While we live by depending on outer things, outward circumstances, we are always liable to be upset and broken down. If people have inner resources, they are not dependent. The outer things can change or stay the same – they are not dependent on them.
Meditation practice begins with the body. Meditation techniques are different. I know there is always a tendency in what you might call eclectic circles to say, “Oh, well. It is all the same really”, but, as a matter of fact, spiritual trainings differ considerably among themselves. He settles down. The first thing in practising detachment from the body, from the obsessive body consciousness, is to have the same position each time. If possible, the same place and the same time, and to practise that. One of the advantages is this – if it is done, for instance, at the same time and at the same place. When you come to that time, before that time and before that place, ten minutes before and just seeing the place, changes begin to take place in the body and the mind. The mind begins to become calm, the body begins to become settled, even before sitting down, by the sight.
It should be, if possible, a corner in a room. People haven’t got a separate room but, if possible, a corner in a room, with the same things – perhaps a cushion and perhaps a rosary. At the sight of that cushion and the rosary, at a particular time, already the changes begin to take place. The blood pressure starts to go up and at, say, 6 o’clock when he is experienced and has practised every day like that for a long time, he has already warmed up. Normally, if you start from cold, it can take 15 or 20 minutes to get warmed up and fully toned up. But, if it is the same time and the same place, a familiar time and a familiar place, then those changes will have already begun, and in 7 or 8 minutes he can be fully functioning.
This is the importance of rhythm – to sit in the same posture. Not changing, sometimes this way or sometimes that way – but in the same posture. Then that posture has a calming effect. Again, if we face some crisis, or we have some long suspense or wait, to adopt that posture has a calming effect, of itself, on the mind. So, that is the outer form. Then he feels, “I am the body” but by adopting that posture and that place in that time, the consciousness of the body becomes fainter and, by this practice, he becomes conscious of this line of light. The body is almost like a shell and the line of light within. There are Chinese images which show this – but people who don’t practise don’t know what they mean.
If he goes on practising beyond the line of light, then there’s the purification of the mind – that his thoughts, prejudices, fixed ideas, anticipations, hopes, fears and desires seem to become faint. You think, “How are these things possible?” Yes, they are possible. “No, the intensity of life. You can’t negate that.” Yes, we can and we do. We have vivid dreams, terrifying dreams sometimes. Nightmares. We wish it was a dream, but it is terribly real. And then, what happens? It is negated. That vivid consciousness of being in a storm at sea is negated. How is it done? It is possible.
Sit in the fixed posture and establish the line of light. Keep very still and as the mind becomes pure, something will begin to show itself. At the beginning, we are imagining light – but then, in the Sutra Patanjali says that the object begins to blaze force in its own nature. You say, “Oh, well. I will just imagine something, and after a bit you will start thinking it is there. That is all – just creating hallucinations.” No, what happens is not what we have been imagining – sometimes it is quite a little surprise when that is touched for the first time.
Then we have to practise. Some days, as in everything, the practice is very good – it is 80% successful. Sometimes, the days are bad – it is like tuning into shortwave radio when there is a lot of static – it is only 20% successful. So, practise every day. We don’t think, “Oh I don’t feel much like doing it today. I’m not going to practice.” A musician doesn’t do that. A ballet dancer doesn’t do that. A student can’t afford to do that. Practise at the same time, and go deeper and deeper into that. If we persist, there will be a little glimpse of something – beyond the things we clutch for as an inner support – just coming to us.
So there are two sets of the theory. One is the universe – matter; then energy; then mind; then the cosmic mind, the cosmic intelligence and, finally, bliss and light. Those very things are felt as a living experience within – the identification of the body; then the vital energy; then the mind; then freedom from that and divine intelligence begins to shine – and, lastly, there is an experience beyond that which can be provisionally called bliss and light, and that leads to inspiration in everyday life.
© Trevor Leggett
Titles in this series are
Part 4: A system of training the mind
Part 5: Overcoming pain of body and mind
Part 6: Independence of outer things