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From Intellect to Intuition - Chapter Nine - The Practice of Meditation
Next, the regular meditation work is attempted, and a certain time is set apart each day for this particular work. At the beginning fifteen minutes is ample time, and no more should be attempted for a year at least. May it not be truly said, if any one claims not to be able to find fifteen minutes out of the one thousand four hundred and forty minutes which constitute a day, that they are not interested? Fifteen minutes can always be found, if the will is on the side of the effort; it is always possible to rise fifteen minutes earlier every morning, or to forego that early morning gossip with the family, or to take the needed time from a book, or the movies, or from another gossip later on in the day. Let us be truthful with ourselves, and recognize things for what they are. The plea, "I have no time," is an utterly futile one, and indicates simply lack of interest. Let [217] us consider now the rules upon which we will proceed.

First of all, we shall endeavor to find time early in the morning for our meditation work. The reason for this is, that after we have participated in the happenings of the day and in the general give and take of life, the mind is in a state of violent vibration; this is not the case if the meditation is performed first thing in the morning. Then it is relatively quiet, and the mind can be more rapidly attuned to the higher states of consciousness. Again, if we start the day with the focusing of our attention on spiritual things and on the affairs of the soul, we shall live the day in a different manner. If this becomes a habit, we shall soon find our reactions to the affairs of life changing and that we are beginning to think the thoughts that the soul thinks. It then becomes the process of the working of a law, for "as a man thinketh so is he."

Next, we shall endeavor to find a place that is really quiet and free from intrusion. I do not mean quiet in the sense of freedom from noise, for the world is full of sounds and as we grow in sensitiveness we are apt to find it fuller than we thought, but free from personal approach and the calls of other people. I should like here to point out an attitude which the beginner should assume. It is the attitude of silence. Aspirants to meditation talk much about the opposition they meet from their family and friends; the husband objects to his wife meditating, or vice versa; sons and daughters are [218] inconsiderate and thoughtless in interrupting the devotions of the parent; friends are unsympathetic at the attempts. In the majority of cases this is the fault of the aspirant himself, and women are the worst offenders in this respect. People talk too much. It is nobody's business what we do with fifteen minutes of our time every morning, and there is no need to talk about it to our households, or to enjoin upon them that they must be quiet because we want to meditate. This will inevitably evoke a wrong reaction. Let us say nothing about the way we are seeking to unfold the spiritual consciousness; that is entirely our own affair. Let us keep silent about what we are doing; let us keep our books and papers shut away from people, and not litter up the family sitting room with a lot of literature in which they are not the least interested. If it is impossible to get a moment for meditation before the family disperses for the day's work, or before we ourselves betake ourselves to our business, let us find some time for it later on in the day. There is always a way to be found out of a difficulty, if we want a thing badly enough, and a way that involves no omission of duty or of obligation. It simply involves organization and silence.

Then, having found the time and the place, we shall sit down in a comfortable chair and begin to meditate. The questions then arise: How shall we sit? Is the cross-legged attitude the best, or shall we kneel, or sit, or stand? The easiest and most normal position is the best always. The cross-legged attitude [219] has been, and still is, much used in the Orient, and many books have been written upon the postures, of which there are approximately eighty. But because it has been done in the past, and in the East, is no indication that it is the best for us in the present and in the West. These postures are the remains of a day when the race was being trained psychologically and emotionally, and much resemble the discipline that we impose upon a child when we set it in a corner and tell it to keep quiet. Some of the postures have relation also to the nervous body and that inner structure of fine nerves, called by the Hindus, the nadis, which underlie the nervous system as recognized in the West.

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