Meditation

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Meditation is defined by H. P. Blavatsky as a practice to attain "a state of abstraction which carries the ascetic practising it far above this plane of sensuous perception and out of the world of matter."[1]

Mme. Blavatsky did not consider that by placing our attention on the breathing can be attained a profound state of meditation:

[The] useless practice of the counting of inhalations and exhalations as a means to produce absolute tranquillity of mind or meditation.[2]

The higher states of consciousness cannot be attained through personal effort:

The Riddhi Pâda, lit., the four “Steps to Riddhi”, are the four modes of controlling and finally of annihilating desire, memory, and finally meditation itself--so far as these are connected with any effort of the physical brain--meditation then becomes absolutely spiritual.[3]

Regular practice of meditation, however, stimulates the power of concentration:

For instruction in Practical Occultism it is necessary to have acquired power of concentration, and then to receive certain definite directions. The latter would be of little use to a student who has not already attained the power of concentrating his Mind and Will. This power should be cultivated and trained in the Lower Degrees, and it is to this end that the Rule ordering daily meditation was laid down. There is no other way of attaining the power of concentration, and without this power, largely developed, no progress can be made in Practical Occultism, no beginning even of it being possible.[4]

Concentration

One obstacle for meditation is the action of the elementals:

In dreams, and also whenever we calmly sit for any sort of meditation, one of the first things to happen is that the Elementals begin to present to our inner eyes pictures of all sorts, and the kind of picture presented will be the result of the prior thoughts and also of the state we are in both mentally and physically. For if we are disturbed or harassed in any way in thought, the pictures will be more and more confused in fact, though sometimes having no appearance on the surface of being in confusion.[5]

One recommended technique is the meditation in the heart:

And so with regard to concentration the Blessed MASTER Koot Hoomi ... writes:


Your best method is to concentrate on the Master as a Living Man within you. Make His image in your heart, and a focus of concentration, so as to lose all sense of bodily existence in the one thought.


So again He says:

The great difficulty to be overcome is the registration of the knowledge of the Higher Self on the physical plane. To accomplish this, the physical Brain must be made an entire blank to all but the Higher Consciousness.


When the Brain is thus rendered a blank, an impression from the Heart may reach it and be retained; and this is what is spoken of on p. 618, with regard to the Chela, who is able to hold only parts of the knowledge gained. The above-quoted letter says:

In acquiring the power of concentration the first step is one of blankness. Then follows by degrees consciousness, and finally the passage between the two states becomes so rapid and easy as to be almost unnoticed.[6]

Samādhi

Real ecstasy was defined by Plotinus as "the liberation of the mind from its finite consciousness, becoming one and identified with the infinite." This is the highest condition, says Prof. Wilder, but not one of permanent duration, and it is reached only by the very very few. It is, indeed, identical with that state which is known in India as Samadhi. The latter is practised by the Yogis, who facilitate it physically by the greatest abstinence in food and drink, and mentally by an incessant endeavour to purify and elevate the mind. Meditation is silent and unuttered prayer, or, as Plato expressed it, "the ardent turning of the soul toward the divine; not to ask any particular good (as in the common meaning of prayer), but for good itself -- for the universal Supreme Good" of which we are a part on earth, and out of the essence of which we have all emerged. Therefore, adds Plato, "remain silent in the presence of the divine ones, till they remove the clouds from thy eyes and enable thee to see by the light which issues from themselves, not what appears as good to thee, but what is intrinsically good."[7]

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Notes

  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 101.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XIV (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1995), 434.
  3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 324.
  4. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 702-703.
  5. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 693.
  6. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 696.
  7. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Key to Theosophy, (London: Theosophical Publishing House, 1987), 10-11.