The subjects of concentration in yoga are realities. They are not beautiful dreams. They are actual realities and it is a question of bringing them to clear awareness in us by persistent practise and this exercise, you remember, consisted in visualising and feeling the centre line as a line of light, to touch the finger on the forehead and then to bring it down the centre line and use the after- sensation down to the navel, feel this centre as a line of light here, throwing away the sensations from the exterior, throwing away the memories and associations from the interior, coming to the centre line.
This is one example that is given. Examples are only meant as illustrations, they can’t be taken too far or too exactly, but these red lines (diagram) are associated with these dark lines which do not actually touch them but, nevertheless, to many people with normal vision it seems to affect the length of the lines, the association with these things. In the same way, yoga tells us that the association with external things which do not actually touch us, which have no concern really with us, can affect us and affect our awareness of our consciousness and the purpose is to remove these accidental circumstances and memories and associations which do not actually have anything to do with us and become aware, simply, of the central line.
This is given in one of Christ’s riddles which is known as the Labourers in the Vineyard, where the labourers agree to work for a day for a denarius. They are selected from the casual labourers and they must be glad to get the job because others do not get it. They agree to do it. Later in the day he (the vineyard owner) takes on other casual labourers who will only work for half day and in the evening he takes on some others who will only work for an hour, but at the end he pays them all one denarius.
The labourers who worked all day grumble and complain. They say, ‘No, this is not fair’, and the owner of the vineyard says, ‘Why? You agreed to do this. You were happy to get the job. You’re not getting any less’. ‘No, it’s not fair that they should get the same as we got when they only work half a day or only one hour’. Now, these are circumstances which had nothing to do with them but which, nevertheless, soured their perceptions. I can hear: ‘I can be satisfied with something then I hear someone with something a little bit better, then I become envious and dissatisfied’, so these accidental things which do not actually touch me at all can, nevertheless, make me look and feel different, and part of this exercise is to remove them and to be what I am.
Line of light practice
Then, if you would like to try the centre line practice, touching the finger on the forehead, bringing it down the centre line to the navel and using that brief after-sensation to bring the attention to a line of light, a column of light in the middle of the body, to do it for about 4 or 5 minutes…
These are methods, among other things, of controlling the mind. People say the mind is uncontrollable. A man said that to a teacher and the teacher said, ‘No, your mind is controlled all the time – by others – by advertisements, by your television, by people saying you should do this. Yes, I know it’s a rotten paper but everyone’s reading it. Your mind is controlled all the time and you can control it yourself’. One of the illustrations about this practice is when one is very nervous or something happens suddenly – a shattering disappointment – even a tremendous elation there is no time to philosophise. Then, if we have practised this – come to the centre – there are advantages, even physically. There are certain branches of athletics where the performers, the top performers, know this, and it improves their physical performance but this is certainly not the yogic purpose of the exercise. It is by effect.
Then the last thing was the text. Well, here again an illustration can be provided: Within me there is a light, there is a consciousness which lights the whole world. One can feel, ‘Well, it isn’t so, one’s consciousness is not like that. Consciousness is not this universal, stable, unmoving, all pervading consciousness. It’s a limited thing’. The blue represents here (diagram) the consciousness as we feel it, and the grey is the things we know immediately, which is quite a small area, and then there is a vast black area of the unknown and this is the actual position one can feel. We can feel that our consciousness moves. We see and feel our consciousness moving and it may begin to disappear and we have to be very careful to keep in the circle of the known. We can see and feel the consciousness moving.
It is no use talking about this being a universal consciousness which does not move, which is all pervading but in yoga practice this individuality and this vast area of the unknown, these are not completely real. These are things which are built up which seem to imprison us but are not, in fact, real and that the reality is this: children think that a spot of blue in the cloudy sky is moving, the clouds move and they see the spot of blue moving, they think it’s a thing which moves. In fact we know that it is the clouds that are moving. In the same way we can feel the consciousness is moving but in fact it is not so and this yogic meditation is to discard, for the time at least, these convictions of individual limitations and world limitations and to give ourselves up into this Universal Consciousness.
Now, if you like to try, we will do the meditation in this form.
OM In me there is a light which lights the whole world. It is radiating now peace and understanding. OM
Well, we have done these exercises. We cannot expect that in a strange place, among people one does not know, not at a regular time, that necessarily we should be able to go very deeply into them. It can happen, but we do not have a claim on it but anyway we have done them together and if you feel an impulse and interest in them we hope that we are providing a practice sheet about them. We hope that you keep them up at home for the traditional period at least of 40 days and see whether our expectations and the expectations of our teacher of the inherent benefit of these exercises will manifest in you.
© Trevor Leggett
Titles in this series are:
Part 1: Meditation in Action
Part 2: The Lord is a companion
Part 4: The beginning of a new spring