Chapter 28: The Leap into the Unknown
With concentration and meditation, the flower of yoga begins to blossom. Just as in running a race, in yoga the very first step that we take before we start involves a concentration of our whole being. When we take part in a race, the very first intent is to become a concentrated whole. It is not merely the feet that run, as we know how much concentration is involved in even the very first step. What an amount of collaboration of the different parts of our system takes place in this enterprise. Hence, when the mind collects itself in concentration, it withdraws into itself the source of all energy from every part of the body, just as butter is drawn from every part of milk when it is churned. In the same way, after the milk has been converted into butter and then is eaten, the concentrated energy from the food is drawn up into every part of the body. It is also like a general recruitment that is ordered when an enemy attacks, and everyone is ready to take part in doing as much service to the nation as possible. Every part of the system is ready to take up its work. There is no other work for the system than contributing its might to the concentration needed to defeat the enemy. In fact, concentration is not merely an act of the mind—it is an act of the whole body, the whole vital force and the entire set of psychological organs. Nothing remains outside us there. Everything that we are is focused in concentration.
Hence, it is the most difficult step that the yogin takes—a most hazardous step, as it is a final jump into the unknown. It is difficult to understand merely through theoretical language what exactly concentration of the mind means in yoga. It is not just a closing of the eyes and thinking of a particular object. It is a throbbing of every cell of our personality in tune with the form of the object that we have chosen to concentrate on. When we play a musical instrument, every string begins to vibrate in unison with every other string, so that every part joins together to bring about a melody rather than a jumble of many separate bits. The many parts which constitute the sound process of the musical instrument join, blend and commune with one another so harmoniously that we have a continuous flow of music.
So is meditation. It is music, as it were, that our whole system begins to participate in—a song that the whole personality sings, a celestial music that emanates from our whole body. The whole life of yoga becomes a song or a melody, and all the jarring noises of the life of an individual commingle to form a harmony of body, mind and soul. Glorious is yoga when it comes to concentration and meditation. Nature begins to smile on our life, and we begin to shake hands with every bit of creation, as it were, when we enter this step in yoga.
It is not merely the whole energy of the system that is drawn in concentration of mind—something more than this takes place. We are in empathy with the whole of creation, and the world begins to support us. In pratyahara and the other lower stages, nature might apparently be in opposition to us. There was a lot of struggle up to the stage of pratyahara, and the senses were rebelling against the attempt to withdraw them from the objects of the world. There were a lot of difficulties. We had to fall and get up many times, and we did not know exactly where to stand. It is in the stage of pratyahara that people either rise or fall. But when we take another further step, we are at the point of entering the edge of a great ocean.
It is as if we are in the delta of a powerful river where its force is concentrated. All the waters of the river render themselves forth at the delta, but while with most rivers the waters get dissipated into many channels in the delta, in yoga the waters are concentrated like the great Amazon River. The Amazon is a river in South America which is so forceful that it pushes the salt water of the ocean several miles away from the delta, and the seawater becomes sweet for some distance. In other rivers the water becomes immediately salty as the water moves into the ocean. Such is the force of a mighty river that rushes into the ocean concentratedly without getting channelised into variegated parts, as would occur with most rivers.
The concentrated energy of the mind is therefore not merely a thought functioning, as our mind might function in thinking of an object such as a mountain, a cow or some other created thing. The preparation in the concentration of the mind is such that we have summoned the forces of the whole body. Imagine that every member of the family is at one with us, every citizen of the government is at one with the government, and every man in the world is at one in his appreciation of human values. As it is done in the social field when a collective mustering of social forces is called forth for any purpose, so in yoga the forces of the body, the forces of the vital system and the forces of the psychological organs are set in tune with the forces of the world. The world no more stands in opposition to us. The world is not an enemy of the yogin. There might have been a state of tension in the earlier stages, but the tension was not caused by anything that was really wrong with the world. The tension came rather from an inability of the mind to set itself in tune with the world. It is difficult to make two clocks tick together. They always make two kinds of ticks, but in the practice of yoga the two clocks of the internal system and the outer world begin to tick very harmoniously. Then we will not hear two sounds, but one sound will be heard as if one clock were ticking, though there are two.
At One with the Forces of the World
Here it is that we are in tune with the world. Here it is that our bodily and vital forces get enhanced by the powers of the world from outside. We become weak on account of our estrangement from things. The world seems to be incapable of contributing anything to us—rather it seems to be unprepared to help us in any manner whatsoever, on account of our not being in unison with it. In this scenario, if we turn our faces to the East, the world is turning its face to the West. This is what happens generally in our day-to-day lives, so that the world never helps us, and then we complain that the world is bad. Well, it is advantageous for us to turn our faces in the same direction as the world's face, and then we see as the world sees, we think as the world thinks, and we move with the same speed that the world moves. When we are the world, then the forces of the world will be at one with our forces within.
In the state of concentration of the mind, we know where we stand and who thinks and who concentrates. It is not one human being, one man or one person sitting in a corner and thinking something. We know the difference between thinking and concentration in yoga. To think is to project our mind towards an external object and artificially associate the form of the object with the activity of the mind, although the object never really gets associated with the mind. To think an object does not mean that the object has been fully absorbed into the mind. In the same way, the light of the sun shines upon an object, but the light does not necessarily become one with the object.
Exactly as the sunlight illumines an object without entering into the object, but merely pervades it from outside, so do our minds merely pervade an object of cognition or perception but never enter into it. Inasmuch as our minds never enter into the being of an object, we have no control over any object in this world, and we are not masters of anything. We always stand outside things, and on account of the world being outside us, we are not friendly with things. But in yogic concentration it is not so. What we are trying to do is not merely to think an object as in ordinary sensation or perception, but to commingle our thought with the forces of the object. The way in which the constituents of the object rotate or revolve should be in unison, at least to an appreciable extent, with the way in which the mind thinks. There is no use in two persons thinking in two different directions without any relation with one another—then there would be no agreement of thought. If I think something and you think another thing and we are along two different lines altogether, we will never agree with each other. If this is the case with the constitution of an object and the way in which we think, there would be no relationship between ourselves and the object we are thinking. This is what usually happens in thoughts of objects, so that we may be contemplating things but we may have no sway over the things.
What is the use of thinking we can control objects, when we cannot achieve it? We cannot achieve it, because we have absolutely no power over the objects. This is again because we are not in tune with them. The saying goes, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Likewise, the object and the mind should be “birds of the same feather”, then they will flock together—otherwise they will fly in different directions. When this flying in different directions occurs, then it is that we lose things, and we seem to never have anything that we need or want. Our wants remain unfulfilled, we are frustrated, and we start weeping that we cannot get what we desire. We cannot get these things because our minds are not in tune with the objects. To set the mind in tune with the nature of the object is the attempt at yogic concentration. Thus, the concentration of the mind in yoga is a very difficult step. How this mind is to be attuned to the object was the purpose of the detailed psychological and philosophical analysis conducted in the earlier stages. One might wonder why we have been taken through these meandering paths of psychological and philosophical analysis for the sake of concentration of mind. It is because we cannot concentrate the mind on the object unless we know where we stand in relation to the object. Why do we concentrate? What do we mean by concentration? This will be a question which we cannot easily answer.
The answer can be given only if we know our constitution, the constitution of the object, and the relation that exists between us and the things. For this purpose we studied the psychology of perception and the philosophical foundation on which the yogic practice is based. All the time we have been busy with understanding rather than the actual doing of the thing, because the doing is a simple effort, while the understanding is a more difficult thing. When the relation between us and the object is very clear to our understanding, then it is easy to concentrate the mind on the object. As I said, when yoga reaches this stage of concentration, it blossoms. We know what it means when a flower blossoms. It is a movement of nature. The seed was the origin of the flower, and we know what time it has taken for the seed to reach the stage of blossoming. This blossoming has to yield a fruit—which is the spiritual experience or realisation. Much preparation is involved in bringing the seed to the stage where it blossoms into the flower. It has to be tended with great affection during the stages it will pass through, and it has to be tended for a protracted period in a proper atmosphere. Then it opens up its inner secret in the form of the flower.
The mind, when it concentrates on a chosen object in yoga, has opened itself up thoroughly and wholly. The inner resources of the mind come up for action in concentration. Up to this time, the mind was not in a state of action—it was merely imagining. In perceptional activity the mind is only imagining without actually coming into contact with things. Our thought of an object remains merely a dissociated activity of the mind, as it is not fully associated with the object. While in sensational perception the mind is dissociated from the object, in the concentration of yoga it is fully associated. It is like two people who walk together as friends at the same speed and reach the same destination at the same time. The world and the mind must go together. When the world and the mind think alike and work together in the same state and towards the same destination, the mind is ready for meditation. Here it is that the mind begins to overcome the barriers of personality-consciousness. The awareness of personality—the body-consciousness as we call it—is the movement of the mind within the location of the body and the inability of the mind to get out of the limitation imposed by the bodily encasement. It is not merely mind in this ordinary psychological sense that concentrates.
Yoga, especially the yoga of Patanjali, uses a word called chitta. It is the chitta that concentrates. It is the antahkarana (fourfold internal instrument of mind, intellect, ego and subconscious mind) that practises concentration. In Western psychological language mind generally means one function of the internal organ. Here, in the process of yogic concentration, it is not merely one function that is active, but all the functions set together. It is like all five fingers grabbing an object, two feet walking in unison, two people thinking alike, or any of many other examples that can be given of unitary action. We are in a state of concentration when the functions of the thought, of memory, of will, of understanding and of feeling all mingle together to form a concentrated focus. Our minds—as understanding—are then present in the perceived object, our powers of will are there in the object, our affection is there in the object, and our whole attention is there in the object. This manas-ahamkara-chitta-buddhi, as the functions of the internal organ are called, are all one in this practice. This unity of the psychological functions is called the chitta in the language of Patanjali. We also call it antahkarana or the internal organ. But having said all this, we have in fact only one psychological principle within us. There are no such things as manas-ahamkara-chitta-buddhi as separate capacities.
These are all various names that we give to the different functions that the mind performs—like a person who may be a judge, a collector, a minister and many other functions which may all be performed by the same person. The various forms of nomenclature do not separate the person. The person is identical with himself. Likewise, the functions alone are not independently the psychological organ—it is all these put together. It is a self-identical principle, and it is this total principle which we call the psychological organ that practises concentration. The feelings about the object are the same as the understanding of the object.
Here, philosophy and religion come together. There is no separation between metaphysical analysis and religious consciousness or devotion. The understanding and the feeling are one. We appreciate the object wholeheartedly, and at the same time we understand it thoroughly. Only when these two functions come together can we really concentrate. There is no concentration where the heart is absent or while the will alone is functioning. Remember therefore that concentration is not an action merely of the will. The heart and the will—together with the understanding—stand with one another focused on the form of the object. However, it is not merely this. The concentration becomes so very intense that the spatial distance between the mind and the object also gets obliterated.
Consciousness Enveloping the Object
When consciousness envelops the object completely, it floods not merely the location of the object or the form of the object, but it also becomes a continuous flow from the subject to the object. It becomes a flood of consciousness which inundates not only the subject and the object, but also the process that seems to connect the one with the other. There is a continuously flowing stream of consciousness from the thinker to the object that is thought. There are certain unavoidable factors involved in the process of concentration. There is a thinker of the object, there is an object that is thought, and there is the process of thinking. Along with this there is a simultaneous effort of the mind to prevent the entry of thoughts that are not conducive to the concentration of the mind on the chosen ideal.
This fourth aspect of the mind begins to function unconsciously and simultaneously with the positive act of concentration. When I want to see an object, I do not want to see anything nearby. This not wanting to see something extraneous is one action of the mind, simultaneous with the action of wanting to see something. The thought of a chosen object, while it involves concentration of the thought on the object, requires also a setting aside of extraneous thoughts. Therefore, the negative process is the avoiding of extraneous thoughts, and the positive process is the entertaining of the thought of the chosen object. These two functions take place simultaneously.
We have been accustomed to think in a dualistic manner, because we do not think all things at the same time. Whenever we think something, we think only one thing, two things or a few things—but not all things at once. The other things are excluded from the purview of the mental operation. In concentration then, four factors are involved: the thinker, the object thought, the process of thinking and the exclusion of sources whose entry are completely and deliberately avoided by the mind. In the beginning it may involve a little bit of exertion. We may feel ourselves to be in the same position as a student sitting in the hall when a final examination is handed to him. He doesn't know what exactly is on the paper, and so he is a little bit anxious and nervous. In the same way, in this commencement of the process of concentration, a little bit of nervousness and anxiety may be present, but they will pass away. The nervousness and anxiety are due to not being aware of what is going to happen. The future is unknown and nothing is clear—that is why we are anxious. But if our preparation has been well thought out, we need not be anxious. The student who has read his homework very well need not be anxious about the examination, because he knows everything. Let every question be put to him—he is ready to answer because he knows that he knows.
In the same way, the yoga student is to be confident about the understanding of the nature of the object. We should not enter this process of concentration or dharana with a doubt in the mind. Everything should be clear. With a doubt in the mind, no concentration is possible. We must have a thorough logical understanding and conviction as to the efficacy of this step that we are taking. We should not be in a position to be shaken up by the world's logic. We should not therefore have many Gurus or read books which will disturb our minds, nor stay in places which are not conducive, nor place ourselves in a position to be affected by the opposition of things. Our arguments should be stronger than anybody else's. We must be like a very good lawyer who is confident about what he is saying. There may be many other lawyers opposed to him, but so what? He must be confident that he knows more law than anybody else. With such confidence we must enter the field of concentration of mind.
There are people in the world who will disturb our minds by telling us things contrary to what we seek. They'll say, “You're not all right; you're stupid; you are on the wrong path; go on some other path; go to some other Guru,” and so on. There are also people who denigrate the whole path, saying that it is all nonsensical. This will be people's logic, and we may find ourselves susceptible to it. If we allow this, then we will achieve nothing. There is yet again another kind of logic which will speak from inside our own selves. This is harder to face than the logic of the opinions of people around us. The mind's logic is more powerful and difficult to face than the logic of people outside. The mind has a logic of its own, and it will counteract our arguments. There are two stages of the mind—the lower and the higher. We may be wondering, “Who is it that is speaking from within?” The mind can act like a double-edged sword. When the higher mind which uses sattvic logic takes to the act of concentration, the lower mind with its contrary kind of logic will be put down.
We should read the sixth chapter of The Light of Asia by Edwin Arnold. It is very interesting to read how the mind in its lower form will have its own logic, and what difficulties Buddha had to pass through in meditation, and what temptations exactly came to him. It is very beautifully described by the poet in this chapter. The mind's logic is formidable, and the lower mind many times draws our attention wholly, and we are sometimes fully engrossed in the lower mind, and we cannot stand apart from it. We speak the language of the lower mind.
This is when we sink down to the lower level, and then we say, “I think so.” When we say, “I think” with the total reliance on our own lower selves, we only mean that we speak the devil's language for the time being. We cannot stand apart from it, and we cannot know who is really speaking. It is like being a possessed person. The lower mind and the personality get mixed up, and we speak the language and the logic of the lower mind many a time when we become weak in our will and understanding. Do not be under the misapprehension that once we are motivated to undertake concentration of mind that we are always safe. We can also fall back, and there is a possible retrogression. The fall may be with such a thud that we don't know what hit us. But we have to raise ourselves up again through the power of our will. The fall may be not merely due to our weakness of understanding, but also due to the force—we may call it the psychological gravitational pull—of the lower mind. Just as there is physical gravitation, there is also mental gravitation. The mind attracts just as physical bodies attract. The mind can pull us down to its own level of desire. The lower mind is nothing but a way of thinking in terms of sensory objects, while the higher mind is the mind thinking of reality. When the mind begins to sing the old song of its love for the objects of sense, then we are in the lower mind.
Again and again, doubts will harass us. “What is all this? Why should I not go elsewhere?” We begin to be involved in specious arguments, which are apparently logical, but faulty in their essence. These are specious arguments when we argue like a very wise person, but inside we are hollow, and what the mind speaks comes from this hollowness. We know about the temptations of the Buddha and Christ. We know what Satan told Christ. “Come, I will make you the Lord of all these things, and you can convert these stones into bread,” and many other things to which, of course, Christ turned his back. We have to be in a position to turn our backs against these temptations of the Satan who is inside us. He whispers to us in a friendly tone, and this Satan seems to be our friend rather than our enemy. So very loving does he apparently become that we cannot see him as someone trying to do us harm. There is though no actual Satan apart from the longing for the objects of sense. These desires take the form of Satan outside and the temptations from within. When the mind gets involved in these old habits of thinking, concentration becomes weaker. So many times we may be thrown back out of the concentrated state, as if we had walked right into an electromagnetic field. We will be kicked, and we will fall backwards.
Again we have to take courage and walk with added strength. From where does the strength come? Where does this added strength come from when we are kicked back, and we cannot walk forward? The strength has to come by the force of understanding and the application of will. Many factors come to our aid here. The good deeds that we have done in the past, the cumulative force of our good deeds done in this very life in the form of sadhana, the power of the mind of our own Guru who initiated us into this technique, and God's grace finally will all assist us. All combine in helping us in the mental act of concentration. As I mentioned, the whole world becomes friendly when we are intent on realising this ideal which is the soul of the cosmos. But as important and as interesting as the concentration of the mind is, just as important is also the caution that we have to exercise in seeing that we do not fall back into the old ruts through which we have already walked. This is a very important aspect of the matter. The more we concentrate our minds, the more we will feel a kind of temptation from inside. All this is because the desires have not completely been wiped out. The desires will not leave us until we enter into the state of spiritual absorption. They will be there in some subtle form or state.
As I said, there are certain aspects of thought which we need to avoid in concentration, and these things are the desires. The aspects of thinking which we tried to obviate in the enterprise of concentration are the voices of the desires of the lower mind. We do not want them to speak, and we try to hush them up. The question is, how are we to hush them up? The fourth aspect of concentration that I mentioned is the action of the mind in setting aside certain thoughts. It is the effort of the mind to set aside the voice of desires, the voice of obstruction, the voice of non-cooperation, etc. But how are we to deal with it, and what exactly are we going to do? Setting the desires aside is not a solution. We can try to set them aside by many methods: by a force physically exerted through the power of will, or by promises we can sometimes employ such as, “Friends, don't clamour just now. I'll talk to you later on. I'm busy now.” If a creditor comes to us, we may say, “I'll talk to you a little later,” but we cannot simply get him to go away like that. We can apply force, “Don't talk, keep quiet,” which is one way of negotiating or, “Please wait, I shall see you later,” or “What do you want? Take it and go so that you do not come again.” But whatever we may say, the creditors are not so easily turned away, because what they want is so much more than what we can give. All our attempts at asking them to silence themselves will likely end in failure.
We have to know their weakness and then tap them at their source. We cannot handle an enemy so easily. An enemy is attacking, and if we try to tell him, “Please, go back,” he is not going to listen. Nor is he going to listen to our promises. He is up and armed to demolish us totally. He has come for that, and he is not going to listen to our words. These methods of substitution, cajoling, promising or even threatening will not suffice with these desires. When we come to the stage of concentration of mind, we have to take a very decisive step with these things, and this step can be taken only by going deep into this problem, so that it may not arise again. The problem should not rise again, if we dig deeply into the roots of the disease.
The desires have weaknesses of their own, and desire is another name for weakness. When we touch the weak spot of anything, it comes under our control. Appeal to reason does not always succeed, but appeal to sentiments may sometimes succeed. We have to go into the vital content of desire, as these are the weaknesses of desire. Do not argue with them, as they will not listen, because they too have a logic of their own. They may appear to be subdued, but will rise again after a few days. The foolishness of desires consists in their not being aware of what they are asking for. They apparently seem to be very shrewd and wise in their asking, but truly speaking, their wisdom is hollow, and they are stupid in what they ask for.
The work of the yoga student with his desires is like the function of a physician with a patient. There is no use for the physician to do whatever the patient wants. The physician's work is something quite different. The physician will not ask the patient, “What exactly do you want to take for treatment? May I give you this?” Rather, the doctor knows what the matter is and what needs to be done. The yoga student is therefore like a physician with patients, but in this case the ‘patients' are the desires of the mind. They have to be treated for their illness, as all the desires are sick patients. They are the unhealthy part of our mental world. They try to create annoyances of various kinds, and many times we do not know how to deal with these sources of annoyance. It is true that in the state of concentration our main purpose is to pay attention to the positives and not to engage ourselves too much with the negative aspects. But while the negative may be ignored while it is calm and quiet, we cannot completely ignore it when it starts screaming and shouting. Suppose we are singing a melodious song in a prayer hall, and a hundred people start shouting outside. We will not be able to continue our singing. First we must stop their shouting—whatever the reason for it may be. But if only a few people are muttering something, we will not mind—we will just raise our voices a little more. But if the clamour is too much, we have to stop it.
The Desire, The Object of Desire, and Our Selves
This is an analogy for what must happen in concentration. Though our positive step is one of attention to the chosen ideal, simultaneously we have to be also conscious of the negative aspects. I have mentioned some of these steps that we have to take while discussing the pratyahara process. I have tried to outline briefly in the earlier lessons of pratyahara what to do with the desires and what desires really mean. The desires are not outside us, so we cannot treat them as we treat people outside. These desires are not only not outside us, they are also not outside the objects that we see. Again to give the example of a triangle, one may say that the desiring subject, the desire and the desired object are like three points of a triangle. They are all connected by the lines drawn from one point to the other. When we touch one part, we have touched all the parts. The desire, the object of desire and our selves are organically one—hence we cannot ignore any aspect of the question. The desires seem to be formidable and difficult on account of the involvement of this three-part structure of which we are a part. When we try to solve this problem of desire, we have to solve a threefold question: what is desire, what are we, and what is the object? All these three questions have to be answered at the same time, because the three are connected with the desire. We may say the desire is the relation, and we know how important relation is in respect of the subject and the object. It is what brings the subject in connection with the object.
When the one part of the link is touched, the other links receive the vibration of the touch. The process of desire—for it is a process and is not a thing hanging somewhere in space—is a process of the mind. Mind itself is desire. When the desire speaks, one part of the mind begins to speak, and when the mind in this condition begins to speak, it speaks in the context of an object. The language of the lower mind—the desireful mind—is the language of the form of the object. It speaks in terms of the object, and all its talk is an appreciation of the object. We often have persons or things which we like very much and which we want to praise. Sometimes, when there is no opportunity provided to render that praise, we indirectly bring these praiseworthy subjects up in conversation somehow or the other and begin to say something good about them.
So also is the mind which is desireful of an object. Somehow or the other the mind will bring that item into consideration in its daily activities. The object of desire is therefore the form which the desireful mind has taken within itself. I am trying to give some indication as to how to tackle all these desires. Empirically speaking, the object is outside, and it is not a part of our bodies. But specifically because it is not a part of ourselves, that is the reason why we are hankering after it. If the object had been really a part of us, then there would be no need of asking for it. It is outside us, and therefore we want to make it a part of us.
The mind, with a light of consciousness reflected in it, casts itself into the mould of the object. The mould is nothing but the shape of the object. We mistake the mental mould of the object for the object itself, and we wrongly love the object, which means to say that we love the form taken by the mind in terms of the object. Our love is mental—it is not physical. The psychological mould is the shape which the mind has taken in terms of the object. The consciousness that pervades this mould and which has taken the form of the mould thinks in terms of this form of the object. Thinking is itself in terms of the forms. One may say, in some sense, the thinking itself is a formation. Inasmuch as thinking is conscious, consciousness apparently takes the form of the object, and we appear to be one with the object—psychologically at least, though not physically. Inasmuch as consciousness is our true self, when it enlightens the mould of the mind in terms of the object, we do not know how to contain ourselves in this ecstasy of longing. Consciousness tries to exceed its limits and pour itself into the mould of the mind in terms of the object. We want to become the object, and we cease to be this person that we are now. We want to be that thing itself. This is what happens in all desires, affections and loves. One experiences an uncontrollability of emotion and an exceeding of the mental limits in love, so that there is convulsion of various kinds felt within the mind. Here it is that emotion takes possession of us.
What we have to tell the mind is, “Dear friend, the object is so far from us, and it is physically different from us.” It cannot become a part of us, and we are misguided. We are stupidly imagining that the object can become a part of us by merely associating consciousness with the mould which the mind has taken. We are loving only the shape of our own minds. It is a psychological content that is attracting our attention, really speaking. We are purely in a mental state, as physically nothing has happened. The object of our love is not aware that we are loving it. What has happened to us, really? There are people who are crying for certain things in the world and cannot sleep. The thing that is asked for or loved may not even be really connected with the person that longs for it, and physically therefore there is no relation. But an apparent psychological relation is established through imagination. All love is imagination of emotion—an unnecessary tumult that is being created inside. First of all there is no point in merely loving a psychological form, which really is what happens in all forms of love. Even if we temporarily come into the physical proximity of the object, we are still not in possession of it. We think we know what it is to possess things, but the possessions cannot come under our control. The physical disparity of nature is such that one thing cannot be the property of another thing in this world. Nobody can possess another thing. Each one is independently itself, even if it is inorganic matter.
We cannot possess gold and money—it is not ours, because it is outside us. How can we call it our own? It is only psychologically ours. It may be in a bank which is thousands of miles away, but we nevertheless feel the affirmation of possession. Physically it is so far away and unconnected with us, but the mind says, “It is mine.” That is all. However, even if a thing is near, we cannot truly say that it is ours. Physical proximity is not possession, as I mentioned earlier. The mind is unnecessarily worrying itself in all desires and loves. All desire is worry, annoyance and vexation, and there is no point in entertaining it. Thus is the mind to be taught a lesson by recognising the consequence of the diverting of the higher light of the higher mind into the lower chambers of the heart.
Concentration becomes easy when this analysis goes on, along with a positive attention of the mind on the chosen ideal. Hence, in the four aspects I have mentioned, at least the one dealing with the sublimation of desire has to be emphasised here. The aspects of the mind—the thoughts which harass and distract us and which introduce themselves unnecessarily—are to be sublimated in this manner and not merely thrown out through force of will. We will see how strong the mind becomes when we have sublimated these desires, and the vitality of the mind is no longer encumbered by them. That part of the mind which was engaged in the setting aside of negative thoughts is now able to summon even that part of itself into the positive context of attention. When the distraction ceases, the mind becomes strong.
In the higher states of concentration the need to prevent or avoid something does not arise, though in the beginning stages it is there. In real meditation the threefold unitive process of thinker, thinking and the thought of the higher are working together without any difficulty. We do not need to set anything aside in this refined practice—we include everything here. All forces become ours, and we don't have to use any kind of negative force to avoid certain things. Instead, we bring all these forces together for one purpose. In authentic meditation all will speak with the same voice in the same language and will want the same thing. All the aspects of the mind will think alike. Thought, emotion, understanding and will all begin to function for a common purpose. When this takes place, true meditation occurs. Meditation thus is supposed to be an organic continuity, and not merely a mechanical form of concentration. It is not merely a quantitative total of concentration that makes meditation, but a growth of concentration into a transcendent process, in which the efforts of concentration lead to a larger harmony of the mind.