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From Intellect to Intuition - Chapter Five - Stages in Meditation
We start with an emotional realization of our goal and from then pass on, through the fire of discipline, to the heights of intellectual certainty. This is beautifully pictured for us in the Bible in the story of Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego. We read that they were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace, yet the result of that apparent tragedy was the releasing in their midst of the form of a fourth Identity, whose appearance was like unto that of the Son of God. These three friends are symbols of the threefold lower man. The name Meschach means "agile," a faculty of the discriminative mind, the mental body. Shadrach means "rejoicing in the Way" and describes the transmutation of the emotional body, and the turning of the desire towards the Way: Abednego means "a servant of the Sun," and thus emphasizes the fact that the sole function of the physical body is to be the servant of the Son [95] (Sun), of the ego or soul (see Daniel III, 23-24). There is no escaping the fiery furnace, but the reward is commensurate with the trial.

The significance of the second requirement, spiritual reading, must also be grasped. The word, to "read," is very obscure in its origin, and philologists seem to think that two words are responsible. One is the Latin word "reri," to think, and the other the Sanskrit word "radh," to be successful. Perhaps both ideas are permissible, for it is certainly true that the man who can think the most successfully, and who can control and utilize his apparatus of thought, is the man who can the most easily master the technique of meditation.

Prayer is possible to all. Meditation is only possible to the mentally polarized man, and this is a point which needs emphasis and which frequently meets with opposition when stated. All men who are willing to subject themselves to discipline and transmute emotion into spiritual devotion can be saints, and many do so subject themselves. But all men cannot yet be knowers, for it involves all that the saint has achieved, plus the use of the intellect and the power to think through to knowledge and understanding. The man who is successful is the man who can think, and who can utilize the sixth sense, the mind, to produce certain specific results. Other suggested origins have to do with words denoting the taking of counsel or of advice, so that three basic ideas are brought out: - the attainment of success through the agency of the mind, the achievement of [96] perfection, the taking of counsel, and the utilization of all channels of information in order to gain knowledge.

This is fundamentally the meaning of Patanjali when he uses the expression translated "spiritual reading." It really signifies reading with the eyes of the soul, with the inner vision alert to find out that which is sought. It is realized that all forms are only symbols of an inner or spiritual reality, and spiritual reading involves the development of the faculty of "reading" or seeing the life aspect which the outer form veils and hides. This will be found to apply equally to a human form as to any other form in nature; all forms veil a divine thought, idea, or truth and are the tangible manifestation of a divine concept. When a man knows this he begins to read spiritually, to see below the surface and so contact the idea which gave birth to the form. Gradually, as he gains practice in doing this, he arrives at a knowledge of Truth and is no longer taken in by the illusory aspects of the form. This, in its most practical application, will lead a man for instance, to negate the form aspect which his fellowman may assume, and deal with him on the basis of the hidden divine reality. This is no easy thing to do, but it is possible through training in spiritual reading.

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