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From Intellect to Intuition - Chapter Five - Stages in Meditation
II. The Stage of Meditation

Patanjali defines concentration as the holding of the perceiving consciousness in a certain region and meditation as the prolonged holding of the perceiving consciousness in a certain region. This implies only a difference in the time factor and would seem to make of both stages an achievement of control. Through the practice of concentration sufficient control should be achieved, so that the student is not bothered by the necessity of repeatedly recollecting his thought. Therefore, an act of prolonged concentration gives opportunity for the mind to act upon whatever object lies within the ring-pass-not of the region chosen. The choosing of a word or a phrase as the subject of the meditation establishes this [109] ring-pass-not and if the meditation is well conducted the mind never leaves its consideration of the object so chosen. The mind remains focused and is continuously active during the entire meditation period. Moreover, the mind is not allowed to do as it pleases with the object, or seed thought. In concentration there should be a consciousness in the meditator all the time that he is using his mind. In meditation this consciousness of the mind being used is lost, but there can be no day-dreaming and no following of chance ideas which emerge in relation to the object of thought. The seed thought has been chosen for a purpose, - either for its effect on the meditator or for its effect in service upon some other person or in relation to some spiritual work, or in some phase of the search for wisdom. If the process is successful, there is evoked little or no reaction in the meditator, either of pleasure or absence of pleasure. Emotional reactions are transcended and the mind is, therefore, left free to act in its own right. The result is a clarity of thought never before achieved, because the mind in ordinary activity is always associated with and affected by desire of some sort. In this state of consciousness desire is transcended, just as later in the stage of contemplation, thought is transcended. When the mind is stunned into inaction by inhibition or persistent repetitions, it cannot be transcended in contemplation, nor used in meditation. To practise making the mind blank, is not only foolish, but actually dangerous. [110]

In The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali we find these words:

"The gradual conquest of the mind's tendency to flit from one object to another and the power of one-pointedness make the development of contemplation."
- Bailey, Alice, The Light of the Soul, III, 11.

Meditation is the result of experience. It is the instantaneous attainment of an attitude of mind as a consequence of long practice. In the Bhagavad Gita we find it is stated that in all action the five following factors are involved:

  1. The material instrument - the brain
  2. The doer - the Self
  3. The organ - the mind
  4. The impulse - energy
  5. Destiny - Karma."

- Bhagavad Gita, XVIII, 13-14.

Meditation is activity of a very intense kind and it will be found that all these five factors are involved. The material instrument which we have to use in meditation is the physical brain. Many people think that they must transcend the brain, reach some tremendous altitude and stay upon some pinnacle of thought until something transcendent happens, and they can then say they know God. What is really needed is that we should get control of the mind and of the brain processes, so that the brain becomes a sensitive receiver of the thoughts and desires of the soul, the Higher Self, as He transmits them through the medium of the mind. The mind is regarded as in [111] the nature of a sixth sense, and the brain as a receiving plate. We are already utilizing the five senses as avenues of perception, and they telegraph constant information to the brain. Through their medium, information as to five vast fields of knowledge, or of five ranges of vibrations, is made available to man. It is intended that the mind should serve a similar purpose. This is summarized for us by Meister Eckhart, and embodies the position of all the mystics in both hemispheres:

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