Many Theosophists practice regular meditation. Meditation is controlled mental activity. It leads to complete stillness of the mind. When this condition is reached, the experience is of peace and enlightenment.
Some physical skills offer an illustration of the process of meditation. In ballet dancing and gymnastics, the performer gradually brings his/her body under control; the body may be fully active, yet every movement is perfectly planned and executed. Motionless poise also may be achieved at will.
The mind in its undisciplined state is constantly active, but its activity is largely aimless and unproductive. In the restless mind, fragments of thought blow in and out like dried leaves in a windswept playground. There is little sustained attention or concentration. Trivial events, disconnected shreds of remembered conversations, idle fantasies, obsessive worries – these fritter away the energies of the mind.
To meditate is to establish oneself in charge of the power-house of thought. It is to know oneself as the user and director of mental energy. It is to bring the mind into obedience to the will. The skills of the body are acquired gradually, by regular practice, over a long period of time, with one-pointed dedication to the desired goal. Control of the mind also is to be acquired gradually, by regular practice, over a long period of time, with dedication to the goal.
And what is the goal? “The experience of peace and enlightenment”.
MEDITATION – SOME FIRST STEPS.
Books about meditation, instructions and hints are almost useless unless accompanied by practice. These suggestions are intended to help anyone who has not previously practised meditation.
Decide clearly whether or not you wish to learn to meditate.
Decide for how long you will keep up this experimental practice: one week? two weeks? one month? Keep the period of your experiment short. At the end of it, you can always renew your intention.
Decide on a time and place when you expect to have five minutes to yourself undisturbed, regularly: at home? at the office? in a near-by church? Morning is preferable; evening is to be avoided, if possible.
Sit in a comfortable position, with the spine upright. Feel relaxed. Take slow deep breaths.
Close your eyes. Make a mental picture of a candle flame burning brightly, without motion. Calmly, without strain, hold the picture of the flame in your mind. Maintain easy regular breathing.
Feel the stillness of the flame. Feel the peace. Let peace flow outwards from you to your home, your office, the neighbourhood.
Open your eyes. Take three more slow deep breaths. Get up and return to your work.
Peace to all beings.
Some recommended books:
Meditation for Beginners – J. I. Wedgwood.
Meditation: Its Practice and Results – Clara M Codd.
Meditation: A Practical Course – E L Gardner.
The Journey Inwards – F C Happold.
Yoga – Shastri.
First Steps in Modern Yoga – Chodkiewicz.
Raja Yoga – V W Slater.
Concentration – Ernest Wood.