RE: [bn-study] Re: contemplation/meditation
Aug 27, 2006 12:34 PM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Have a look at some of these comments:
ON PATANJALI'S YOGA APHORISMS
Articles from Theosophy Magazine can be found in Vol. 35
pgs. 28, 81, 129, 180, 227, 262, 318, 373, 421, 467, 514, 563
QUESTION WHAT is the real and essential difference between Eastern and Western psychology? That is, aside from the basis of reincarnation, what would be a few primary differences, taking Patanjali as a type of Eastern psychology?
ANSWER The essential difference between the two is described in a few words of Chapter XIV of NOTES ON THE BHAGAVAD-GITA:
“Both abound in classifications; those of the East are much more numerous than those of the West and cover a far wider field; Western psychology in its classifications refers solely to mental states. The psychology of the Gita and the ancient sages classifies the moral states, treating of the mental states as mere effects produced by moral conditions (p. 197).
A psychology which is founded on the study of moral conditions is immediately and practically related to conduct. Eastern psychology is therefore dynamic, not merely descriptive. The Gita, rich in oriental psychology, is above all a treatise on action. Its purpose is to assist the reader in deciding what he ought to do. Thus true study of Eastern psychology is impossible without living it as well. In her article, "Psychic and Noëtic Action," H.P.B. identifies the two great springs of human action, the higher and the lower. It is meant as a practical guide in the struggle for self-knowledge.
The classifications of Western psychology deal almost entirely with the psychic nature and the psycho-physical correlations of the lower man. It sets forth many details of psychic stimulus and response and describes typical human behavior in individuals and in the mass. But Western psychology has no general doctrine of the nature of man, no clear concept of soul, no serious consideration of the moral struggle.
An apt admission of the confusion of modern psychology is found in the words of the late William McDougall, himself a leader in the field. "It remains," he wrote in 1931, "a chaos of dogmas and opinions diametrically opposed, a jangle of discordant schools and sects; a field exploited by quacks and charlatans of every sort, preying upon the ignorance of a deeply interested public which knows not which way to turn for authoritative guidance."
Eastern psychology is the study of the mind as a principle in itself, in its relation to external and internal experience, and in relation to the Spirit or the Self. By understanding of the mind, the student learns to overcome its limitations—its "modifications," as Patanjali calls them—and thereby becomes a free being. This freedom is identical with knowledge, for it is the product of knowledge.
True psychology, therefore, is inseparable from philosophy; is, in fact, a department of philosophy. In the West, psychology is the enemy of philosophy and the ally of the grossest materialism. It is this materialism of academic psychology which has delivered "a deeply interested public" into the hands of "quacks and charlatans of every sort," as McDougall says. There can be no true psychology without a philosophy of soul.
Q Is it possible for the public to be enlightened as to the psychic and mental enslavement which follows the misuse of psychological laws and principles?
A Mental enslavement, except for its extreme subtlety, is like any other enslavement. Its victims can be enlightened if they are beginning to be aware of their slavery and want to be free. There is a high degree of enlightenment today regarding the evils of drink, but this does not prevent the increasing use of liquor in modern society.
Public enlightenment regarding false psychologies and harmful psychic practices will depend upon the public desire for knowledge on these subjects. It is probable that a general interest in true psychology will result only as a reaction to these abuses, to the excesses described by H.P.B. in the "Five Messages to American Theosophists."
Meanwhile, students of the present day may spread the enlightenment provided in Theosophy as widely as they can, so that the suffering and the disillusioned will have opportunity to find the truth after bitter experience starts them on the quest.
Q If the moral nature is to be developed ahead of the intellectual, will it be necessary to change our entire educational system as it exists today?
A The task of subordinating intellectual to moral development is accomplished by individuals, not by "systems," educational or otherwise. Educational theory and practice may place obstacles in the way of natural development, but it cannot prevent men of will from reaching to the truth. When enough individuals place a higher value on moral integrity than on intellectual facility, the educational system will undergo the natural modifications required to introduce a similar emphasis in the schools.
Systems reflect the thoughts of men, they do not create them, except as "conditioning" operates as an influence in all human relations. Great moral changes come about, not by changing "systems," but by creative thought and action which lead men to rely on themselves instead of systems. Systems are only social habits—no better, no worse, than habits of any other sort.
Q May the failure of Christianity be rightly attributed to false psychology, in view of the fact that its dogmas have destroyed self-reliance and all sense of individual responsibility?
A Christianity failed because it contracted the universal Christos principle, potential in every man, to a single historical personality, and made the moral evolution of all dependent upon the achievement of one. As the questioner intimates, this undermined self-reliance among Christians, with the logical effect of weakening individual responsibility.
Modern psychology is materialistic, largely because of the betrayal of the Western world by its priests, who so degraded and distorted the original psychology of the Gnostic Christians that modern thinkers felt it necessary to make an entirely new beginning in psychology, leaving out the soul, and even the mind, in order to avoid any resemblance to hated theological dogmas!
Q Why does Mr. Judge, in the Preface to the Aphorisms, speak of the mind as an "organ" Is not an organ "physical"?
A The mind is called an organ by Mr. Judge for the reason that mind is a substantial and dynamic principle, and not the mere abstraction of cognitive functions which modern psychology would have us accept as its meaning. The power of Patanjali's psychological system is rendered into the Western idiom by Mr. Judge precisely in this way. He provides an "anatomy" of the mental principle, and blueprints the method of its control. His Preface makes clear that for him, Patanjali's teaching was not merely a "theory of knowledge," but knowledge itself.
Euclidean certainty of these aphorisms challenges the reader to basic decisions. One does not "read" or dabble in Patanjali. This psychology has the precision of a treatise on engineering; obedience to its principles as stated is as crucial for soul-development as following the known laws of stress and strain in physical construction.
The mind is the psycho-moral organ of the evolving ego. It is the link between Spirit and Matter, the principle of individuation, the source of all illusions and the means of overcoming them. Perfect control of the mind is the dynamic aspect of self-knowledge. Adeptship is simply the indivisible unity of mind and the spiritual will.
(2) PATANJALI'S YOGA APHORISMS -- THEOSOPHY, Vol. 35, p. 81
Q THE mind, it is said, is constantly modified by the perceptions of the senses (p. xii). When the Soul is without concentration, it is similarly modified by the senses via the mind ( p.3). When Soul is in control (xiii), is it the Mind or the Soul that controls sense? Aphorisms 35 and 36 in Book I raise this point.)
A To say that "the soul has concentration" is to describe a condition under which the full energies of the matter-transcending self find active expression through the mind. Therefore, there is no separate control over the senses by either "soul" or "mind"—the controlling entity being indivisible as Atma-Buddhi-Manas.
The difference between the "higher nature" and the "lower nature" resides in the power of creativity—first distinguishing mark of the self-conscious being. The "lower nature," expressing itself actively through a form of intelligence we call "latent" manas, is simply instinctual in behavior.
Instinctual intelligence is never creative, but rather repetitive. The modern school of behavioristic psychology has studied long and arduously the nature of instinctual intelligence and pronounced that intelligence is derived from a conditioning process. This is quite correct.
The error of "behaviorism" from a Theosophical point of view is simply that such a description becomes misleading if a further, and in this case, unwarranted assumption is also made—that all intelligence is simply instinctual or repetitive, and that therefore all conditioning comes from external sources.
One of the "conditioning" factors in the formation of new habits of instinctual intelligence is the creative impulse of the Higher Man—the man who thinks in terms of progress and evolutionary growth—the man who is quite literally bored with a routine of sensations. New habits, on this view, are formed from within as the always new purposes of soul are given preference over the routinized purposes of the purely sensory self. It is only when the Buddhi-Manasic center of self-consciousness is afraid to attempt the evolutionary growth for which it nevertheless secretly hungers, that the energies of Buddhi flow back through a passive mind, serving no evolutionary purpose, yet temporarily vivifying sensory pleasure.
But since a denial of the purposes of the inner self is implicit in this process, such intensifying of sensory pleasure is sufficiently frustrating to the soul nature to produce more actual neuroses than ever accrue from the too-stern disciplines over the lower self recommended by the "denial" theory of religious practice.
Q The Preface calls for sincere students and resolute students to gain the knowledge implied in Patanjali's Yoga aphorisms. Is it possible that there are today theosophists with the stamina to become true occultists, in order to help the world in the present critical cycle? If so, what are they doing toward this end?
A A text to answer this question might be Mr. Judge's statement, that "the world of real occultists . . . goes on with the laborious process of sifting out the living germs from the masses of men. For occultists must be found and fostered and prepared for coming ages when power will be needed and pretensions will go for nothing."
Can we suppose that H.P.B. came simply to found a Movement of benevolent humanitarianism? The Third Object, read between the lines, or even as she stated its meaning in "Recent Progress in Theosophy" (see THEOSOPHY for October, pp. 445-46), suggests that the development of real occultists is the very heart of the Theosophic enterprise, for Brotherhood must not only spread as a sentiment; it must become a power.
When it is realized that the first step on the path to occultism is a deliberate and thorough inventory of one's qualifications for this high calling, then the self-imposed discipline of the Theosophic life may be recognized as being in fact that step.
It would be well to refer to the article, "What Is Occultism?" printed in THEOSOPHY, VIII, 353, and to read Robert Crosbie on impersonality (The Friendly Philosopher, p. 127), for a better understanding of what Mr. Judge may mean by "the living germs" on whom the future of the Theosophical Movement, of all mankind, maybe, will depend.
To be continued Part II
Sent: Saturday, August 26, 2006 11:34 PM
Subject: Re: contemplation / meditation
Thank you for your reply and useful comments.
My intervention concerning the William Judge's interpretation was made due
to the work of bn-study which is dedicated to HPB and W.J.
In my country(Greece), the term "contemplation" corresponds to the Greeek
word "stochasmos it means the focus of the mind on one single
idea as well as the process of thinking on that idea. Meditation is
equivalent to the word "dialogismos" it means a process
through the mind.(δια=through and mind).
The term "Samadhi" is rendered by the word "ekstasis and it means
the extension so the going towards a new state of consciousness.
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