Philosophic meditation will show him that his own existence is rooted in that of a higher power, while philosophic study will explain some of the laws governing his experiences from birth to death. But at the bottom of existence and experience is ineffable incomprehensible Mystery.
If there is anything worth studying by a human being, after the necessary preliminary studies of how to exist and survive in this world healthily and wisely, it is the study of man’s own consciousness – not a cataloguing of the numerous thoughts that play within it, but a deep investigation of its nature in itself, its own unadulterated pure self.
For if we are divine and timeless beings now (and who can gainsay it that has had a glimpse of that starry state memorably vouchsafed to him?) then we have always been such. How can we evolve who are already self-existent, perfect beings? Does it not seem more probable that something alien has accreted around us, covering up the sublimer consciousness; that Time’s work is not to raise us but to free us; that our search is not for a loftier state but for our pristine state, to recover our former grandeur? What we need is not to grow but to know. Evolution cannot help us, but self-knowledge can.
… The mystery of Mind is a theme upon which no aspirant can ever reflect enough: first, because of its importance, and second, because of its capacity to unfold his latent spirituality…
To reflect upon That which we are will one day bring It into consciousness. To contemplate It by seeking the stillness in which It abides, will one day make It a palpable presence.
This habit of persistent daily reflection on the great verities, of thinking about the nature or attributes of the Overself, is a very rewarding one. From being mere intellectual ideas, they begin to take on warmth, life, and power.
Every new circumstance or happening in his life has some message for him from the Infinite Mind or some lesson to convey to him or some test to strengthen him. It is for him to seek out this inner significance and to re-adjust his thinking and actions in accordance with it.
Knowledge of the higher laws, consciousness of the higher self, bring special obligations. To apply them carries new responsibilities to live according to them.
If a man will constantly think about these metaphysical truths, he will develop in time the capacity to perceive them by direct intuition instead of by second-remove reflection. But to do this kind of thinking properly the mind must be made steady, poised, concentrated, and easily detached from the world.
… Whereas metaphysics seeks to lift us up to the superphysical idea by thinking, whereas meditation seeks to lift us up by intuition, whereas ethics seeks to raise us to it by practical goodness, art seeks to do the same by feeling and appreciating beauty. Philosophy in its wonderful breadth and balance embraces and synthesizes all four and finally adds their coping stone, insight.
Constant reflection on metaphysical and ethical themes reaches a point where one day its accumulated weight pushes him around the corner into a mystical realization of those themes no less surely than meditation might have done.
… From the ordinary point of view, the nature of an event determines whether it is a good or an evil one; from the philosophic point of view, the way he thinks about the event will determine whether it is good or evil for him. He should always put the two points of view together and never separate them, always balance the short-range one by the long-range one…
The hope of educated men who understand and appreciate the services of science but who deplore its dangers and recognize its limitations, lies in the investigation and development of consciousness.
It is not the world that stands in our way and must be renounced but our mental and emotional relationship with the world; and this needs only to be corrected. We may remain just where we are without flight to ashram or convent, provided we make an inner shift.
The disinclination to start practising meditation and the inability to sustain it for long when started are due in part to the mind’s strong habit of being preoccupied with worldly matters or being attached to personal desires. This is why the study of wholly abstract metaphysical and impersonal topics is part of the Philosophic Path.
The aspirant lives a kind of double life. He sees all his experiences as personal events just like other men do. But he also sees them again as material for study: what is and what ought to be his reaction to them?
The first feeling is one of astonishment that such a large area of knowledge and experience should exist among us humans and yet be almost unknown to most of us.
Those who will take the trouble to comprehend what all this means, and who will do what they can to practise the requisite exercises, will find with increasing joy that new life opening up to them.
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