Don’t think in long waves. Think in short waves.
My teacher used to give examples from modern life, sometimes examples from science, and he recommended his pupils to study science as an aid to clear thinking. Science and logic, philosophy, and to study the arts as an aid to clear feeling. One of the things he said was this, “Don’t think in long waves. Think in short waves.” Now this refers to the radio tuner, the long waves in radio, they travel near the surface of the earth and they don’t go far. Radio waves travel like light in straight lines and the long waves keep to the earth.
When Marconi got going on the short waves, he surprised the scientists at the time by saying that the short waves could travel long distances, but that was obviously ridiculous, it was known they went in straight lines. The curvature of the earth would mean that the short wave would, like a light beam, would go around and go up into space. It couldn’t be heard then. Marconi, being a man of not much education, he never went to a university, he determined to do the experiments, although it was absolutely ridiculous. He had the transmitters and the receivers in Cornwall and in Newfoundland, and he tried sending these signals, which as the mathematicians pointed out, would simply go to space. But to everybody’s amazement, except Marconi’s, those signals were heard. Short waves were reflected from the ionosphere, as it was later called: the short waves can travel.
Now, my teacher used this as an example. He said, “Think in short waves, not in long waves. Now, the line represents the spiritual path. If we think in long waves, we think of [the goal] at the far end, but then something external happens. “Well, I’ve got to go to a meeting that morning, and then I’ve got to do some shopping and buying things.” It’s quite a long time before I come back. When I get back for lunch I think, “Oh yes, now, I was thinking about that yoga process. Now, what were they saying about the Gunas? Yes, think about that for a bit, just a little bit.” Then tremendous memories from the past come up some fuss we had, or some fuss that’s blowing up like a storm cloud. I forget all about the yoga or the spiritual path in my memories, hopes, fears, anxieties, ambitions, and some hours later, I come back to it again. Then it’s the external things for some hours, and then I come back to this for some hours. I keep thinking in long waves, perhaps three or four times a day the thought is revived in me. If we make those waves shorter, when they’re deflected, they come back more rapidly after an hour.
They’re deflected into the internal world, but then they come back after an hour. And from an hour to come back, then every half-hour to come back, then every ten minutes to come back and then every five minutes – more and more frequently. So it becomes a background to my ordinary thinking, and finally, it stops on this point. Now, this was an example that he gave, “Don’t think in long waves, think in short waves.” He’s speaking about living in the world, about when it becomes very intense, returning constantly again and again to the earth, though the time will come in meditation when it’ll stop and there won’t be these distractions.
Here is a light of mixed colours. They’re of different wavelengths as you can see. It’s a beam of light, with mixed colours. There’s some relatively short ones and some longer ones. They’re different, they never peak together. These clash, these are nearly peaking together, this one is clashing with that one. They don’t beat together and they couldn’t, because they are different wavelengths. Our ordinary thinking is like this, “I’ve got what I’m actually doing at the office, or when I’m cooking. Not that I can cook, but if I could cook, what I would be doing when I was cooking.” Then there’s a dream going on all the time about how I’m going to do somebody down on the street or how we can get a majority on some little local committee, while I’m cooking and that’s going on at the same time. Then there’s a nagging thought, which goes on: “I’m here. I’m here. I’m here. I’m here. I’m here. I’m here. I’m here.” or “I’ve got a cold, I’ve got a cold. I’ve got a cold, I’ve got a cold, I’ve got a cold, I’ve got a cold, I’ve got a cold.” or “Why did she say that? Why did she say that? Why did she say that? Why did she say that? Why did she say that? Why did she say that?” I’m cooking at the same time, I’m doing my little plotting at the same time, but at all times, “Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why” is going on. This is the ordinary way of the stream of thought.
Now, in the first stage of the meditation, the thought is focused onto one place and the thoughts become directed to one place. Now, we have had in the practice sessions, bringing the mind back to a central line, to pass the finger down the front of the body, down to the navel from between the brows. Then, using the after-sensation to bring the mind back to this point. It runs away to the new lawn mower we are thinking of getting. It runs away into memories, “I wonder what aunty has left me in her will, if anything.” Gradually, the thoughts can be brought back into a line.
Now, it’s like this [light]. It’s the same quality of thought, but the beats are still different. You can see there’s a regular clash here, a slight beat against it, but they’re all at the same wavelength, as you can see. This is all red light. It means this is the Dhyana state of meditation, when the new thought is similar to the previous thought; this is the definition. In this one, where they’re all clashing against each other, each instant is different because they’re clashing. But in this one, although there is a clash, each instant is the same as the previous cycle and this is a steady flow of ideas of the same general nature.
This begins to produce cool, calm, stream of thoughts, which can be directed. It doesn’t have this, “I’m here. I’m here. I’m here. It’s me. It’s me. It’s me. Why, why, why, why, why?” and it doesn’t have these interruptions. It’s just this one here. If I’m cooking, I’m only cooking, not making little plots, not suspecting other people are making little plots, but only cooking. If I’m meditating, then only meditating, with same thought. We can say, “Well, that’s fine. Yes, they’re nice, they’re harmonious,” but the fact is that man is in a prison. This is light, and it would be nice to have your prison lit up.
© Trevor Leggett
Titles in this series are:
Part 1: The gunas
Part 2: Patanjali and Sattva
Part 5: Intense karma fructifies quickly