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From Intellect to Intuition - Chapter Nine - The Practice of Meditation
True concentration grows out of a concentrated, thought-governed life, and the first step for the aspirant is to begin to organize his daily life, regulate his activities, and become focused and one-pointed in his manner of living. This is possible to all who care enough to make the needed effort and who can carry it forward with perseverance. This is the first and basic essential. When we can organize and rearrange our lives, we prove our mettle and the strength of our desire. It will be seen, therefore, that no neglect of duty is possible to the one-pointed man. His duties to family and friends and to his business or profession will be more perfectly and efficiently performed, and he will find time for the added duties that his spiritual aspiration confer, because he is beginning to eliminate the non-essentials out of his life. No obligation will be evaded, for the focused mind will enable a man to do more in a shorter time than heretofore and to get better results from his efforts. People who are governed by their emotions waste much time and energy, and accomplish less than the mentally focused person; [208] it is far easier for an individual who has been trained in business methods and who has risen to the rank of an executive, to practice meditation, than it is for the unthinking mechanical worker, or for the woman who is living a purely social or family life. These last have to learn to organize their days and leave out the non-essential activities. They are the ones who are always too busy to do anything, and to whom the finding of twenty minutes each day for meditation or an hour for study presents insuperable difficulties. They are so busy with the social amenities, with the mechanics of housekeeping, with a multitude of petty activities and pointless conversations that they fail to realize that the practice of concentration will enable them to do all they have hitherto done and more, and do it better. The trained executive, with a busy and full life, seems to find it much easier to obtain the extra time required for the soul. He has always time for the one thing more. He has learned to concentrate, and, frequently, to meditate; all that he needs to do is to change the focus of attention.

The answer to the second question as to the necessity to withdraw into the solitudes in order to evoke the soul opens up one or two interesting considerations. It would appear from the study of conditions that the modern western aspirant has either to forego the culture of the soul nature until such time as he can conform to the ancient rule of withdrawal, or he has to formulate a new method and take a new position. Few of us are so situated that we can [209] renounce our families and responsibilities and disappear from the world of men to meditate and seek illumination under our particular Bo tree. We live in the midst of a thronging multitude and a chaotic situation which makes all vision of environing peace and quiet utterly out of the question. Is the problem then insuperable? Is there no way of overcoming the difficulty? Have we to renounce all hope of illumination because we cannot (from circumstances and climate, and from economic causes) disappear from the world of men and seek the kingdom of the soul?

Undoubtedly the solution does not lie in renunciation of the possibilities to which men in earlier races and centuries bear witness. It lies in a right understanding of our problem and of the privilege which is ours in demonstrating a newer aspect of the old truth. We belong, in the West, to a younger race. In the old, old East, the few adventurous pioneers sought seclusion and ascertained for us the opportunities, and safeguarded for us the rules. They held in safety for us the technique until such time as the masses of men were ready for a move forward in their numbers, and not in their ones and twos. That time has now come. In the stress and stir of modern living, in the jungles of our great cities, in the roar and bustle of daily life and intercourse, men and women everywhere can and do find the center of peace within themselves, and they can and do enter into that state of silent positive concentration which enables them to reach the same goal, and attain the same knowledge, and enter into the same [210] Light to which the great Individuals of the race have borne witness. The secluded point to which a man withdraws, he finds to lie within himself; the silent place in which the life of the soul is contacted is that point within the head where soul and body meet, that region we earlier referred to where the light of the soul and the life of the body merge and blend. The man who can train himself to be sufficiently one-pointed can withdraw his thought at any time and in any place to a center within himself, and in this center within the head the great work of at-one-ment is carried forward. It involves a more dynamic attention and a more powerful meditation, but the race has progressed and grown in mental power and strength within the past three thousand years and can do what was not possible to the seers of old.

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