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From Intellect to Intuition - Chapter Five - Stages in Meditation
Therefore, the process at present controlling in the case of the average man is from the outside world inwards, through the senses, to the brain. The brain then "telegraphs" the information registered to the mind, which, in its turn, records it. That usually closes the incident.

But, in the case of the truly thoughtful, there is more than this. Upon the recording follows an analysis of the incident or the information, its correlation with other incidents, and a study of cause and effect. The "mind-stuff," as the Oriental calls it, is swept into activity, and thought-forms are created and mental images built in connection with the presented idea. Then, if desired, the clear thinking of the man is impressed upon the brain and so a return activity is instituted. But, in the case of the mystic and of the man who is beginning to meditate, something further is discovered. He finds that the mind, when properly governed and disciplined, is capable of wider and deeper responses; that it can become [104] aware of ideas and concepts which emanate from a deeply spiritual realm and which are communicated by the soul. Instead of impressions from the outer daily life recorded on the sensitive receiving-plate of the mind, they may come forth from the kingdoms of the soul and are caused by the activity of a man's own soul, or by other souls with whom his soul may be in touch.

Then the mind enters upon a new and fresh usefulness and its range of contact includes not only the world of men but also the world of souls. Its function is to act as an intermediary between the soul and the brain and to transmit to the brain that of which the man, as a soul, has become aware. This becomes possible when the old mental activities are superseded by the higher, and when the mind can be rendered temporarily insensitive to all outer calls upon its attention. This, however, is not brought about by any methods of rendering the mind passive and receptive, or by any system of "blanking" the mind, or stunning it into negativity, or other forms of self-hypnotism. It is caused by the expulsive force of a new and bigger interest, and by the one-pointed attention of the focused mental faculties to a new world of phenomena and of force. This system is that of concentration, the first and most arduous step towards the illumination of the life.

The word "concentration" comes from the Latin words "con" = "together" and "centrare" = "to center." It means the "bringing together or the [105] drawing to a common center or focal point;" it connotes the gathering together of our wandering thoughts and ideas, and holding the mind firmly and steadily focused or centered on the object of our immediate attention, without wavering or distraction. It involves the elimination of all that is foreign or extraneous to the matter under observation. Patanjali defines it thus:

"The binding of the perceiving consciousness to a certain region is attention or concentration."
- Bailey, Alice, The Light of the Soul, III, 1.

This necessarily involves a distinction between the Thinker, the apparatus of thought, and that which is to be considered by the Thinker. We need, therefore, to distinguish between ourselves, the one who is thinking and that which we use to think with, the mind. Then there comes in the third factor, that which is thought.

Students would do well at the very beginning of their meditation work to learn to make these basic differentiations, and to cultivate the habit every day of making these distinctions. They must distinguish always between:

  1. The Thinker, the true Self, or the Soul.
  2. The mind, or the apparatus which the Thinker seeks to use.
  3. The process of thought, or the work of the Thinker as he impresses upon the mind (when in a state of equilibrium) that which he thinks.
  4. The brain, which is in its turn impressed by the mind, acting as the agent for the Thinker, in order to convey impressions and information. [106]
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