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Jul 28, 2006 12:46 PM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck
Friday, July 28, 2006 Friends: Would not "contemplation" be careful review and thinking about the results of one's MEDIATION ? MEDITATION ______________________________________ Introductory The Theosophical approach to the consideration of meditation, introspection, self-analysis can be contrasted with the methods of investigation employed under Western Psychology, which have been called the investigation into alternative or altered states of consciousness. The approach in the "West" follows the analytical and observational process (from "particulars" to a search for "universals"). Sensory deprivation is one of the methods employed. This changes the environment of the thinking and feeling human, with the object of examining his reactions in terms of feeling and thought to a drastic change in physical environment. It is the concept that the physical state affects and greatly changes the mental. This is not inaccurate, but is only a small portion of the entire study of man's psychology from the Oriental point of view. When physical sensation is artificially canceled to a large extent, the reaction of the percipient consciousness is then observed under a new series of stresses. In some cases, the reaction to the use of mind-altering drugs is also observed, and impressions are culled, usually from memory. The nature of the perceiving being which lives in the physical body of a human is not known, but this process is designed to discover some of its extended powers of perception. The record of such experiments is entirely interior to the subject. Objective observations are always made later in terms of memory. Memory is not always free of bias. Return to "normalcy" does not imply entire accuracy in recollection. Every human has his or her own set of mental or psycho-emotional filters through which perception and sensation is recorded "as if" similar to--by analogy and correspondence--to that which is well-known in the subject's "normal condition." Oriental psychology which has records of research extending back into a great antiquity, and embraces the experiences and observations of thousands of participants, commences with a consideration of the basis of knowledge provided by "metaphysical universals." These standards were established, and repeatedly checked and verified over many thousands of years by many who have voluntarily make these observations. As a system it traces the psychological physiological, mental and moral evolution of man-intelligence (as a perceiver), using the various qualitative components of his nature. For the purpose of such analysis the oriental psychologist considers in addition to the normal states (waking, sleeping, dreaming, trance) certain moral components which bear on man's nature. Seven distinct qualities (or "principles") in man correspond to those perceived Analogetically in nature. These are seen to link the Perceiver in each human to the physical vehicle (body and brain) in which he lives and perceives. The brain is looked on as a specialized link of refined substance that enables the inner Thinker to work in and with his physical body. It is important to note that the assemblage of bodily components which give competency to any human to reflect not only his inner nature (character, mentality, sensitivity, personal and impersonal drives, emotional balance, etc.) but that these are assembled almost entirely without his direct control from conception to final dissolution and dispersal in the death of that body. The marvelous symmetry and sensitivity of the physical body remains largely a puzzle to the psychologist when the links that exist between perception, conception, will, intelligence and that form are searched for in the physical form. In addition, in the Orient, the reason for personal existence is considered to have a primacy in the realm of psychological consideration and analysis. Man is considered to be a self-moving "atom," or "unit" of consciousness, distinct from all others, yet united to every other through the consubstantiality of substance, objective, and coexistence. A distinction is made between the evanescent personality of the present life (body, emotion, rationality, instinct, feeling), and the eternal Individuality consisting of the Spiritual base, the moral base, and the volitional thinking base, that form the essential and reincarnating human. At the end of this paper which plunges immediately into the consideration of mediation from the point of view of oriental psychology, is attached an essay on the seven links between Perceiver, and the tool of perception (the body). The mind, intelligence, consciousness, sensation, feeling, emotion, are assigned in this system precise origins, inter-relations and dimensions of operation. Intuition, intelligence, instinct, reason, intellect, meditation, dream consciousness of various kinds and levels, etc., are all considered. The terminology employed in Theosophy is largely derived from that used in the very ancient Eastern development of this science. A familiarity with that nomenclature and its system of metaphysics ought to be acquired so that there is greater ease in following the statements made in many of these quotations. Wherever possible, in square brackets, modern equivalents of the oriental technical terms have been given. On the other hand, students of Eastern Psychology do make the effort to understand terms evolved in Western investigation of the psyche and mental powers, so that they may offer such links as will serve both systems in understanding each other. In the orient, to recapitulate, the student starts with the universal theory of intelligence, and is shown how the particularization of this into component "units" occurs. He is encouraged to verify this in himself through "meditation" (as outlined in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, for instance). In the west, starting with many observations of mental and psychological effects, their cause is sought. Generalizations are framed as the result of experimental observation. In the description of oriental psychology the personal variations in mental action and perception are not limited to the "brain" or the "nervous system," which in that system are considered to be the most sensitive material tools--the last link between the immaterial Perceiver, and the physical material form in which it lives, observes, thinks and feels at present. In the oriental system the Thinker is held to be a permanent entity consisting of the most tenuous (yet most resilient in its inherent permanency) aspect of physical substance. And, this is resident as the Ego-base (the Perceiver--called Atma) in every human form. It is held to survive the death of the body. The process of reincarnation and multiple rebirths is held to be valid in the philosophy of the universe. It considers all experience (including the human stage) to be similar to the operation and experience to be had in a vast school, where all beings and pupils are of the same immortal and eternal essence. Each of these participants is held to retain, as its own permanent base in capacity and character, in mind and moral nature, in feeling and intuition, a record of the vast past of all experiences the Perceiver has been through. This record is said to be the moral-base (called Buddhi-wisdom of experience). The observing, learning, thinking base in called Manas, the Thinker, the Chooser, the conscious, sensitive, feeling individual intelligence of every human. The "sensory deprivation" used in the West to focus attention on the emotional and mental response of subject humans, has long been mentally induced in the orient through "meditation, fasting and other ascetic disciplines," which are essentially a mental control of the perceptual environment. This is made operative through the will, or volition of the Perceiver within, which in effect isolates itself for a time from its bodily perceptions. The successful operator of the Oriental method can at any time suitable enter into the meditative condition and there seek the wisdom available to handle any situation question or crisis. In order to explain this to others, his process of self-education has to be made plain. For each system to understand the other, an exchange of concepts is essential. The gap of language and of concepts has to be bridged. It may also be recognized that all the observations made by Western or Oriental psychology are a continuation of the verifying of similar observations made in the framing of the concepts of either system. Both systems are thus seen to be united as they employ the human psyche as a basis for experimentation and understanding, but the starting points of the respective systems are at this time almost polar opposites. To put this in historical perspective, during the time of the "dark ages" ( 4th to 13th Centuries) the West was systematically deprived by fanatics of those links of knowledge and wisdom which would have united its progress in discovery with the rest of the scholarly world in the Orient. Isolated from that source, it has developed since the Renaissance its own base for scientific analysis and independent study. Science freed, broke the chains of theocracy and Aristotelian thought and methods being adopted, replaced dogmas and creedalism as the Western mind was gradually unchained. This produced an imbalance as materialism developed, and the physical world was deemed the only reality. The causative basis for phenomena was lost sight of. And while phenomena was recognized, the source for those was not to be found in physical structures. In the last two hundred years a knowledge of the rich mines of example and experience available from ancient oriental texts has become increasingly available to the psychological sciences. The contrast between the two systems is clear. In the West the starting point is the "particular" and the physical. In the East it is the "universal," and the Mental, and, in addition, a moral component is added: the consideration of the aims and objectives of the "whole of manifestation" of which mankind is only a component. Man's existence is to be carefully considered at each point as integrated with nature and his environment. This "environment" has reason for existence in itself, and every component is to be regarded as essential to living as a whole. This underscores the concept of Universal Brotherhood as an essential component of all Life. Mankind represents perhaps the most intelligent of beings in our world, but it is entirely dependent on the cooperation and sacrifice of a vast multitude of other "units of lie," which sustain its form with their lives. Man's intelligence as a class in located at the point of transition between the non-self-conscious and the universally self-conscious. In this is seen an enormous moral responsibility as each human becomes in effect the conservator, the trustee for the rest of the World. -- DTB ========== As to Meditation: As in most things, concerning which there seems to be little general knowledge, we ought to seek for the definitions that are around us. Theosophy has a specific definition, as the meditation technique is one that a student uses to learn about himself and nature. Theosophy considers every human being is a Soul (mind), and is an "Eternal Pilgrim." The mind principle (called Manas ) is that which stores the thoughts of all our lives. The total quantity of life-thoughts makes the stream of our life's meditation -- or that upon which our heart is set. We do not often have this as a precise concept, but it can be discovered. It is not outside of us, but an interior attitude. Our mind links our embodied consciousness (mind) to the inner Spiritual Root of our nature. In turn, this places us in a position that we can choose to activate with the Spiritual Principle of the Universe a portion of which ( a "ray," or, "spark") is in us and forms the root-base of our existence and gives us a sense of permanence and of purpose in our existence. With each one of us is associated a measure of Karma -- the fruit of our choices and motives for decisions made in earlier lives. This manifests in our life as character and tendency, as interest and talent or their lack. We also ought to include in this our interest in "meditation." Why do we seek to understand and use it? We tend to place all these things together and call it "our nature." But, we can also see that "our nature" reaches out to other "natures" and we meet with such friends or enemies in this life that we may have established in earlier ones. One cannot understand or practice meditation without this as a consideration that interlinks us all. Let us consider what Mme. Blavatsky says in THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY (p. 10): Meditation ..."is silent and unuttered prayer, or, as Plato expressed it, "the ardent turning of the soul towards the divine." This divine is the Higher Self (Atma/Buddhi) or the divine Spirit Wisdom within each of us. There are two possible objectives to Meditation. One, is directed at enhancing the Personality in its selfish acquisition of "powers." it is selfish, and it isolates. It concentrates one's effort on personal results -- if persisted in, it will produce some limited results and, at death, it leaves nothing for Devachanic meditation. Anything that "isolates" is selfish and harmful to the permanent Self, which is the true immortal aspirant and devotee. The other is that which is aimed at understanding the Inner HIGHER SELF and the potential that it can make available for practical, universal and righteous action. This kind of meditation leads to compassion and a real effective care for others. It views us as one among many. It also considers that as an "immortal" Mind/Soul we have innately to ourselves a mission that needs the joint cooperative assistance of others to achieve. We can only reach "Perfection," or the "Goal" envisaged, by joint work. The whole of humanity, and all Nature is engaged in this. In considering the development of the meditative faculty we need first to learn and then seek those applications which can be made compassionate generously and practically. Our perception grows deeper and more universal as we are able to widen our effectiveness in helping others to grow themselves. "For others' sake ... " is a good phrase always to keep always in mind. We grow best when we give away. But we have to give away with discrimination and that takes sound preliminary learning. There is the accumulation of facts, then their arrangement in logical relationships, and, finally, the construction in our own minds of the structure of a universal verity to which we will always be able to refer as a basis for understanding what appears to be "new" concepts. As to the meaning and practice of meditation: It should never be conspicuous, or spoken about. And that is because it is the normal extension of one's study of universal principles. Everyone knows about study. Everyone has devoted a long time to actual study and meditation in school life. To study, we place "facts" (or data) in our minds -- as "memory." To meditate one selects from among our memories a group or an area of study. The memories are evoked and then compared with such basic facts as we are already sure of. Therefore, every time that one studied a subject, or wrote an article, or an important letter, or prepared for a talk the meditative aspect of study was invoked. Even when one is not studying, but only doing one's work, and happen to think about some subject that is kept "in the back of the mind," it is evidence of meditation being pursuing as an ongoing process. If one reflects on this then the process was: selection, gathering information, adjusting data so that a cohesive picture grew, identifying areas that were uncertain, and finally looking for analogous or similar conditions. Anything new has to be adjusted so that it is seen to agree with basic information already proved to ones' self. If in the course of meditation one is confronted with some fact that is not congruent with already proven verities, this necessitates a most careful review of all our earlier built conclusions. If we should arbitrarily accept anything without this checking and verifying process we might be increasing an area of error in our thinking. Theosophy shows how the whole Universe is integrated and has a profound cohesive and logical meaning. Everything fits together, and invites our scrutiny and testing. There are no secrets as such, nor any dogmas or beliefs that we should adopt without understanding. Nothing will ever be expected of us which we cannot understand and would do willingly once we are sure of the intention, methods and results. So our lives are part of the Universal Life, and as we seek to know it better, we delve deeper into our own being, trying to find out what we are and what are the powers of our mind and our own Spiritual Self, that we can use in the "here and now.". We should discover that this leads to friendliness, brotherhood, compassion and altruism. And, those should be practiced with discrimination and care for others all the time. The interior "WE" is really the HIGHER SELF. It is the Lower self, the Lower mind and the Personality (which have recognized the existence of the HIGHER SELF), that are now disciplining themselves so that the HIGHER SELF may "come through" with greater ease. CONSCIOUSNESS is ONE. It as the one attribute of the Higher Self. It, alone is able to pierce up and down the 7 planes of being and retains a clear memory of experiences on each plane. Our memories on this plane are fragmentary, until by effort we learn to unify them. The practice of "attention" does this, but, it has to be attentive to grasping the operations of the One Law and impersonal in our application of that to our personal selves. It is the process of digesting, assimilation and thinking about the matter. By this method, one is inviting the discriminating and Wise principle -- Buddhi -- to work actively as the "intuition," and for insights to appear to help -- they come from within, they are the "points of light" that come from the Higher Self working through the lower Self (which has to make itself "porous" to them) and then our lives become illumined by the TRUE, and become friendly to all others, become just and universal. MEDITATION is serious and concentrated thought. It is not a ritual, or a discipline that involves anything of the physical or the psychic. It should not be advertised or made obvious to others, nor should it make life more difficult. It is essentially a search for TRUTH. It is a quiet and unobtrusive mind exercise. It is something that requires that we be fully awake and totally concentrated in the waking state -- no "blanking of the mind", and it is to be entirely self-controlled and self-generated. It is not an exercise that can be practised with others, even when there are silent moments for the reason that it is not passivity, but a time of most active mental effort. We ought to draw no attention to our practice and if we should be interrupted, accept it as a kind of test of our equanimity and let there be no apparent reaction. We are immortal beings and have all the time we need for our future advance -- so long as we are able to include everyone else in our progress. That is the real key to advance - the sharing of ourselves. We should always make time to assist. It does not involve trying to get at the meaning of special words and especially without a truly correct undemanding of what they mean and are (potentially) able to do -- whether they be pronounced correctly or not. That is all physical, external and fruitless. The real power resides in the application of the motive as a carefully controlled and always beneficent creative power -- in those who aspire to assist Nature this is never personal, and is always used (only if necessary) in a harmless, wise and compassionate way with a Mind that is determined to be a servant and assistant to all Nature and to the least of beings which approaches it (us) under Karma. We should consider all those as being, themselves, divine MONADS, and give them the respect and attention (as our brothers) that they claim or, we become aware that they need. Real meditation is a mental determination to live a totally moral and ethical life, all the time to the extent that one is able to do that. It is nothing extraordinary except for this one orientation that has to come from WITHIN. We have to assure ourselves first of all that our learning is not self-directed at all, but that our motive is "to better help and teach others." THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE and its statements ought to be considered as one of the primary practical sources of inspiration for true Meditation. We ought, by reading a little every day, to become familiar with it and the explanations contained in the footnotes there. As said before, it is most important to remember that we are the HIGHER SELF in our inner-most core (and everyone else is so also). Every being exists because of the essential and ETERNAL MONAD that it is. That Monad is SPIRIT and MATTER Conjoined, or ATMA/BUDDHI -- and that is interior to all without any exception. It is the ETERNAL PILGRIM and it is the "Real You." Every human being (and every other type of being is also at root a Monad ) and in the past our MONAD once occupied a position that is comparable to that which it now seems to occupy. We only appear to be separated at present, because we have, each, our own individual path. In the end (at the end of the Manvantara) all those 'Paths' converge. So, from that point of view, it is not useful to seek "guidance," or any "leader" who will prescribe some ritual or formula. Books will not be able to tell anyone what to do, but they can offer advice. It is too easy to be misled. We must remember that the Monad is an immortal. It cannot be "erased" as Individuality at the end of a Manvantara, for the economy of Nature demands that all those INDIVIDUALITIES (experienced MONADS) be employed again, in continuation of their present "advance" at an appropriate place in a new Manvantara which will be the Karmic child of the present one. (see HPB Articles III p. 265, ULT Edition) Everyone has been at this business of self-improvement for aeons -- and it does not begin for the first time in this life. In this life we are all renewing that age-old study that was ours in the past. If we could recover the "memory of past lives" the whole process of advancing would be much easier. If we are now considering the study of Theosophy, it is that which, if and when applied, will make our embodied minds (the Lower Self) clearer and porous, so that the Higher Memories may be accessed. Patanjali's YOGA SUTRAS translated by W. Q. Judge, is most valuable in a study of the nature and procedures of meditation -- especially the first 3 books. It gives a clue as to what true meditation is. It is the attempt of the embodied mind (the Lower Manas) to reach up to and understand the work of the Higher Manas within. And from there to participate in the work of the HIGHER SELF. As a beginning, one might at first study, frame questions, then begin to assemble all that one has learned or has available on a certain subject that is selected. This assembly gives a review of those subjects and ideas -- then one ought to put them all together and see if one can secure a glimpse of the inner reason and meaning for their being there [ to do this one ought to ask the all-important question: WHY ? -- that takes the practitioner to basic principles and enables a clear perception of their inter-relation with others and thus to the CAUSES ] -- and that is MEDITATION. Offered in the hope that this might help. Dallas ============================================ -----Original Message----- From: L.R. Andrews Sent: Thursday, July 27, 2006 To: Subject: contemplation/meditation Hello friends, I wonder if someone could enlighten me regarding the difference between meditation and contemplation. I understand meditation intellectually, but not contemplation. Thanks and best wishes, L.R.