Meditation is Necessary
The portrayal of Gautama as a seated meditating figure symbolizes his basic message. This was really, and quite simply, “Be still–empty yourself–let out the thoughts, the desires, and the ego which prevent this inner stillness.”
… Meditation is essential for every man because without it he lives at too great a radius from his divine centre to understand the best thing which life can offer him…
It is habitual, hence called natural, for present-day humanity to go along with the mental flow to outside things. Meditation reverses this direction and tries to bring the little mind back to its origin–Mind.
Once he recognizes his responsibility toward the fulfilment of this higher purpose, for which the Infinite Wisdom has put him here, he will have to recognize also the obligation of devoting some time every day for study of, and meditation upon, it…
The Overself is drawing him ever inward to Itself, but the ego’s earthly nature is drawing him back to all those things or activities which keep him outwardly busy. On the issue of this tension depends the result of his meditation. If he can bring such devotion to the Overself that out of it he can find enough strength to put aside everything else that he may be doing or thinking and give himself up for a while to dwelling solely in it, this is the same as denying himself and his activities. Once his little self gets out of the way, success in reaching the Overself is near.
… The benefits of meditation apply both to mundane life and to spiritual seeking. Think what it means to be able to give our mental apparatus a complete rest, to be able to stop all thoughts at will, and to experience the profound relief of relaxing the entire being–body, nerves, breath, emotions, and thoughts…
When the evils or tribulations or disappointments of life become too heavy a weight, if he has made some advance he has only to pause, turn away and inward, and there he can find a radiant peace of mind which offsets the dark things and counterbalances the menacing depressions.
The divine part of our being is always there; why then is it not available to us? We have to practise making ourselves available to It. We have to pause, listen inwardly, feel for Its blessed presence. For this purpose meditation is a valuable help, a real need.
Both the necessity and justification of meditation lie in this, that man is so preoccupied with his own thoughts that he is never aware of the mind out of which they arise and in which they vanish. The process of stilling these thoughts, or advanced meditation, makes this awareness possible.
… If the mind is to become conscious of itself, it can do so only by freeing itself from the ceaseless activity of its thoughts. The systematic exercise of meditation is the deliberate attempt to achieve this…
All thinking keeps one’s awareness out of the Overself. That is why even thinking about the Overself merely produces another thought. Only in the case of the sage, who has established himself in the Overself, is thinking no barrier at all. In this case, thinking may coexist with the larger awareness. So it is not enough to be a good thinker; one also has to learn how to be a good non-thinker. Of course, the way to do this is through the practice of meditation.
… The giving up of thoughts leads to the giving up of the personal self. In his quietest moments a man hears in the depths of his being a voice which tells him that he comes from a country to which one day he must return…
… The Overself is only an object of meditation so long as he knows it only as something apart from himself. That is good but not good enough. For he is worshipping a graven image, not the sublime reality. He has to rise still higher and reach it, not as a separate other, but as his very self.
The higher purpose of meditation is missed if it does not end in the peace, the stillness, that emanates from the real self. However slightly it may be felt, this is the essential work which meditation must do for us.
Meditation is not achieved if the concentrated mind is directed toward a subject of personal and worldly nature. Reflecting on the subject will give a deeper knowledge of it and a fuller perception of its meaning, but it will not give anything more. However concentrated the mind may become, it will not escape from the ego, nor does it seek to do so. Meditation is achieved if the concentrated mind is used to reflect on the Overself or the way to it.
When he has gone through some training in yoga or meditation, he is fit to ascertain Truth . . . emotionally and mentally fit. His mind can be held for a long time on a single theme without wandering; he can concentrate his thoughts upon the pursuit of Truth to the exclusion of everything else. His power of attention is made needle-sharp and brought under control. Thus equipped, he can begin to find Truth.
When thinking has done its best work, reached its loftiest point, it should relax and cease its activity. If all else has prepared the way, the mind will be ready to enter the silence, to accept a take-over by the Overself.
When the mental form on which he is meditating vanishes of its own accord and the mind suddenly becomes completely still, vacant, and perfectly poised, the soul is about to reveal itself. For the psychological conditions requisite to such a revelation have then been provided.
… Nothing is more substantial than the eternal truth of man’s spiritual existence. Nothing could be more real than the experiences which come to him when he can unchain the mind from the dense vibrations of the fleshly body.
The meditation has been successfully accomplished when all thoughts have come to an end, and when the presence of Divinity is felt within this emptiness.
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