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RE: contemplation/meditation

Jul 28, 2006 12:46 PM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck

Friday, July 28, 2006


Would not "contemplation" be careful review and thinking about the results
of one's MEDIATION ?




	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

	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

	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
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

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

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
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
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.



-----Original Message-----
From: L.R. Andrews 
Sent: Thursday, July 27, 2006 
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

Thanks and best wishes,


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