconstanteffortinthedirectionofhonestself
examination.Allthoughtsandfeelingswhichactasabarrierbetweentheindividualand
hisUltimateGoalmustbeovercome.Thisrequiresacuteselfobservationandinner
purification.Hate,jealousy,anger,greed,spite,andsoon,formmanyaninnerMount
Everestwhicheachseekermustscaleandconquerforhimselfbeforehecanhopetosee
WhatIsBeyond.
105

Thestudentmustavoidfallingintothesnaresofselfflattery.Anexcellentmeansof
doingthisistoreviewthefactsofhispastlifetopickouthissinsandblunders,hisslips
andfalls.
106

Theformintowhichhislifetheoryismoldedisitselfaproduct,orratheraprojection,of
theunconscioussideofhismind,whereahostofcomplexesmaintaintheirexistence
remotefromhiscriticism,examination,orevendiscussion.
107

Itisimportantforhimtoknowcorrectlywhencehisleadingideas,impulses,intuitions,
andevendreamscomefrom.Hemustaccuratelymeasuretheheightsanddepthsofthe
variouslevelsfromwhichtheydescendorascendtohisordinaryconsciousness.
108

Itisnoteasyforthestudenttoassesscorrectlythemotiveswhichactuatehisinnerand
outerlife,foranimportantgroupofthemdoesnotordinarilyrevealitselftohisconscious
mentality.
109

Heshouldfromtimetotimepassinanalyticreviewtheimportantevents,the
experiences,andtheattitudesofhispast.Itisnotthegoodbuttheevilemotionsand
deeds,theiroriginsandconsequences,thatheshouldparticularlyattendto,mentally
picture,andexaminefromtheperspectiveofhishigherself.Butunlessthisisdonewith
perfecthonestyinanimpersonalunconcerneddetachedandselfcriticalspirit,unlessitis
approachedwithaselfimposedausterityofemotion,itwillnotyieldthedesiredresults.
Itisnotenoughtomournoverhiserrors.Heshouldcarefullylearnwhateverlessonsthey
teach.
110

Inreviewinghispast,hemaydiscoverhowtheegohascunninglysoughttopreserve
itself,howithasledhimintologicaldeceitsandmadehimbelieveitwasabsentwhenin
realityitwasverymuchpresent,howithasplayedsubtletricksofeverykinduponhim.
111

Heoughttostudyhispasterrorsintently,nottoreproachhimselfemotionallybutto
reformhimselfconstructively.
112

Hemustwatchhisthoughtsdailyandexaminehisactionsnightly.Hemustapplythe
lancettohismotivesperiodically.Hemustanalyseandreanalysehimselfimpersonally.
113

Thisdoesnotmeanthatheshouldbeforeversolemnlyexamininghismoods,analysing
hisfeelings,andmakinghimselftheobjectofhisownattention.Itmeansthatheshould
dothisonlyforawhile,atcertaintimes,oronregularoccasions.
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114

Selfexaminationrequireshimtofindoutandidentifythepositivequalitiesaswellasthe
negativeones,ifheistogivehimselfafairpicture.
115

Adelicatebalanceisneededhere.Ifhebecomesoverlycriticalofhisownself,ofhis
character,decisions,choices,andattitudes,hemayfindhimselfbecomingmorbidandhis
willtoactionparalysed.
116

Hispastisamatterforanalyticconsideration,notformelancholybrooding.Hemust
gatheritsfruitinthelessonsityields,convertitssufferingsintovirtueandwisdom.
117

Hemustbeonhisguardagainstthefalsifications,therationalizations,andthedeceptions
unconsciouslypractisedbyhisegowhentheselfanalysisexercisesbecome
uncomfortable,humiliating,orpainful.Norshouldheallowhimselftofallintothepitof
selfpity.
118

Duringthishalfhourhemustsuspendthepersonalwayoflookingatlife.Hemuststand
asidefromtheegoforthetimebeingandregardimpersonallyandimpartiallyitsactsand
emotionsaswellastheeventsandfortuneswithwhichitmeets.Hemustexamineall
theseexperiencesasiftheyhadhappenedtosomebodyelse.Hecollectsthematerialsfor
hismeditationfromallthechiefincidentsandepisodes,doingsandfeelingsofthewhole
day.Hisreflectionuponthemmusttakeatwofoldcourse:inthefirst,hesimplygivesup
errors,illusions,andcomplexesinthesecond,helearnstruths,principles,andvirtues.
119

Inlookingbackoverthepast,hehumblyperceiveshismistakesandsadlyapportionsthe
blameforhisfailuretohimself.Henolongerwasteshistimeinhuntingalibisorin
criticizingotherpeopleforhistroubles.Nordoeshecomplainoffate.Henowseesthatin
aspiringforspiritualgrowthandprayingforspiritualhelp,thoseveryexperienceswhich
exposedhisweaknessesandbroughtouthisfaultsweretheanswerstohisprayer,the
gracesheduponhisaspirations.
120

Hismemoriesoftheunhappypastorthemistakenpresentmustbeconvertedintolessons
inwisdom.Otherwisehismeditationsoverthemwillonlyturnthemintobreeding
groundsofresentmentandothernegativethoughts.
121

Heshoulddevelopthesenseofselfcriticismtoahighandevenpainfuldegree.He
cannotanylongeraffordtoprotecthisego,ashedidinthepast,ortoseekexcusesforits
sorryfrailtiesandfoolishnesses.
122

Whathewillthinkfeelordoinanygivencircumstanceswillbemostlargelydetermined
bythesepasttendencies.Howimportantthentheneedofsuchcriticalselfexamination
exercises.
123

Hewillneedtodeveloptheabilitytostandbackperiodicallyfromthepersonalselfand
surveyitslife,fortunes,character,anddoingsquiteimpartially.Duringthisexercise,he
shouldadopttheattitudeofadisinterestedspectatorseekingtoknowthetruthaboutit.
Hence,heshouldstudyitcalmlyandnottakesideswithitemotionally.
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124

Thisistosay,nearlythewholeofyourlifecanbesteeredmanagedandcontrolledbythe
simpleprocessoftakingstockonceaday.
125

Wemustnotseektoescapetheconsequencesofourdeedsmerelybyhandingthemover
totheOverself.Wemustnothandthemoverbeforewehavetriedearnestlytomaster
theirlessons.Ifwehandthemoverprematurely,beassuredtheywillneverreachthe
Overselfatall.
126

Anotherpurposewhichhemustkeepinviewwhenrecallingthepastandseekingthe
lessonswhichstandoutfromit,isthediscernmentofkarma'sworkinginsomeofthese
experiences.
127

Wherepassions,appetites,anddesiresofanunworthykindaretherepeatedthemesof
thesecriticalanalyses,theytendtobecomeweakerandweakerastheprocess,withits
corrosiveeffect,extendsintoalongtime.
128

Whatistobesoughtforduringthisshortperiodandinthisexerciseisdetachmentfrom
hisownexperiencesandseparationfromhisownhabitualegoism.
129

Hismeditationsonthissubjectofselfimprovementmustbeconstantlyrepeatedand
unremittinglypursued.Hemustlookrelentlesslyattheuglytruthabouthimselffaceto
faceandthenzealouslyfosterthoughtsthatcounteractituntiltheybecomehabitual.
130

Whenwedevelopthehabitofcriticallyreflectinguponourexperiences,wefindit
needfultoreviseourideasandalterouroutlookfromtimetotime.
131

Itmaybeeasytogettheworldly,thepracticalmessageofparticularexperiences,butitis
notsoeasytogetthehigher,thespiritualmessagetheycontain.Thisisbecausewe
habituallylookatthemfromtheego'sstandpoint,especiallywhenpersonalfeelingsare
stronglyinvolved.Truthcallsforatransferoftheinnercentreofgravity.
132

If,however,aneffortisnotmadetopurifythemselvesbyundergoingthephilosophic
discipline,theneventhisanalysisofthepastwillyieldlittleornovaluetothem.
Experienceswillbeviewednotastheyreallyarebutastheviewerwishestoseethem.
Thetroublesomeorpainfulconsequencesoftheirownblunders,weaknesses,orsinswill
notbeinterpretedasevidenceofsuch,butasevidencesofotherpeople'sfaults.Their
personalemotionswilldominateandhencemisreadeverysituation.Thesourcesoftheir
owndifficultiesnotbeingseen,thenecessarychangesinthoughtandbehaviourwillnot
bemade.
133

Itisthebusinessofthedisciplewhoisinearnesttoprybeneaththesurfaceofhisactions
anddiscovertheirrealmotivatingforces,toexaminehisfeelingsandimpulsesand
ascertaintheirhiddencharacter,andnottointerpretthemfalselyathisego'sbidding.He
hastoprobeintohisattitudesanddiscoverwhattheyspringfromhehastolearnto
analysehisfeelingsimpartiallyandcoollyataskwhichfewmenliketodoorcandohe
hastoachieveaclearunderstandingofthecauseofhisfailuresanderrors.
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134

Forsomeitisausefulpracticetowriteoutaselfarraignment,listingthemostglaring
faultsfirstandthemosthiddenoneslater.Thishelpsthemtokeepconstantlyawareof
whattheyhavetoavoid.Itcallstothemquietlybutinsistently.
135

Toobservehimselfcorrectly,amanmustdosoimpartially,coolly,dispassionately,and
notleniently,conceitedly,excitedly.Hemustalsodoitjustly,withthewholeofhisbeing
andnotpsychopathically,withonlyasinglepartofit.
136

Itiseasyfortroubledpersonstofallintoaneuroticselfpity,tobroodtenselyoverthe
pictureoftheirpersonalmiseries.Theyaredoingwhatisrightinawaywhichiswrong.
Itisrighttoanalysetroublessoastounderstandhowandwhytheyhavearisen.Butthis
shouldbedonecasually,impersonally,andwithspecialreferencetothefaultsor
weaknesseswhichhavecausedorcontributedtothearising.Thelessonshouldbelearnt,
theresolvetodobetterinfuturetaken.Thentheabsorptioninsuchagloomytopicshould
bebroughttoanend.Thelightofhopeandfaithandsurrendershouldbeletin.
137

Awarningisneeded:Whenitlackshumility,moralselfexaminationoftengoesastray
andyieldsamisleadingresult.
138

Thosewhoarenotcompletelyhonestwiththemselves,whopreferattractivedelusionto
repulsivetruth,merelydeferthemomentofhumiliatingconfession.
139

Hehastosearchoutandridhimselfofphobiasandprejudices,inhibitionsandneuroses,
obsessionsandothermentalills.Hehastoseehimselfnotashisadmirersdo,butashis
enemiesseehim.
140

Hemustconstantlyexaminehisactionsandobservehisfeelings.Butheistodoso
impartially,critically,andbythestandardsoftheidealforwhichheisstriving.
141

Hewhohasnotthecouragetofacehimselfasheis,tolookathisweakpointsalongwith
hisbetterones,isnotfitforphilosophy.
142

Heshouldkeeponprobingintohisweaknessesandthinkingaboutthemconstructively,
theircausesandconsequences.Theimprovementofcharacterandtheelevationofmoral
conditionarethefoundationofallspiritualwork.
143

Tounwraphisinnerselfofthoughts,emotions,desires,motives,andpassionstodecide
whatisworthkeepingandwhatneedscuttingoutinit,thisishisfirsttask.
144

Thisunendingprobeintothemeaningofhisownlifeandhumanity'slife,thisconstant
selfexaminationofcharacterandmotive,leadstoaswifterdevelopmentofhismindand
growthofhisego,afasterrealizationofhimselfandunfoldingofhisinnerpotentialities.
145

Theremustariseanawarenessofhishiddendefects,ofthosedistortedemotionaland
intellectualfactors,thosesubtlywarpedpurposes,whichhavegrownupwithhispastand
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nowdominatehissubconsciousbeing.Hemustopenupthecoveredplacesofhisheart
andhemustdoitruthlesslyandfearlessly.
146

Henoteshischaracteristicsasiftheywereoutsidehim,belongingtoanothermanandnot
insidehim.Hestudieshisweaknessestounderstandthemthoroughly.Theydonot
dismayhimforhealsorecognizeshisstrengths.
147

Iftheresultsofsuchanexaminationdisturbhisselfconfidenceandshakehisvanity,so
muchthebetterforhisquest.
148

Heistotrytobeawarefirstatspecifiedtimesandlateratalltimesofhisinnerstate,of
histhoughtsandfeelings,hismotivesanddesires.Thatis,heistowatchhimself.There
aretwoformsofthisexercise.Inthepassiveonehewatcheswithoutpassingjudgement
ormakingcomment.Intheotherandactiveone,hemeasureshisstateagainsttheideal
statenot,however,byintellectuallyformedstandardsbutbyamindquieteningwaiting
forintuitivefeeling.
149

Atthisstageofhisinnerlife,thedisciplewillfindhimselfbeingledmoreandmorein
thedirectionofhisownpast.Hewillfindhimselfconsideringitsvariousphasesbut
especiallythosewhichweremarredbyignorance,errorandsin,wrongdecisions,and
foolishactions.Thesebroodingswillinevitablytakeonamelancholysaddening
character.That,however,isnoreasonforavoidingthem.Thosesuperoptimistswho
wouldhavemengazeonlyatthepresentandfuture,whodeprecateallremembranceof
theblunderingpast,seekatransientpseudohappinessratherthanatrulydurableone.
For,inthedisciple'scasecertainlyandinothermen'scasesperhaps,itisbyfrank
confessionofthesemistakesandmisdeedsandbygloomyrecognitionoftheirchastening
consequencesthattheirvaluablelessonsaredistilledandtheiruselessrecurrenceavoided.
Thediscipleshouldsearchthoroughlyforhisweaknessesofcharacterandfaultsof
intellect,andhavingthusdetectedthemaswellashumbledhimself,beconstantlyonhis
guardagainstthemuntilhehassucceededineliminatingthemaltogether.
150

Thehourforretirementatnightshouldalsobethehourforrecallingtheday's
happenings,deeds,andtalksinmemory,atthesametimemakinganappraisaloftheir
characterfromthehigherpointofview.Butwhentheexercisehascometoanend,the
aspirantshoulddeliberatelyturnhismindutterlyawayfromallworldlyexperience,all
personalmatters,andletthehushedsilenceofpuredevotionalworshipfalluponhim.
151

Thisexerciseisparticularlysuitedtothoseperiodswhenheisabletoretirefromsocial
lifeandworldlybusiness,whenhecangointoretreatforawhile.Therehecanreflect
withprofituponthefaultsonhispastconduct.
152

Hemustbegintopractiseintrospection.Thismaybegivenamorbidturn,asissooften
donebythosenotengagedwiththequest,oritmaybegivenahealthyone.Ifheusesthe
practicetoexaminethecausesofhismistakesandtodiscovertheweaknessesinhis
character,andthentakestheneedfulstepstoeliminatetheoneandovercometheother,it
canonlybenefitandelevatehim.
153

Suchretrospectiveanalyses,criticalevaluations,andimpersonalinterpretationsofhis
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pastmustbeattemptedonlyincalmperiodsiftheresultsarenottobeemotionally
distorted.Againstthisrulethereisneverthelessanexception.Whenhefeelsbitterself
reproachabouthisbygonemistakesormisdeeds,itiswelltotakeadvantageofsuchan
antiegoattitudewhileitlasts.
154

Duringthispassiveandreceptivephaseofmeditation,variousevents,happenings,and
objectsreturntoconsciousnessagainandinthiswaythemeditatorhasanopportunityto
dealwiththemfromahigherstandpointorfromafreshanddifferentone.Hemayalso
receiveinformationorknowledgeinthiswayaboutthethingpsychicallyorintuitively
whichhedidnothavebefore.
155

Thetough,harshanalysisofone'sownerrorsshouldnotendthere,shouldnotterminate
inagonizedselftorment.Itmustbecounterbalancedbypositiveattitudes.
156

Itispossibletowatch,byintrospection,thehappeningsinthemind.Buttodothis
accuratelyandadequately,thedetachmentfosteredbythewitnessattitudemustbe
present.Partofhisconsciousnessmuststandaside,cool,untouchedbyemotions,and
independentofego.
157

Tosearcharoundinsideoneselfmaybeamorbidoradangerousaffair,ifithasnohigh
objective.
158

Heshouldtrytoputhimselfintothefutureandlookbackonthispresentperiod.
159

Theunconsciousmotivesmaybeonlyhalfhiddenfromtheconsciousmindand
deliberatelyignoredormaybecompletelysunk.
160

Inordertounmaskhissensitivitiesandrecognizethemforthehiddenmotivesthatthey
usuallyare,theseekermustdeliberatelysubjecthimselftothemostintensiveand
gruellingselfanalysis.Everydisguisemustbestrippedbare.Everystumblingblockmust
bepenetrated.Everyformofselfdeceptionmustbeuprooted.Hishighestaspirations
mustundergothesameexaminationandtreatmentashislowercharacteristics.The
resultsifheperseveresandisstrictlyhonestaremorethanlikelytoshockhim,or,at
least,toleadtosomestartlingdiscoveries.Suchselfanalysiswillnaturallyleadtothe
seekingofahumbler,moreselfless,andmoreworthwhilewayoflife.
161

Recognitionofmistakesisessentialbutshouldnotbedweltoninapurelynegative
fashion.TheTeachermayindicatethatrecognitionaloneisnotenoughmoreeffort
shouldbeputforthtoovercomethem.Butifheweretosetdownallthefaultsand
defectsstillobservable,hisstudentmightbecomesodejectedthathewouldthrowaway
hisopportunities.Ontheotherhand,ifthestudentisearnest,certainvirtuesand
favourabletendencieswouldalsobeevident,andthese,setdownfully,mightcausehim
tobecomesoelatedthathewouldoverestimatehispossibilities.
162

Youwillfaceamomentinyourmentalselfanalysiswhenfearwilldescenduponyou,
whenthedreadofdisintegrationwillshadowyouforyouwillreachforthebottom.
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163

Thehabitofdissolvinghiscustomaryegoisticregardforhimselfiswellworthcultivating
repeatedlyforaperiod.Forseveralreasonsitisgoodtolearnthisartofdetachment,to
practisebecomingasecondandseparateperson,towatchhimselfandnotethedifferent
reactionstotheday'sevents.Duringthisexercise,heshouldplacehisattentionupon
somedecisiveeventfromhispastwhichmeantmuchtohimatthetime.Heistoconsider
itasimpartiallyandcoollyasifithadhappenedtoanotherman.Hemustkeepout
personalemotionfromthisspecialsurveyasheanalysesthewholehappeningfrom
beginningtoend,fromcausestoresults.Heistojudgeitcriticallyandwherehefindshis
formerattitudeoractsfaulty,reshapeitorthemmentallytothecorrectform.
164

Ananalyticalremorsemaybehelpfulinuncoveringfaultsordeficiencies,butamorbid
remorsewillhinderbettermentandparalyseaspiration.
165

Ifhispastmistakesweremadeoutofignorancebutinuttersincerity,heneednotspend
therestofhislifetormentinghimselfwithvainreproaches.
166

Hemustsearchhimselffortherealmotivesbehindhisconduct,whicharenotalwaysthe
sameasthoseheannouncestootherpersonsoreventohimself.
167

Healoneknowswhattherealmanislikebehindtheimagewhichothershaveofhim.But
heknowsitonlyunderthecolouringofextenuations,justifications,andrepressions,with
whichhetintsit.
168

Itwouldbeeasyforhimtocombthroughthesurfaceofhischaracterduringthisself
examinationandyetmisstherealmotivationslyingbeneathit.
169

Atrueappraisalshouldlistboththegoodandbadqualitiesofaseeker.Itshouldinvent
nothing,hidenothing.
170

Thisscrutinymustpenetratehischaracterdeeply.Itmustlookfirstforthepsychological
causesofhisdismalfailuresthefaults,theindisciplines,andtheinadequacies.
171

Torecognizeourguiltintracingthesourceofcertaintroublesisalwayshardsoblinded
byegoismarewe.Thephilosophicdisciplineaimsatcreatingtherequisitepersonal
disinterestednessinus.
172

Rememberthatinexaminingyourselfitisunlikelythatyouwillbeimpartial.
173

Introspectiveselfexaminationofthiskind,doneinthisway,isnotmorbidandunhealthy.
Onthecontrary,itishelpfulandhealthy.
174

Ifhestudiespastexperienceinthisimpersonalandanalyticway,whathelearnswillhelp
himbeginaselftrainingofcharacterandintellectthatwillstopthecommissionof
furthermistakesorsinsandeliminatethefallaciesofbelieforhabit.
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175

Suchselfexaminationwillbefruitfulifitsuppressesnothingandrevealseverything,
moreespeciallyifitseeksoutfailingsratherthanvirtues.
176

Philosophydoesnotencourageamorbiddwellingoverpastsins,lostopportunities,or
errorscommitted.Thatmerelywastestimeandsapspower.Theanalysisfinished,the
lessonlearned,theamendmentmade,whatisleftovermustbeleftbehind.Whyburden
memoryanddarkenconsciencewiththeirreparableifnogoodcanbedonebyit?
177

Theresultofthisunflatteringexaminationwillbethathewillpassforawhilefromself
lovetoselfdespising.
178

Hemustscrutinizemotivesandfindouttowhatextenttheyarepureorimpure,sincereor
hypocritical,factualordeceptive.
179

Hemustregardhisfaultswithsincerityandwithoutflinching.Heshouldbetoomuchin
earnesttohidethemfromhimselfortoseekplausibleexcusesforthem.
180

Hemustpractisesevereselfjudgementandruthlessselfcriticismbylookingathis
imperfectionswithcourageandhonesty,subordinatingsmugvanityuntiltherevelationof
himselftohimselfcomesoutclearlyandtruthfullyintheend.
181

Hewillfindthatundoinghispastmistakeswillbehamperedorhelpedbyhiscapacityto
recognizethemforwhattheyreallyare.
182

Bysearchinghimselfandstudyinghispast,hemaybeabletodetermineatwhatpointhe
deviatedfromthecorrectpathoflivingorrightthinking.
183

Whentheimpactofthetruthabouthisownunderlyingmotivesisfirstfelt,heislikelyto
sinkintogravediscouragement.
184

Itmaybedishearteningtoreviewfromtimetotimethepresentstateofhisownfailings
butitisbetterthanpretendingtheyarenotthereandgettingtrippedbythemin
consequence.
185

Heshouldnotrefusetorecognizehisowndeficiencies,butheneednoteitherexaggerate
orminimizethemwhiledoingso.
186

Hemustexplorehisownpastandgleanthelessonsfromit.Hemustanalysethepersonal
andenvironmentalfactorswhichcomposedeachsituationorinfluencedthem,andhe
mustdoallthisasadequatelyandthoroughlyaspossible.
187

Heshouldstudyhisbrilliantsuccessesandsorryfailuresforthedifferentlessonswhich
bothcanteachhim.
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188

When,atlonglast,heisabletoburrowbeneaththeveryfoundationofhisego,the
meditationapproachesitsbestvalue.
189

Hehastostandasidefromhimselfandobservethechiefeventsofhislifewith
philosophicdetachment.Someofthemmayfillhimwithemotionsofregretorshame,
otherswithprideandsatisfaction,butallshouldbeconsideredwiththeleastpossible
egoismandthegreatestpossibleimpartiality.Inthiswayexperienceisconvertedinto
wisdomandfaultsareextractedfromcharacter.
190

Itisoutofsuchreflectionsthatwenowlearnwhatfoolswemadeofourselvesjustwhen
webelievedweweredoingsomethingclever,whatfallaciousideasweheldjustwhenwe
believedthetruthwithinourgrasp.
191

Eachseparaterecollectionofthesepasterrorsisinitselfarepeatedpunishment.
192

Lethimthrowallhisexperiencesintothisscrupulousanalysis.Itdoesnotmatter
whether,onthesurface,theyareimportantornot.Solongasthereissomeinstructive
significancetobedistilledfromthem,somemorallesson,philosophicprinciple,practical
guidance,ormetaphysicaltruth,theyaregristforhismill.Mosteventsandepisodesthat
hecanremember,thetrivialaswellasthetragic,aretobereconsideredfromthisstrictly
impersonalpointofviewandmadetoservehisspiritualdevelopment.
193

Tomakethemindacquaintedwithitselfbywatchingitsthoughtwhileinastateof
detachment,isamainpurposeofsuchspiritualexercises.
194

Itisinsuchrelaxedperiods,whenthepanoramaofhisownpersonalhistoryfilters
throughhismind,lettingtheeventspassbutkeepingbacktheirlessons,thathecan
practiseanimpersonalitywhichprofitshisfuturelives.
195

Atechniqueofremembranceisnecessarytodiscoverwhatlessonsarestillneededby
constantlyanalysingone'swholepastlife,judgingallmajordecisionsandactionsinthe
lightoftheresultstowhichtheyled,andoftheeffectswhichtheyhadbothuponhimself
anduponothers.Suchreflectionshouldbedonenotonlyintheformofmeditation,but
alsoatoddtimeswhenthemoodcomesuponhim,nomatterwhatheisdoing.
196

Itisanexperiencewhennotonlyknownmistakes,moralorworldly,standoutsharply
beforehismind'seyebutothers,hithertounrecognizedassuch,areseenforthefirsttime.
197

Everyaspirantknowsthatwhenthisselfexaminationrevealsthepresenceofwrong
attitudeshemustfightthem.

Moralselfbettermentexercises
198
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Inearlyperiodsofdevelopment,itisnecessarytoincludeinthemeditationperiod
exercisesfortheconstructivebuildingofcharacter.Theywillthenbepreparatorytothe
exercisesformindstilling.
199

Theimaginationwhichsportswithpersonalfanciesandplayswithegotisticfictionsmay
beharmfultophilosophicpursuitoftruth,buttheimaginationwhichcreativelysetsoutto
picturethefurtherstepsindevelopmentishelpfultoit.
200

Thephilosophicaluseofmeditationnotonlydiffersfromitsmysticaluseinsomeways
butalsoextendsbeyondit.Amostimportantpartofthestudent'smeditationsmustbe
devotedtomoralselfimprovement.Whenhehasmadesomeprogressintheartof
meditation,hehasacquiredapowerfulweapontouseinthewaragainsthisownbaser
attributesandpersonalweaknesses.Hemustreflectuponhisownmistakenconductof
thepastandthepresent,repentitsoccurrence,andresolvetoridhimselfofthe
weaknesseswhichledhimintoit.Hemustcontemplatethepossibilityofsimilar
situationsdevelopinginthefutureandpicturehimselfactinginthemashisbetterself
wouldhavehimact.If,insteadofusingmeditationperiodsonlyforlollingnegativelyin
theemotionalpeacewhichtheyyield,hewillreserveapartofthoseperiodsforpositive
endeavourtowielddominionoverthoseattributesandweaknesses,hewillfindthatthe
fortifiedwillandintensifiedimaginationofsuchmomentsbecometrulycreative.For
theywilltendtoreproducethemselvessuccessfullyinhissubsequentexternalconduct.
Thatwhichhehaspicturedtohimselfandabouthimselfduringmeditationwillsuddenly
comebacktohisconsciousnessduringthepostmeditativeperiods,oritwillevenexpress
itselfdirectlyinexternaldeedswhentheirmeditativestimulihavebeenquiteforgotten.
201

CreativeThought:Thisexercisemakesuseofoneofman'smostvaluablepowers
spiritualizedimagination.Everyonepossessestheimagemakingfacultytosomedegree
andartiststoanextraordinarydegree.Thestudentmuststrivetogetsomethingofthe
artist'simaginativecapacityandthenallyitwiththeilluminatinganddynamizingpower
ofhishigherself.Butthiscanonlybesuccessfullyandperfectlyachievedif,first,the
imagesareharmoniouswiththedivinewillforhimandif,second,hehasdevelopedto
theseconddegreeofmeditation.Butnotmanycanfulfiltheseconditions.Nevertheless,
allmayattemptandbenefitbytheexercise,eventhoughtheirattemptwillbehalting,
theirbenefitpartial,andtheresultsimperfect.Foreventhenitwillbegreatlyworthwhile.
Thisistherightwaytomakeimaginationservehim,insteadoflettingitevaporatein
uselessfantasiesorharmfuldaydreams.
202

Thisexerciseacceptsandutilizesthepowerofimagery,thefacultyofvisualization,
whichisoneofthefeaturesdistinguishingthemanfromtheanimal.Itplacesdesirable
patternsinthemindandplacesthemthereregularlyandpersistently,untiltheybeginto
influenceboththewayweapproachfortuneandthefortunewhichapproachesus.These
patternsconcerntheself'scharacterandtheself'sfuture,portraytheidealandpredictthe
morrow.
203

Meditationdirectedtowardsthereformandimprovementofcharactershouldhavea
twofoldapproach.Ontheonehand,itshouldbeanalyticandlogicalselfcriticism,
exposingthefaultsandweaknesses,theunpleasantresultstowhichtheyleadbothfor
oneselfandforothers.Ontheotherhand,itshouldbecreativeandimaginativepicturing
ofthevirtuesandqualitieswhicharethecontraryoppositesofthefaultsand
shortcomingsexposedbytheotherapproach.Themeditatorshouldpicturehimself
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expressingthesetraitsinaction.
204

Inthemeditationalworkuponeradicatingthefault,hemaybeginbytryingtoremember
asmanyoccasionsashecanwhereheshowedit,andexpressrepentanceforthem.
205

Theactreproducesthepicturehehadpaintedofitinhisimagination.Hisidealcharacter,
hisperfectpatternofconductneednolongerremainunrealizableorfrustrating.
206

Thelabouronhimselfdoesnotmeanamorallabouronly:althoughthatwillbeincluded,
itisonlypreparatory.Itmeansalso,andmuchmore,givingattentiontohisattention,
notingwherehisthoughtsaregoing,trainingthemtocomebackintohimselfandthus,at
theend,tocometorestattheirsourceundisturbedConsciousness.
207

Heisabletoriseabovehisownlimitedexperiencebyimaginativelyabsorbingother
people'sexperience.
208

Theevilconsequencesofyieldingtocertaindesiresformsafitthemeforthiskindof
meditationexercise.
209

Wemustbringourquestionsandproblemstothesilenthourwiththedesiretoknowwhat
isreallyforourowngood,ratherthanforourpersonalgratification.
210

Hewhodevelopsalongtheselinesthroughthecreativepowerofmeditation,will
eventuallyfindthathisinstinctwillspontaneouslyrejectthepromptingsofhislowerself
andimmediatelyaccepttheintuitionsofhishigherself.
211

Therearetwofactorswhichretardoraccelerate,preventorconsummatetheresulthe
seekstoachievebythecreativeuseofthought.Thefirstishisindividualdestiny,
preordainedfrombirth.Thesecondistheharmonyordisharmonybetweenhispersonal
wishandtheOverself'simpersonalwillforhisownevolution.Themorehecantakea
detachedviewofhislife,separatinghisneedsfromhisdesires,themoreishiswishlikely
tobefulfilledbytheuseofthismethod.
212

Fromthesesessionshecandrawattractivequalitiesstronginwillpower,relaxedin
nerves,andeversmilinginface.Fromthem,too,heislikelytorenewmorecourageously
thanbeforehispersonalcommitmenttotheQuest.
213

Heshouldanalyticallystudy,warmlyadmire,andimaginativelypossessthecharacteristic
qualitiesofSagehood.Theyformanexcellenttopicfordwellingonduringthemeditation
period.
214

Theserarenatureswhodispensegoodwillandradiatetolerance,whorisecalmlyand
withoutapparenteffortaboveangerprovokingsituationsandhighlyirritatingpersons,
representanideal.Itisnotanimpossibleoneandmayberealizedlittlebylittleifhe
faithfullypractisesconstructivemeditationuponthebenefitsofcalmnessaswellasupon
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thedisadvantagesofanger.
215

Theexercisedealswithpersons,things,situations,andproblemswhichexistonlyin
imaginarycircumstancesinsidehisownmind.Butotherwiseheistogiveitallthereality
hecan,tosee,hear,touch,andsmellinternallyasvividlyasifhewereusingthesesame
sensesexternally.Exceptforanyspecialmodificationwhichthephilosophicdiscipline
maycallfor,everyactistobedonementallyjustashewoulddoitinreallife.
216

Heistopicturetohimselftheexactqualityheseekstogain,justasitfeelswithinhimself
andexpressesthroughhisactions.
217

Ausefulmeditationexerciseistocreateinadvancethroughimagination,anymeeting
withotherslikelytohappeninthenearfutureorwiththoseheliveswith,workswith,or
isassociatedwith,whichmayresultinprovocation,irritability,oranger.Thestudent
shouldseetheincidentinhismind'seyebeforeitactuallyhappensonthephysicalplane,
andconstructivelypicturehimselfgoingthroughitcalmly,serenely,andselfcontrolled
justashewouldlikehimselftobe,oroughttobe,atthetime.
218

Meditationismorefruitfulifpartofitisdevotedtoreflectiononideals,qualities,and
truthsneededbythestudentatthetime.
219

Meditationshouldbebegunwithashort,silentprayertotheOverself,humbly
beseechingguidanceandGrace.ThismaybedoneeitherbykneelingintheWestern
fashionorbysittingintheOrientalfashion.Afterofferinghisprayer,theaspirantshould
sitdowninthepositionhecustomarilyusesinmeditation,closehiseyes,andtrytoforget
everythingelse.Hemaythenformamentalpictureofhisownfaceandshoulders,as
thoughhewerelookingathimselffromanimpersonalpointofview.Heshouldthinkof
thepersoninthepictureasastranger.Lethimfirstconsidertheother'sfaultsand
weaknesses,but,later,asachangedperson,endowedwithidealqualities,suchas
calmness,aspiration,selfmastery,spirituality,andwisdom.Inthisway,hewillopena
doorfortheHigherSelftomakeitsmessagesknowntohimintheformofintuitions.He
shouldbepreparedtodevoteyearstointenseeffortsinselfexaminationandself
improvement.Thisisthefoundationforthelaterwork.Oncethecharacterhasbeen
ennobled,thewaytoreceivingguidanceandGracewillbeunobstructed.
220

Thestudentmustearnestlytrytolearnthelessonsofhisownexperiencebyconsidering
situationsasimpersonallyandunemotionallyashecan.Bymeditatingontheminacool,
analyticalwayferretingoutpastblundersandnotsparinghimselfhemayuncover
someoftheweaknessesimpedinghisprogress.Heshouldthenmakeeveryeffortto
correctthem.
221

Theproblemoftryingtocontroltemperisonethatisfrequentlypresented.Itcanonlybe
solvedslowlyunderordinarycircumstances.Duringmeditation,heshouldpicture
himselfinatemperandthendeliberatelyconstructanimaginativescenewhereinhe
exercisesmoreandmoredisciplineoverhimself.Thesementalpictureswhensufficiently
repeatedandwithsufficientintensitywilltendtoreappearbeforehismind'seyeatthe
momentwhenhedoesactuallyfallintoatemper.
222
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Themethodofvisualizingwhatyouwishtomaterializemayonlyservetofattentheego
andblockspiritualadvancement,whichiswhathappenswithmostofitspractisers.Butif
itisresortedtoonlywhenthemindhasbeenharmonized,evenforafewmoments,with
theOverself,itwillnotonlybeharmlessbutalsosuccessful.Foratsuchatimeandin
suchacondition,nothingwillbewishedforthatwillnotbeconformabletothehigher
welfareoftheindividual.
223

Althoughanuninformed,unchecked,andunguidedimaginationcancarryhiminto
dangerousplacesoronuselessjourneys,canboghimdowninutterselfdeceptionor
influencehimtodeludeothers,neverthelesswhenithastherightqualitiesthe
imaginativefacultycancarryhimfaralongthespiritualpath.Itcanhelphimtocreate
fromwithinhimselfgoodqualitiesandbetteredattitudeswhich,ordinarily,thediscipline
ofpainfuleventswouldhavecreatedfromwithout.ItisneededforvisualizingtheIdeal,
foracquiringvirtues,andforholdingtheSymbolinmeditation.Hencetheold
Rosicrucianadept,Mejnour,whoisoneoftheleadingcharactersinthatinterestingoccult
novel,Zanoni,says:"Youngman,ifthyimaginationisvivid...Iwillaccepttheeasmy
pupil."AndBulwerLytton,theauthor,himselfanexperiencedoccultist,remarks:"Itwas
tothisstatethatMejnourevidentlysoughttobringtheNeophyte....Forhewhoseeksto
discover,mustfirstreducehimselfintoakindofabstractidealism,andberenderedup,in
solemnandsweetbondage,tothefacultieswhichcontemplateandimagine."
224

Analyse,understand,andconfessthesinexpressremorse,resolvetoactrightlyinthe
futureandfinallythrowyourselfonGod'smercy.
225

Thereisnopsychicdangerfortheworthyintheprevisioningexercises,buttherewould
beforpeopledominatedbylowmotivesandexpressingunpurifiedemotions.
226

Itispossiblebythepowerofsuchmeditations,creativelytoshapethecharacterand
deepentheconsciousnessofoneself.
227

Itisnotenoughtovisualizeoneselflivingtheidealonemustalsolearntoretainthe
picture.
228

CreativeThoughtExercise:Hevisualizespossibleevents,preexamineshisbehavioron
meetingthem,andreshapestheseanticipatedthoughtsanddeedsonhigherprinciples.
229

CreativeMeditationExercise:Hemaythinkofprobablemeetingsduringthenextday,if
heispractisingatnight,orofthecomingdayifatmorn,ofeventsthatarelikelyto
happenthen,andofplaceswherehemayhavetogo.Alongsideofthathemayimagine
howheoughttoconducthimself,howtothinkandtalkunderthosecircumstances.And
always,iftheexerciseistoproveitsworth,heshouldtakethestandpointofhisbetter,
nobler,wiserself,oftheOverself.
230

Hemusttrainhimselfduringsolitaryhoursinthequalitiesheseekstoexpressduring
activeones.Creativeimaginationandconcentratedthinkingarethemeansforthisself
training.
231
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Alldominanttendenciesandrulingideaswhichareofanundesirablecharacterconstitute
fruitfulsourcesoffutureaction.If,bysuchcreativemeditation,weeradicatethemwe
alsoeradicatethepossibilityofundesirableactioninthefuture.
232

Outofthesequietmomentstherewillemergeintoactivedaytodaylifethosecontrolsof
character,thosedisciplinesofemotion,whichelevatethehumanentity.
233

Whenyouhaveclimbedthepeakofthismeditation,youhaveenteredintoyourmost
powerfulcreativemoments.Itiswellthereforeatsuchatimetomakeyourfirststepin
descenttoordinaryconsciousnessastepinselfimprovement.Takesomedefectin
characterthatneedstobeovercomeandimaginativelytreatyourselfforitlikeadoctor
treatingapatient.
234

Everyhelpfulselfsuggestiongivenatthispointofcontemplationwillgerminatelikea
seedandproduceitsvisiblefruitinduetime.
235

ThemeditationpracticesoftheJesuitswerebasedonthesameprinciple.Theirexercises
transformedmen'scharacter.Thestudenthadtoexperienceimaginativelywhathehoped
torealizeonedayphysically.Thedualitywhichisaffirmedandpicturedintenselyin
meditationbecomesmaterializedintime.
236

Suchconstructivemeditationonpositivequalitieswillhelptoeliminatewrongfearsfrom
aman'slifeandincreasehisstrengthtoendurethevicissitudesofmodernexistence.
237

ByconstantlymeditatingupontheIdeal,thecreativepowerofimaginationgradually
implantsthelikenessofitsqualities,attributes,andvirtuesinhim.Itbecomes,indeed,a
secondselfwithwhichheincreasinglyidentifieshimself.
238

Theworkofmeditationmayeventuallybecomeatransformingone.Ifthemeditator,
whilerestinginthiscreativequietude,earnestlystrivestoreeducatehischaracter,
impersonalizehisattitude,andstrengthenhisspirituality,hecandevelopaninnerlifethat
mustinevitablybringmarkedanddeepchangesinhisouterlife.
239

Anditisthroughsuchpersistentreflectionsuponexperiencethathischaracterslowly
alters,thusconfirmingSocrates'saying:"Virtuecanbelearned."Theidealpicturesfor
himthesortofmanhewantstobe.
240

Rightreflectionaboutpastexperiences,togetherwithdeterminationtotakehimselfin
hand,willleadthestudenttoamoreworthwhilefutureandsmooththepathahead.
241

Itisausefulexercisetospendtimerecollectingthepreviousday'sactions,situations,and
happeningsinthesameorderinwhichtheymanifested.Thosepersonswhoappearin
themshouldberecalledasvividlyastheywerethenseen,andtheirvoicesheardas
clearly.
242
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Thisexerciserequireshimtoreviewthedayjustpastfromthehourofwakingoutof
sleeptothehourofgoingbacktobedatnight.
243

Thevalueoftakingthiskindofabackwardlookatthedayjustfinishedisfarmorethan
itseems.Foreverythinginhimwillbenefithischaracter,hisdestiny,andevenhisafter
deathexperience.
244

Theexerciseispractisedwhenheretiresforthenightandislyinginthedark.Hegoes
backwardintimeandrecallsallthathashappenedduringthedaythepersonshehas
met,theplaceshehasvisited,andwhathehasdone.Thepictureshouldbemadeasfully
detailedaspossibleandcovertheentirefieldfromthemomentheawokeinthemorning
untilthemomenthelaydowntobegintheexercise.Ifhehastalkedwithothers,henotes
theparticulartoneandaccentoftheirvoices,aswellashearingthesentencesthemselves.
Hetriestoinsertasmanylittleitemsintohisvisualizationaswillrenderitsharp,
realistic,andconvincing.Outofthisbackgroundheselectsthoseofhisactionsand
words,aswellasthoseofhisfeelingsandthoughts,whichcallforamendmentor
correctionordiscipline.Heistoculloutoftheday'sepisodesandhappeningsnotonly
whathisconscienceorjudgementtellhimcallforcorrectiveworkinmeditationbutalso
whatismostsignificantforhisspiritualpurposeandwhatislikelytoprovemostfruitful
forhiscreativeworkinmeditation.
245

Allwillcomeunderreviewperiodicallythemanagementofhisrelationshipswith
others,hispersonal,social,andprofessionalactivities,themanagementofhislife.Butall
thisscrutinyistobedonefromastandpointhigherthantheordinaryone,lessego
governedandmoreimpersonal.Thereforeitshouldbedoneonlyandpreferablyatsuch
timesasthismoodisuponhim,ifitistobeeffectivelydone.
246

Heshould,forthepurposesofthisexerciselookbackanumberofyearstothepointsin
hispersonalhistorywhereopportunitywasmissedordecisionwaswrongoractioncould
havebeenbetter.Then,usinghisimaginativefaculty,heshouldreconstructthesituations
andmentally,correctinghispasterrors,dowhatheoughtthentohavedone.Fromthere,
heshouldproceedtotracetheprobableconsequencesdownthroughtheyears.
TheNotebooksarecopyright19841989,ThePaulBruntonPhilosophicFoundation.

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