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From Intellect to Intuition - Chapter Nine - The Practice of Meditation
In connection with this work, at the stage of the [225] beginner, some people picture the three bodies (the three aspects of the form nature) as being linked with a radiant body of light, or they visualize three centers of vibrating energy receiving stimulation from a higher and more powerful center; others imagine the soul as a triangle of force to which is linked the triangle of the lower nature - linked by the "silver cord" mentioned in the Christian Bible, the sutratma or thread soul of the Eastern Scriptures, the "lifeline" of other schools of thought. Still others prefer to preserve the thought of a unified personality, linked to and hiding within itself the indwelling Divinity, Christ in us, the hope of glory. It is relatively immaterial what imagery we choose, provided that we start with the basic idea of the Self seeking to contact and use the Not-self, its instrument in the worlds of human expression, and vice versa, with the thought of that Not-self being impelled to turn itself towards its source of being. Thus, through the use of the imagination and visualization, the desire body, the emotional nature, is brought into line with the soul. When this has been done we can continue with our meditation work. The physical body and the desire nature, in their turn, sink below the level of consciousness, we become centered in the mind and seek to bend it to our will.

It is just here that we find our problem confronting us. The mind refuses to mould itself into the thoughts which we choose to think, and rushes all [226] over the world in its usual quest for material. We think of what we are going to do that day, instead of thinking upon our "seed-thought," we remember some one we must manage to see, or some line of action which calls for attention; we begin to think of some one we love, and immediately we drop back into the world of the emotions and have all our work to do over again. So we recollect our thoughts and start afresh with much success for half a minute, and then we remember some appointment we have made, or some piece of business which some one is doing for us, and again we are back in the world of mental reactions, and our chosen line of thought is forgotten. Again we recollect our scattered ideas and recommence our labor of reducing the wayward mind to submission.

Will Levington Comfort, in his 113th Letter, sums this up for us as follows:

"Our shattered attention - we do not dream how shattered until we begin to concentrate, until from the practice of concentration, a new fairness and fixity dawns, in the midst of the seething ineffectiveness of personal life. In our earlier attempts at meditation, we jumped over such commonplace instructions as choosing the subject, and holding the mind closely and faithfully to it; we rushed past all that, passion for ecstasy, for initiation, for means by which we could shine and lord it over others. We were permitted to pasture up in the boggy meadows of emotion, calling them the bright fields of spirit; we were permitted to think we think... until in the pinch of lack, or the droop of importance, the breath-taking uncertainties and instabilities of our groundwork were shown up. Convinced [227] at last, we became very eager to begin all over again at the bottom, and the word Stability looms."
- Comfort, Will Levington, Letters.

He goes on in the same letter to tell us that

"Our concentrations are breathless at first from the very effort we put into them. This rigidity fends off the results we seek for a time, but with practice we become skillful at length in holding a mental one-pointedness with a kind of effortless content which may safely be empowered."
- Comfort, Will Levington, Letters.

How is this condition of empowering reached? By following a form or outline in our meditation work which automatically sets a ring-pass-not around the mind, and which says to the mind, "thus far shalt thou go, and no farther." We deliberately and with intelligent intent set the limits of our mental activity in such a form that we are forced to recognize when we stray beyond those limits. We know then that we must retire again within the sheltering wall we have defined for ourselves. This following of a form in meditation is necessary usually for several years, unless one has had previous practice, and usually even those who have arrived at the stage of contemplation test themselves out quite often by the use of a form in order to make sure that they are not dropping back into a negative emotional quiescent state.

I have used such forms as the following in working with approximately three thousand students of the meditation technique during the last seven years, [228] and it has proved itself in so many cases that I am including it here.

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