Third Series Advanced Exercises

BY now the time limit for exercises Nos. I, 1A, 2 and 2A will be stabilized at a full ten minutes of trouble-free concentration. So now, for the next two weeks, you can write in your diary that all former exercises should be repeated morning or evening (or both) for ten minutes each. If every day for two weeks you consistently reach this stage of training, then you may now read and study the next, more advanced third series. After the usual 'preparation', if still needed because of the...

Fifth Series Final Exercises

EXERCISE NO. 7 Yellow or Light-Green Pranayama RETURN for a while to exercise No. 6. Once again imagine the black background before your closed eyes. Continue this observation for a minute, remaining thoughtless and feelingless. Then by an effort of will, gradually lighten the colour of the deep blackness, so that the whole curtain before your mental sight first becomes dark-grey, turning to a medium shade, then to a lighter one and finally becoming as clear as water, and there is no longer a...

Obstacles and Aids

The chief obstacle to concentration is the uncontrolled emotional nature of the average untrained man. In the Eastern tradition there is a handy word for these uncontrolled elements 'vasanas', or innate mental and astral tendencies. Vasanas can be both good and evil alike, and all of them are obstacles for the higher degrees of concentration. Therefore, for this study, both kinds are unwanted, and at least, they should be controlled. In other words, we should be able to choose from amongst...

Psychology of Success

IT is a well-known fact, that in spite of the books already existing about meditation and concentration, only an infinitesimal number of readers and students are able to get any real profit from their work. There are many causes to explain this. Firstly because of too theoretical an exposition, often written more as a kind of compilation from borrowed materials, rather than from personal experience. This deprives the books of their living values. Secondly, overloading of the exercises with...

Conditions for Success

THERE are some physical conditions which to a certain extent might influence the success or failure of your efforts to study this book. Of course, there are usually exceptional cases in everything, but such do not affect the general rule. I will mention just a few of these conditions. 1. An extreme physical weakness, resulting from disease or an ailment, and which affects your will-power, is a clear obstacle to any inner effort by a beginner. For example a man may say 'I realize the necessity...

Second Series

ONCE the things explained in the two preceding chapters have been fully grasped and practised as instructed, and the exercises Nos. 1 and 1A can be performed faultlessly, then you may pass on to new ones. So some day, when you can honestly say that the first series no longer holds any difficulties for you, the next more advanced group of exercises may be tried. The accessories such as time, posture, breath, and the 'talks with yourself, which we call 'preparation', are standard for every...

The Role of Concentration in a Spiritual Search

IN the West, we usually refer to those who are performing such a search as saints, mystics and spiritually-minded seekers while in the East they are termed yogis, sadhus and sannyasins. If we carefully analyse their lives and methods of attainment, we will undoubtedly recognize that the one thing which distinguishes them from average men is their conscious, one-pointed and intensely concentrated lives, wholly dedicated to an idea, which they believe to be their highest. Saints and yogis gain...

Different Aspects of Consciousness

While writing these pages, I am in the so-called 'waking state of consciousness,' or Jagrat in the Hindu terminology. In it I am in contact with the outer world by means of my five senses. I see, hear, taste, smell and touch. If one of them fails, my perception of events and activities in the world becomes the poorer by the subtraction of the affected sense. We can presume that a human being who has lost all the five senses becomes insensible to the outer world. Therefore, the physical senses...

On the Threshold of Meditation

The technical work lies behind you, and after successfully completing the five Series of exercises, you should now be in a position to reap the fruits of that hard work. You already know of many things which before were for you, as Himalayan peaks would be for an untrained climber from the plains. You can concentrate your attention on anything, under any conditions, without being disturbed, as formerly, by the onslaught of uncontrolled thoughts and emotions. You are really not interested in...

Direct Preparation for Exercises

WHEN you have finally arranged a suitable time and place for your first exercises, retire to the chosen spot after ensuring that no one will disturb you. Sit on a chair or stool that is not upholstered. Do not lean back against the furniture, as this is important for your health, as well as for the proper flow of the subtle currents of the vital energy or 'prana' in Indian terminology. When the time comes for meditation, the body must be comfortably seated in a position which it can endure for...

The Western Tradition Heart before Mind

AS the Eastern occult schools treat concentration as a means of achievement for the highest goal, so the mind takes precedence over the heart. But in the Western spiritual tradition this is reversed. The best exponents, apart from a few dissentients, fix attention first and foremost on the moral purification of man and his religious, devotional sense. I am not including the numerous and usually short-lived occult societies and groups, most of which were and still are occupied with aims which...

What is the Mind

THE question is far from easy to answer properly. But as we operate with the power of mind and you should certainly have no doubts that it is a kind of power , we are entitled to know how to define it, according to its actual functions. It would be useless to write extended definitions, because for everyday use you need something concise. What I now quote comes from the late Rishi Ramana, the modern authority on the subject, and I could not find anything better than the Sage's statement 'Mind...

Use of Concentration

THE power of concentrated thinking as applied to everyday life is very well known and widely recognized. There is no need for any proof or special explanation. But the average man does not use even a fraction of that power properly. If the reader disagrees with this, then I would like him to explain to me, or better, to himself, if he knows why he is thinking in a particular way and not in another Why some thoughts come to him, no matter whether or not he 'invited them And if he can foretell...