Chapter 12: Another Type of Meditation
We will do a little meditation now, in a slightly modified form. Previously I suggested a review of the analysis of the mind in meditation, and hopefully these ideas have not been forgotten. Every stage of the development of the analysis is going to strengthen and clear up the lower strata that we have studied. In a state of meditation one attempts to fix the mind on the conscious relationship between the adhibhuta and the adhyatma. I am sure that many of us have not succeeded in fixing our minds, because we are not accustomed to thinking along these lines. I mentioned before that thoughts that occur during meditation should be noted down for further review afterwards. We must note down the ways in which the mind wanders away from the chosen ideal. By a repeated movement of thought along the same circles of concentration and by continued habit, the distractions can be gradually avoided. The points that distract the attention are many in the beginning, but they gradually become less and less. In the beginning we will find that gross things attract us, and then later ideas and thoughts are more the basis of distraction. The essence of the process of meditation in yoga is an adopting of different techniques. The techniques may be different, but they are all directed toward the achievement of the single purpose of establishing a harmony between ourselves and the world outside—the adhyatma and the adhibhuta. Remember again that we have attempted to visualise our essential consciousness as a connecting link between us as the adhyatma and the objective world as the adhibhuta.
I would like to suggest another method, because it is good that we adopt different methods to accustom the mind to concentrate on the same idea or ideal. Every day we are eating food, but we vary the food items in order to make them more attractive. The food items may be different, but the purpose is the same. Likewise in meditation, lest the mind be bored by a monotony of thought, we have varieties, but with the same purpose. I will suggest two methods with which we can review our thoughts. Imagine two tanks of water filled to the brim and lying on the same flat surface level. Imagine that a stream of water flows and connects the two tanks. It can simultaneously touch the tank to the right and the tank to the left. In the same way, imagine our consciousness not as something lodged in our bodies, just as the water is not lodged in one tank.
Mostly we think that our Atman, or the jiva, or the consciousness, or the mind is inside this body. Let this idea go, because it is not a correct notion. That is why I have given this analogy. The water is not only in one tank. One tank is ourselves and the other tank is the world outside, so we should not think that the water, which can be compared to consciousness, is in one tank alone. The consciousness is not only in us, but it is also in the universe outside, and that same consciousness is between the two. That is the stream connecting the two tanks. The two tanks represent our bodies and the world outside. Mostly we think that we are the tank itself, but we are the water in the tank and not the tank itself, and so we have access to both the tanks simultaneously. As consciousness we can touch ourselves and the world at one and the same time. This is one way we can concentrate on our true Self, which is not limited to Mr. So-and-So—this person or that person. It is that which connects both this and that, both the adhyatma and the adhibhuta. The one tank is the adhyatma and the other tank is the adhibhuta, and the water in it is the consciousness which connects both and which can have access to both at the same time.
Another form of meditation is where we feel that we are rising up in an airplane. Imagine being seated in an airplane and rising up. We know that the higher we go, the smaller the objects below will look. So high do we go in an airplane that the Earth looks very small. The prior sense of immensity and complexity at the Earth level becomes very insignificant. As we go higher up, people look like ants and huge buildings lose their importance, and if we go even higher the whole Earth may look like a dust particle. If we go still further, then we may feel that the whole solar system is like a small bunch of physical bodies in which there is a small shining centre which is the sun. Higher still and we may see even the whole of the Milky Way in which the solar system moves, and higher still we may see all the many stars beyond it. Higher, higher and higher we rise, until the whole universe is seen as something overcome, skipped over and transcended. We cannot see anything on Earth, as it is altogether gone from our vision. Simultaneously with this thought, connect the thought of this consciousness flowing between the two tanks. That which is rising up in the plane is the consciousness and not the body. The consciousness has not only connected itself in the subject and the object, it has also risen above them. Consciousness is then both immanent and transcendent. Consciousness is immanent in the seer, the seen and also in the connecting link, and we experience transcendence by ascending to higher and higher levels and feeling ourselves to be a consciousness that is universal.