Trace the I to its Source
Ordinary meditation is still preoccupied with his own ego and therefore is still barred from ascending to the Himalayan peaks where alone God is to be felt and found. The meditator is still too wrapped up in his own development, his own problems, his own aspirations. Advanced nondual meditation forgets all that in order to remember and identify itself solely with God.
If he will try to perceive the mind by which he perceives the world, he will be practising the shortest, most direct technique of discovering the Overself. This is what Ramana Maharshi meant when he taught, “Trace the I to its source.”
… When feeling a descent of the stillness the aspirant is told to drop whatever he is doing and to hold himself in the stillness as long as he can or as long as it is there…
There are definite stages which mark his progress. First he forgets the larger world, then his immediate surroundings, then his body, and finally his ego.
He may feel his attention being suddenly but gently drawn inwards. The moment this occurs, he should at once pay the fullest heed to this subtle whisper from the Overself, which it really is. It will pay him handsomely to drop for a few minutes whatever else he may be doing at that time. For if he does turn inwards, as he is directed to do, the whisper will grow quickly into a loud call, which will overwhelm his whole being. And as he gives himself up utterly to such listening, he will–and here we are speaking metaphorically only–be led into the sacred precincts of the Overself. The visit may be very brief, but it will also be very beautiful, finely refreshing, and greatly enlightening.
Hidden behind every particular thought there exists the divine element which makes possible our consciousness of that thought. If therefore we seek that element, we must seek it first by widening the gap between them and then dissolving all thoughts, and second by contemplating that out of which they have arisen.
If he wishes to enter the stage of contemplation, he must let go of every thought as it rises, however high or holy it seems, for it is sure to bring associated thoughts in its train. However interesting or attractive these bypaths may be at other times, they are now just that–bypaths. He must rigidly seek the Void.
Once you have caught this inner note in your experience of your own self-existence, try to adhere firmly to the listening attitude which catches it.
Once ”tuned in,” the longer you can stay with the Overself, the greater the depth penetrated; and this in turn means the more general benefit will be gained, the more creativity will be possible in ideas, in arts, and in intuitions.
At this critical point consciousness shifts from forced willed attention, that is, concentration, to passive receptive attention, or contemplation. This happens by itself, by grace.
The significant moment in meditation begins when the man stops making efforts himself and when the mind begins to take him, to withdraw him into itself quite of its own accord. This is an amazing experience for he does not know how he came to stop doing what he was already doing, trying, using effort. He is somehow led into letting it all go, into yielding to the mood of passivity which gently, imperceptibly steals over him.
… The mind is drawn so deeply into itself and becomes so engrossed in itself that the outer world vanishes utterly. The sensation of being enclosed all round by a greater presence, at once protective and benevolent, is strong. There is a feeling of being completely at rest in this soothing presence…
Out of this stillness will come the light he seeks, the guide he needs, the strength he requires.
It is not just ceasing to think, although it prerequires that, but something more: it is also a positive alertness to the Divine Presence.
It is not enough to seek stillness for the body and mind alone: the attention and intention must be directed at the same time to that Overself which transcends body and mind.
Now that he has entered the blank silence he must be prepared to wait patiently for what is about to unfold itself. This next development cannot be forced or hurried; indeed, that attempt would effectively prevent its manifestation.
When a certain depth is reached and the concentration remains unflagging, the ego begins to sink back into its source, to dissolve into and unite with that holy source. It is then indeed as near to God’s presence as it can get.
If you can attentively trace this subtle feeling back to its own root, you will get a reward immeasurably greater than it seemed to promise.
When all action comes to an end, when the body is immobile and the consciousness stilled, there is achieved what the Chinese have called Wu Wei, meaning non-doing. This brings a wonderful peace, for tied up with it is non-desiring and non-aspiring. The quester has then come close to the end, but until this peace is thoroughly and permanently established in him, the quest must go on…
If he can penetrate deep enough into the stillness he reaches a state of consciousness that is actually timeless. That must be the reference in the New Testament declaration that there shall be no more time.
The strength needed for sustained mystical contemplation must come at first from his own ego’s persistence but will come in the end from the Overself’s Grace.
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