2. The ideal
There are as many types of meditation as there are individuals who meditate. For some it is an escape from the trials of the world; for others it is an access to knowledge; for still others it is an approach to God. Various forms of meditation exist, each with its adherents. But the real significance is in the ideal and purpose. The sweetest incense or the most beautiful music will not lift a selfish heart into the presence of the Creator, It is much more important that our minds be free of malice, hate, greed, and selfishness, than that some complex form for meditation be observed. Let us not become involved and confused by material means to meditation, but rather consider first the fundamental reason for it and make that reason in harmony with the highest desire we can conceive.
There are definite changes that take place within us when we enter into true or deep meditation. There is physical activity, through the imaginative or impulsive powers. The sources of impulse are aroused by shutting out thoughts pertaining to activities or attributes of carnal forces. Changes naturally take place when there is an arousing of those stimuli within us which have the seat of the soul as a home. If the ideal, the image, the mark of a high calling, is a standard which is in accord with the highest aspiration of service which we can recognize, then we bear the mark of the Lamb, the Christ. As we raise this, we are able to enter into the very presence of the Creative Force. (See 281-13.)
Some of us have so overshadowed ourselves by abuses of the mental attributes of the body that only an imperfect image may be raised within.
If our aims of meditation are only to still the physical, the direct method should be used. But this is not usually the case. A higher state of spiritual consciousness is the aim and purpose of deep meditation. It is important, therefore, that attention be fixed upon the ideal which is to be raised. The physical quiet of the human organism will follow as a natural result, and there will be a growth of unity, of inner feeling, rather than separate, broken points of consciousness. Now, in fixing attention upon the ideal there should be created a desire to reach the highest possible state of awareness of which the whole being is capable. This does not mean fixation upon the words of an affirmation, but a strong desire that the meeting with the inner self and God be unobstructed and unmarred by other distractions. The quieting of the body should result from an inner spiritual effort rather than from a fixation of consciousness on outer stimuli.
IV. The Forces
In meditation, more than at any other time, we become conscious of the forces. We refer to them as psychic, occult, intuitive, universal, and so on. These are only names designating the various functions of God. "Hear, О Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord."
Let us consider, for an example, intuitive force that arises from experiences of our whole being. It can be developedby introspective activities of our conscious mind, until it is able to bring to bear such experiences upon our daily lives. We call this "entering into the silence."
Those who by constant introspection are able to bring to the surface their experiences as a whole are called "sages" or "lamas." When this ability is made practical by an individual and yet remains spiritual in aspect, such an individual becomes a master.
There is much to be gained in the study of the forces through meditation, introspection, or entering into the silence. It is well to have a thorough knowledge of the subject, but never pretend to be mysterious about it. Jesus lived simply, doing good among His fellow human beings.
As we, in meditation, open ourselves to the unseen forces that surround the throne of grace, beauty, and might within ourselves, let us throw around us the protection found in the thought of the Christ. When our minds are on God, the Christ, who is our Ideal, we need not worry about destructive results. Remember the promise, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." "It is I; be not afraid."
It is when we hold the right ideal that our problems are solved and stumbling blocks become stepping-stones.