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The Consciousness of the Atom - The Evolution of Consciousness
True meditation (of which the preliminary stages are concentration upon and application to any particular line of thought) will differ for different people and different types. The religious man, the mystic, will center his attention upon the life within the form, upon God, upon Christ, or upon that which embodies for him the ideal. The business man, or the professional man, who, during his hours of work, is one-pointedly centered upon the matter he has on hand, and who keeps his attention fixed upon the particular problem [112] he has to solve, is learning to meditate. Later on, when he comes to the more spiritual aspect of meditation, he will find that he has covered the hardest part of the road. The person who is reading a difficult book, and reads with the full force and power of his brain, getting at that which lies behind the written word, may be meditating as much as it is possible for him to meditate at this time. I say this for our encouragement, because we live in a cycle in which books about meditation are found. All of them embody some aspect of the truth, and may be doing much good, but they may not embody that which is best for any particular individual. We need to find our own way of concentrating, to ascertain our own method of approach to that which lies within, and to study for ourselves this question of meditation.

I would like here to sound a word of warning. Avoid those schools and methods which combine forms of breathing exercises with meditation, which teach different types of physical postures, and teach their students to center their attention upon physical organs or centers. Those who follow these methods are heading towards disaster, and apart from the physical dangers involved, and the risk of insanity and nervous disorders, they are occupying themselves with the form, which is limitation, and not with the spirit, which is life. The goal will not be achieved that way. [113] For most of us the intellectual concentration which results in mind control, and the ability to think clearly and to think only that which we wish to think, must precede true meditation, which is a thing few people know much about. This true meditation, which it is impossible for me to enlarge upon here, will result in a definite change of polarization, will open up to man ranges of experiences undreamed of hitherto, will reveal to him contacts that as yet he does not realize, and will enable him to find his place within the group. He will be no longer confined by the wall of his personal life, but will begin to merge that life within the greater whole. He will no longer be occupied with the things of selfish interest, but will give his attention to the problems of the group. He will no longer give his time to the culture of his own identity, but will seek to understand that greater Identity of which he is a part. This is really what all advanced men are beginning more or less to do. Little as the average man may realize it, great thinkers, such as Edison and others, arrive at a solution of their problems along the line of meditation. By a brooding concentration, by a constant recollection, and by strenuous application to the particular line of thought which interests them, they produce results, they tap the inner reservoirs of inspiration and of power, and bring down from [114] the higher levels of the mental plane results which benefit the group. When we ourselves have done a certain amount of work along the line of meditation, when we are cultivating group interest and not self-interest, when we have developed physical bodies that are strong and clean, and emotional bodies that are controlled, and not swayed by desire, when we have mental bodies that are our instruments and not our masters, then we shall know the true meaning of meditation.

When a man has made his contact through meditation with the group to which he belongs, and becomes, therefore, ever more and more group conscious, he is then in a position to take what are called a series of initiations. These initiations are simply expansions of consciousness, brought about with the help of Those Who have already achieved the goal, Who have already identified Themselves with the group, and Who are a conscious part of the body of the Heavenly Man. With Their assistance, and through Their aid, a man will gradually awaken to the realization that is Theirs.

There is great interest everywhere today in this subject of initiation, and an over-emphasis has been laid upon its ceremonial aspect. We need to remember that every great unfoldment of consciousness is an initiation. Every step forward along the path of awareness is an initiation. [115] When an atom of substance was built into the form, it was for that atom an initiation. It became aware of another type of force, and its range of contact became wider. When the consciousness of the vegetable and animal kingdom merged, and the life passed from the lower kingdom into the higher, that was an initiation. When the consciousness of the animal expanded into that of the human being, still another great initiation took place. All the four kingdoms have been entered by an initiation, or through an expansion of consciousness. Ahead of the human family lies now the fifth, or spiritual kingdom, and it is likewise entered through a certain initiation, as can be seen by those who intelligently read their New Testament. And in all these cases these initiations have been brought about by the help of Those who already know. Thus we have within the evolutionary scheme not great gaps between one kingdom and another, and between one state of awareness and another, but a gradual development of consciousness, and one in which we, each one of us, have had and will have our share. If we can remember this universality of initiation we shall have a better proportioned point of view in connection with it. Every time that we become more aware of our environment, and our mental content is increased, it is an initiation on a tiny scale. Every time [116] our horizon widens, and we think and see more broadly, it is an initiation, and herein to us lies the value of life itself, and the greatness of our opportunity.

One point I wish to make here is this: every initiation has to be self-initiated. That final stage when definite help is brought to us from outside sources is not achieved because there are great Beings anxious to help us, Who come to us where we are and seek to lift us. It comes to us because we have done the necessary work, and nothing can stop it coming. It is our right. Those who have achieved can and will and do aid and assist us, but Their hands are tied until we have done our share of the undertaking. Nothing therefore that we do to increase our usefulness in the world, no steps that we take to build better bodies, no effort that we make to gain self-control and to equip our mental body, is ever lost; it is all something which we are adding to the total we are piling up, which will some day bring us to a great revelation, and every hourly, daily effort that we make, swells the tide of energy which will sweep us to the portal of initiation. The meaning of the word "initiation" is "to go into." It means simply that an initiate is one who has taken the first steps into the spiritual kingdom, and has had the first series of spiritual revelations, each one of which is a key to a still greater revelation. [119]

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