Rosacruz AMORC Esoteric Essays Meditation Its Technique 1970
What are the differences berween concentration, conternplation, and meditation? What is the relationship of rneditation to consciousness? Is trance or self-hypnotisrn necessary for meditarion? What is rneant by transcendental meditarion? Are strange Eastern rnethods necessary for it=-or safe?
ESOTERIC ESSA YS consisr of a simple presentation of particular1y inreresring subjecrs in the realm of metaphysics and mysricism. The essence of rhese age-old subjecrs is inrroduced for brevity, and yer they are prepared in a manner which, ir is hoped, will srirnulate the reader ro a more extensive inquiry and srudy of such channe1s of knowledge.
Issued by Permission ofthe Deparrrnent
Supreme Grand Lodge A.M.O.R.C.
Copyright 1970 By Supreme Grand Lodge of A.M.O.R.C.
PR I NTED IN U.5.A.
Technique Di Meditation EDITATION must not be confused with concentration or contemplation. BriefIy, we can say that concentration is primarily objective. Ir is rhe focusing of attention upon sense stimuli. When you are listening or reading intensively you are focusing your consciousness upon a certain ser of vibrations coming ro you through a particular receptive organ, such as the eyes or ears. Contemplation is by contrast subjective. The consciousness is focused in reason, recoIlection, imagination, in other words, on ideas already in the consciousness, or being reassembled into a new arrangement. Both in concentration and in conrernplation the will is necessary. They are not passive states.
True meditarion is ofren erroneously interchanged as a word wirh these other mental processes but actuaIly is quite different. The objective in meditation is nor to focus the artention on anything in particular. In meditation you are endeavoring to change rhe level of consciousness. You are arternpting to use another stare of consciousness bur you do not anticipate what shaIl manifest. In rneditation you hold no limited rhought definitely in mind as in conrernplation.
Consciousness in man may be likened unto a piano keyboard. Ir consists of a series of ocraves or levels, one merging into the orher. At the lowest level is that form of consciousness which we most commonly use, namely, the objective. Just above rhat is the subjective with its various processesreasoning, memory, and so on-which we have mentioned. Beyond these two levels are many more. Psychology has assigned ro the whole stream o/ consciousness, beyond these, many names such as the preconscious, unconscious, and subconscious. True rnedirarion is the purpose ro reach one or more of these orher levels of awareness. We may use still another analogy for better explanation, that of a staircase. Ordinarily in our consciousness we alternate from the first srep, the objective, to the second srep, the subjective, on this staircase of consciousness. In fact, we have learned that there are many more sreps above these two which we perhaps have nor yet experienced. Medirarion is the desire to attain and to experience these subliminal states of mind. The images, the sensations that may be had would be quite different in various ways from what we ordinarily perceive objecrively and subjectively. In fact, so-called intuition, or insight, is flashes of realization coming from one of these other levels of consciousness. So, consequently, the purpose of medirarion is to bring about a transition in consciousness so that through that change we can reach into the more lofty levels of the mind. 2
No Precise Formula How is this transirion of consciousness, or mediration, to be attained? There is no universal, that is, an exact, precise formula. There are numerous methods which are advocated by various Eastern religions, mystical and metaphysical systems. Perhaps to some extent they are all effective in inducíng mediration. However, so me of the practices are not true meditation. They are really a self-induced form of hypnotism. Some examples of ridding one's self of objecrive consciousness so as to attain rneditation are concentrating on the tip of the nos e or the nave!. Such are common with certain sects in India. Again, however, psychologically ir is quite possible that the individual resorting to such a method has done no more than brought about self-hypnosis or a trance srate rather than meditation. What comes forrh in rhese trance states may often be that which was registered deeply in the memory of the individual and that he was never aware of originally. In other words, many impressions pass through to the subconscious mind-and into íts memory-from the conscíous mind without our having realization rhar such has occurred. Consequently, when such impressions are recalled they are strange and seem to be original, which they are noto Contrary to what was said above, meditation can begin by a form of concentration, that is, by first resorting to a
subjective process. We may hold in mind for a time a thoughr, an experience, visualize something that is particulady inspiring. It should be thar which calls forth our higher ernorions and sentiments. When we feel the sensations of such a visualization, then we should let it gradually become dismissed from our mind. The purpose he re is ro try ro draw an affinity between such a thought and a higher srare of consciousness. By such a method we are trying to attracr the deeper levels of consciousness, or the psychic self. Sornetimes listening to a musical composition that is soothing and has a tranquil effect will help induce meditation. Must one lose awareness of his surroundings? Yes, he must. If one is quite aware of things in his environment, he is still objective, not meditarive, You must have an inner nor an outer awareness and this comes with true meditation. However, this does not mean that one cannot easily return ro objective awareness. For analogy, you have often been in what is properIy called "a brown srudy." It meant that you were so engrossed with some thought that at the time you were not aware of externality. Such was deep concentrarion, that is, concentration on some particular idea. Ir is similar to meditarion only in that one is not conscious of his surroundings. But the difference is that in mediration, we repeat, there is no continuous focusing of the consciousness on any single impression. 4
Obviously, relaxation is necessary for successful meditation. Ir cannot be a success under any form of stress. There are numerous postures that have been recommended by Easrern systerns for mediration. However, whatever position one can assume that will cause the body to be relaxed and allow for one to realize a sense of euphoria is quite proper. The legs should be separated and the feet and hands as well. Clothes should not be righr or binding so as to impair circulation or to cause one to be aware of thern, There is a theory that the feet must always be placed on the ground so as to discharge into ir cerrain nerve energies and vibrations from the body thar would prevent meditation being attained. However, this is not substanriated as true or essential to rnediration. \
Cleansing and Relaxation Deep breathing prior to meditarion is helpful. However, there is nothing rnysrerious about ir. One should, if indoors, stand before an open window and breathe deeply a dozen or fifteen times. Each time the breath should be held as long as comfortable and then exhaled slowly. This cleanses the lower chambers of the lungs, vitalizes the blood, and stirnulates the psychic cenrers. Ir makes the mind more clear and relaxes the muscles from tension. Rosicrucians have been given vowel sounds to intone, in conjunction with such breathing, which are found conducive to further preparation for meditation.
As said, meditation is not a forced stare, or condition. Consequently, no long, tiresome period of rnediration would ever be successful. When one feels in a relaxed stare and in a proper mood of well-being, he should hold the desired thoughr in mind as stared. He should rhen remain passive, wairing for the consciousness to be raken over by whatever impression should come forrh if he is successful in the whole procedure. Of course, the individual should not presume to know whar the impression would be-you do not use will in rnediration; you do not command an experience of any particular kind. As soon as one begins to feel fatigued, that, then, is the signal ro discontinue your rneditarion, We repeat, to attempt to force the srate defeats the purpose. If one is successful in meditation-not a trance state-the whole period of preparation and result would be bur a few rninures' durarion. The experience will be like an inruitive influx, a flash of illurninarion in the consciousness. By contrast, a trance state or one of hypnosis could last for a great lengrh of time and could be dangerous. But rhen again such is not meditation.
Philosophy and Religion
The Upanishads form a concluding portion of the ancient Vedic literature. In fact, the literal translation of this word means "sirting down near" the teacher to receive insrrucrions. The Upanishads contain the earliest records of Indian
philosophical speculation and are the foundation upon which rnost Iater philosophy and religion of India restaccording to Dr. Radhakrishnan, the noted Indian scholar and the world-renowned philosopher. He stares that the Upanishads are not so much philosophical truths as "to bring peace and freedom to rhe anxious human spirit." The Upanishads put forth metaphysical considerations as dialogues and dispurations. The content is poerically delivered by authors whose minds were philosophically tempered. As Dr. Radhakrishnan further states, the Upanishads represent the striuing o/ the human mind to grasp reality. The age of the Upanishads is a rnatter of speculation. However, ir is generally conceded that the earliest porrions are of a period from 3000-1000 B.e. Our brief consideration of the Upanishads is because the beginnings of the yoga systern are to be found in them. It is these variations of the yoga system which are being popularly introduced as transcendental meditation. We now turn back to the Upanishads momentarily to relate rhe basic precepts of yoga meditation. The Upanishads state that reality is not rightly perceived by our imperfect understanding. The mind is said to be like a mirror in which reality is reflecred. In other words, the extent to which we know reality depends upon the stare of our own mind, that is, whether it can respond ro rhe full extent of reality. This conception has a parallel in Greek thought, in particular in the Dialogues of Plato.
The yoga rnedirarion of the Upanishads is inrended ro help man overcome his mental lirnitations that he might more fully experience true reality. Yoga presents instruction on how ro refine the mind and improve the mirror of consciousness. This is to be accomplished by keeping rhe mirror clean, thar is, by keeping out unneeded peculiarities. Ir is only through such a discipline, ir is related, that one can rise to "rhe height of impersonality from which the gifted souls of the world see disranr visions." The yoga docrrine expounds that our empirical, objective consciousness rurns itself back on the external world. The consciousness becomes lost in the illusions of the unreal world of the sense impressions. When the aspirant rises above the empirical-outer-self, "one gers not negation but intensification of the self." This can be consrrued as meaning that one acquires a greater comprehension of the whole essence of the integrated self.
Mental and Spiritual Discipline The yoga sysrern for rnedirarion, like that of Buddhism, requires that one go through a whole course of mental and spirirual discipline. "The mind of aman who does nor know his own self goes hither and thither like water pouring down the crags in all directions. But when his mind is purified he becomes one with the great ocean of life which dwells behind all mortal forms." 8
Yoga insisrs on exercise of perfect control of our passions and ernorions. A trance stare may be induced by controlling breathing and concentrating. The method also includes concentrating on rnysrical words, rnantras, or symbols to fix one's atrenrion upon. The psychological aspecr of this pracrice is to cultivate a steadiness of mind by focusing artention for a time on one particular object and eliminating other impressions. Breathing is an essential part of the rneditation process in yoga as is also the reciring of certain mantras. In the ancient Vedic writings ir is said that reciring the mantra, OM, constitures an offering to Brahma. Meditation on OM is the root and essence of Veda and the way, ir is said, of union wirh Brahma (oneness is accomplished). An ancient phrase relates: "For him who engages in reciting OM no danger exisrs anywhere." Ir is said that sixteen suppressions of the breath accompanied by the reciration of a liturgy and of OM repeared daily afrer a rnonrh will even purify the slayer of a learned Brahman! Yoga and its rneditation forms have come to mea n to its devorees a discipline by which they hope to train themselves ro bear the shock of the world and yet leave the soul untouched.
Transcendental Meditation Transcendental meditation from the psychological poinr of view is a los s of personal idenrity wirh the reality of the 9
world. lt is the attempt to enter into a wholly subjecrive srate for full realization of-reality. The sensations which are experienced are not comparable to those of the physical senses. Further, transcendental meditation should not be used as an escape from the world of realiry as is so commonly done by devotees popularly attracted to ir. Ir is true rhat what reality is like we do not actually know. We receive only impressions of it through our receptor senses. These are transformed inro sensations which we interpreto However, our physical existence is dependent upon our adjusrrnent to such illusions-if that is what they are. Plato called ir the Shadow World. We can and should try ro know more of reality and of ourselves through the medium of our other levels of consciousness which rneditation makes possible. Bur to consider the body a prison of self, sornerhing to be demeaned, and to rhink of the appetires and passions as being that which should be completely suppressed is afalse conception. We should not endeavor to escape the world and irs impact on our life but rather to master our personallife in this world. From the Rosicrucian point of view, to endeavor to live in a mental and psychic vacuum through any method is a negarive approach to human existence. These other octaves of the subconscious are not sharply separated. Rather, one merges gradually into rhe other. Each, tOO,has irs own unique phenornenon or experience 10
which ir provides-just as our objective conscious life is differem from our subjective one. Experiences on these other ocraves or planes of consciousness would be quite unlike anything we have ever realized objectively or subjectively. We cannor hope to experience thern except by entering leveis of consciousness where they are manifesred. It is for rhis reason rhar mystics who have enrered these deeper levels have found thern alrnosr ineffable. They cannor find qualiries or words to explain them adequately. Medirarion provides the means of emering these states, In meditation, we bring about a change in our consciousness so thar the self, the ego, is advanced to levels above the subjective, The self, then, takes on quite a differem character from that which we knew before. We musr understand that rhe self is not just one stare; ir is, an imegration of various states of consciousness. In each level of consciousness, rhe self has its own characteristics. The objective self is our physical being-our heighr, weighr, color, rhe general comours of our body. Subjecrively, the self is our senrirnenrs, our ernorions, our rhoughrs and ideals, those ordinary inner experiences which we realize. But none of these is self as realized on the other levels of consciousness. Only those who have entered these states can know whar the self is like in them. Objecrively, we cannor describe to orhers what rhese subconscious states are like. The most thar can be done is to reach or to guide anorher in the technique by which such reality is realized. 11
When one enters medirarion, he should begin wirh what he has been taught in order to bring about rhis transition of consciousness. If he is successful, cerrain ideas will be had on thar leve!. Often rhey are transformed into objective ideas as inspirarion or inruirive flashes. This, then, becomes the practica! side of rneditation. In other words, we gain enlightenment useful in our everyday lives from such conracrs. The subconscious state itself is nor very explicable, bur cerrain impressions received through ir are transformed into comprehensible guidance. If this were nor so, obviously meditation would have no value in this life. Meditation is also the process of the transformation of consciousness. Ir is the attempt ro elevate the consciousness so as to acquire experience from a higher or deeper leve! of inner perception. Meditation is not the inrenrion to focus the consciousness upon any single idea in a dynamic manner as in concenrrarion. In facr, in rneditarion the principal objective is ro remain passive.Ir is nor the arrempt to direcr, as by a mandate, what should be known or experienced. To use anorher simple analogy: think of a specrator seated in the audience of a large thearer. He quietly awaits for the currain to rise-he does not attempt ro visualize what is to transpire upon the stage. In fact, he knows that he has no knowledge of the play-his is a passive, receptive attirude toward what will be revealed ro him. This, then, is primarily one of the fundamental atritudes of rnediration. 12
the desire to have
level of recepriviry.
tive and nor permit particular
to be recep-
It means placing oneself in a
as free as possible
which may excite
age and congesred
from all disrracrion,
the senses. urban
this is not
to atta in.
The rnysric refers means
This consísrs of
from anything simple
of p argation.
idea for the momento
state of quiescence,
so we may seem ro be
of ir: (1) The srage
than merely being passive.
the silente. Ir
to this srage as enrering
not just physical
is, rhe avoidance of
sounds=-bur mental silence. This in turn means
a mind which is not preoccupied. The second srage is said to be the stage of illumination. Ir is when the individual
tal so urce of knowledge.
with a transcenden-
Ir is a kind of Cosmic Conscious-
nes r, rhe ascent of awareness
to an enlarged
ing stare of consciousness.
vista, ro perceive
so as to observe
ir is like
could not be seen from a lower
The third and final state is the noetic srage, which means an infusion of knowledge as in aspiration, ideas that are loft y and beneficial ro the individual. These srages, of course, have subdivisions; that is, minor progressive srages before each is arrained. Perhaps ir may be said that one merges into the other so ir is difficult to make a definitive disrinction between them. Ir is apparent thar the resorring to conrernplarion with the misconception that ir is meditation will be fruitless as far as resulrs from the Iatter are concerned. However, conrernplation can be a preparatory means of successful meditation. One can sir quietly ro conrernplate some profound subject in which he has great inreresr. It should be principally sornething of an esthetic and constructive nature. This is stimulating and, of course, subjecrive but not true meditation, as said. Then, if one desires illumination upan this subjecr mysrically, rhe firsr step of meditation should be fallawed: namely, purgarion. One dismisses the idea conrernplated upon and then tries to advance to the second and third stages, There are certain physical requirements of a simple nature that are essential to meditation in addition to silence. We are nor referring to rhe extreme practices of some af rhe Eastern rnethods which are not adaptable to the West and which are not necessary. One should not try to enter into meditation afrer having consumed a heavy meal or while
feeling very fatigued. Ir is obvious that such causes lerhargy, and sleep is not meditation. A harmonious environmem is likewise conducive to rneditarion. One should be in a place that is pleasam to him and one in which ir is easy to relax. This is why we suggesr rhat each member try to esrablish a Sanctum in some comer of his home. Ir means the creating of those conditions which have an appeal to the higher ernotions and the Higher Self of mano
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