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Blavatsky Net - Theosophy

This site focuses on Madame Blavatsky and her teaching - Theosophy. It features an introduction to Theosophy, study aids, research tools, original text, supporting evidence, membership, and visitor interaction.

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Dear Member of Blavatsky Net, Meditation is a subject of great interest to people today. Comments on the subject in the original Theosophical literature can be obscure for people to find. Jim and Sally Colbert have compiled a lengthy list of such quotes from the founders of Theosophy and their compilation forms the content of this month's newsletter. The compilation contains much helpful information. (Thanks Jim and Sally.)



THERE are some that feel the subject of meditation is not given prominent consideration in theosophical writings. Others have expressed that meditation is an individual matter and each must find their own method, and, therefore, a "how to" approach should not be listed. However, there are now hundreds and probably thousands of books, pamphlets, and articles, which have come forth in the popular press. Meditation is recommended for health, stress management, corporate focus, and spiritual direction. It might be said the hidden meditation teachings of the East are no longer hidden and are fully available in the West.

The quotations below are put forward to emphasize that the practice of meditation has long been a direction found in the theosophical literature. These quotations are mostly from over a century ago yet they are very current in terms of the present literature. There are suggestions of a When to, How to, Where to, and Focus to meditation. It will be found that some of the suggestions below are very much in the literature of the day. And, to some extent, there are some suggestions, which hint of even greater depth. The quotations are mostly taken from William Q.Judge's Letters That Have Helped Me and Robert Crosbie's Friendly Philosopher. There are quotations from Theosophy Magazine and Five Years of Theosophy. In addition, there is a brief statement from the Dalai Lama.

Two paradoxes may be seen from some of the statements. One is the implication that a teacher may be needed to assist in meditation practice yet there does not appear to be a teacher available - at least, in the theosophical tradition. The second is, there are hints given of benefits associated with meditation on the "higher centers." But, there are also warnings given not to meditate on the higher centers. Both of these might be answered with the following. There are given significant steps in the beginning practice of meditation. Once one begins to master some of the consistent practice and gains a degree of control over the mind, this may attract and lead to the kind of help needed to pursue deeper levels. This may apply, as well, to meditation on the higher centers.


Meditation Defined: "…true meditation consists in the ‘reasoning from the known to the unknown.' The ‘known' is the phenomenal world, cognizable by our five senses. And all that we see in this manifested world are the effects, the causes of which are to be sought after in the nominal, the unmanifested, the ‘unknown world:' this is accomplished by meditation, i.e., continued attention to the subject. Occultism does not depend upon one method, but employs both the deductive and the inductive. …then comes the next stage of meditation, which is ‘the inexpressible yearning of the inner man to go out towards the infinite." 1

"Meditation is the inexpressible yearning of the inner Man to ‘go out towards the infinite,' which in the olden time was the real meaning of adoration, but which now has no synonym in the European languages, because the thing no longer exists in the west, and its name has been vulgarized to the make-believe shams known as prayer, glorification, and repentance. Through all stages of training the equilibrium of the consciousness - the assurance that all must be right in the Kosmos, and therefore with you a portion of it - must be retained." 2

Meditation is the bridge, method, or vehicle by means of which the student consciously and at will passes into a chosen state or condition, there sees and acts consciously and at will, and at will consciously returns. Meditation is never from below upwards, nor from without inwards. It begins and ends with the operation of the Spiritual Will, of which Meditation is an instrument. 3

What Method Should I Use? In my own case, if the car is delayed, I am also irritated. But for more serious things, perhaps I have more patience and calm. Of course, the training of mind - or religious belief, and certainly in my case, as a Buddhist - is one method.

Training involves not just one single method but many methods; it's like building a huge airplane. It takes so many pieces that all have to fit together to make it work. In the same way the transformation of our minds - or setting the right kind of attitude - takes time. 4

When to Meditate: By setting apart a particular time for meditation a habit is formed, and as the time comes round the mind will, after a while, become trained, so that meditation at the particular time will become natural. Hence, as far as possible, it will be well for you to keep to the same hour. 5 You may, if you will, set apart a certain half-hour, just before retiring and after arising-as soon as possible after-and before eating. Concentrate the mind upon the Masters as ideals and facts-living, active, beneficent Beings, working in and on the plane of causes. Meditate upon this exclusively, and try to reach up to Them in thought. If you find the mind has strayed, bring it back again to the subject of meditation. The mind will stray more or less, at first, and perhaps for a long time to come, but do not be discouraged at the apparent results if unsatisfactory to your mind. 6

How to Meditate- It is true that too often when we begin to meditate on some elevating thought, dark thoughts come in, and this is not easy to overcome; but if we remember that the very essence of our being, the inmost sanctuary of the Soul, is divine, we can enter into it and shut out the evil. The tendency of the mind is to wander from subject to subject, and so we should try to follow the advice of the Bhagavad Gita: "To whatsoever object the inconstant mind goeth out, he should subdue it, bringing it back and place it upon the Spirit. There is no purifier in this world to be compared to spiritual knowledge, and he who is perfected in devotion findeth Spiritual knowledge springing up spontaneously in himself in the progress of time. 7

How to Meditate- Every Chela (and we are all that once we determine to be) has these same difficulties. Patience and fortitude! For an easy birth is not always a good one. The kingdom of heaven is only taken by violence, and not by weakness of attack. Your constant aspiration persevered in secret has led you to that point where just these troubles come to all. Console yourself with the thought that others have been in the same place and have lived through it by patience and fortitude . ... Fix your thoughts again on Those Elder Brothers, work for Them, serve Them, and They will help through the right appropriate means and no other. To meditate on the Higher Self is difficult. Seek then, the bridge, the Masters. "Seek the truth by strong search, by doing service, and by inquiry, and those who know the Truth will teach it." Give up doubt, and arise in your place with patience and fortitude. Let the warrior fight, the gentle yet fierce Krishna, who, when he finds thee as his disciple and his friend, will tell thee the truth and lighten up the darkness with the lamp of spiritual knowledge. 8

How to Meditate- Also I advise you to discontinue concentration on the vital centers, which again may prove dangerous unless under the guidance of a teacher. You have learnt, to a certain degree, the power of concentration, and the greatest help will now come to you from concentration upon the Higher Self, and aspiration toward the Higher Self. Also if you will take some subject or sentence from the Bhagavad Gita, and concentrate your mind upon that and meditate upon it, you will find much good result from it, and there is no danger in such concentration. 9

How to Meditate- In the way of meditation, DON'T GET PASSIVE; danger lies that way. Be active in all things. The giddiness will pass away in time; the change with all its disturbances, mental, and otherwise, has doubtless acted upon the nerve- currents and circulatory system. The way to overcome disturbance, of course, is by mental and physical calmness; this should be maintained. 10

How to Meditate- Meditation as used by us, is what is called in Sanskrit Dhyana, i.e., want of motion, and one-pointedness. The main point is to free the mind from the power of the senses, and to raise a current of thought to the exclusion of all others. "Realization comes from dwelling on the thing to be realized." W.Q.J. says, "To meditate on the Higher Self is difficult; seek then, the Bridge, the Masters. The patient dwelling of the mind on a single thought results in the gaining of wisdom, and it is thus that the true Occultist is developed. Aspiration toward the Higher Self should form part of the daily meditation; the rising toward the higher planes of our being, which cannot be found unless they are sought. Earnest and reverent desire for Master's guidance and enlightenment will begin the attunement of the nature to the harmony to which it must one day respond. Concentration on a single point in the Teaching is a road to the philosophy; self-examination, a road to knowledge of oneself. To put oneself in the place of another, to realize his difficulties, and thus be able to help him, is that faculty-which when extended makes it possible for the Adept to understand the nature of the stone or other form of consciousness." Meditation is a good beneficent practice leading to a great end. It is also a great destroyer of the personal idea. 11

WHERE AND HOW TO MEDITATE- It is well to pursue some kind of practice, and pursue it either in a fixed place, or in a mental place which cannot be seen, or at night. The fact that what is called Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi may be performed should be known. (See Patanjali's yoga system.) Dharana is selecting a thing, a spot, or an idea, to fix the mind on. Dhyana is contemplation of it. Samadhi is meditating on it. When attempted, they of course are all one act. Now, then, take what is called the well of the throat or pit of the throat.
  1st. Select it. -- Dharana.
  2d. Hold the mind on it. -- Dhyana.
  3d. Meditate on it. -- Samadhi.
This gives firmness of mind.

Then select the spot in the head where the Shushumna nerve goes. Never mind the location; call it the top of the head. Then pursue the same course. This will give some insight into spiritual minds. At first it is difficult, but it will grow easy by practice. If done at all, the same hour of each day should be selected, as creating a habit, not only in the body, but also in the mind. Always keep the direction of Krishna in mind: namely, that it is done for the whole body corporate of humanity, and not for one's self. 12

How to Meditate - Let us divide Meditation into two sorts. First is the meditation practiced at a set time, or an occasional one, whether by design or from physiological idiosyncrasy. Second is the meditation of an entire lifetime, that single thread of intention, intentness, and desire running through the years stretching between the cradle and the grave. For the first, in Patanjali's Aphorisms will be found all needful rules and particularity. If these are studied and not forgotten, then practice must give results. How many of those who reiterate the call for instruction on this head have read that book, only to turn it down and never again consider it? Far too many.

The mysterious subtle thread of a life meditation is that which is practiced every hour by philosopher, mystic, saint, criminal, artist, artisan, and merchant. It is pursued in respect to that on which the heart is set; it rarely languishes; at times the meditating one greedily running after money, fame, and power looks up briefly and sighs for a better life during a brief interval, but the passing flash of a dollar or a sovereign recalls him to his modern senses, and the old meditation begins again. Since all theosophists are here in the social whirl I refer to, they can every one take these words to themselves as they please. Very certainly, if their life meditation is fixed low down near the ground, the results flowing to them from it will be strong, very lasting, and related to the low level on which they work. Their semi-occasional meditations will give precisely semi-occasional results in the long string of recurring births.13

Preparation For Meditation- The Sermon on the Mount, occult considered, is a mere preparation for Meditation. So is Bhagavad-Gita; so the Dhammapada; so the "Voice of the Silence" and "Light on the Path"; so the "Three Objects" of the Parent theosophical society; so all the other works and writings of H.P.B. and Mr. Judge. Who has studied them assimilatively? Who has even begun to embody them in his own life and conduct even in small degree, automatically, habitually, instinctively, intuitively? If not, then he is not ready for Meditation in any other than a spurious or dangerous sense. What he needs is "exercise and dispassion" in the sense Patanjali gives to these terms. 3

Meditation States-
Student: - What would you point out as a principal foe to the mind's grasping of truth?
Sage. - The principal foe of a secondary nature is what was once called phantasm; that is, the reappearance of thoughts and images due to recollection or memory. Memory is an important power, but mind in itself is not memory. Mind is restless and wandering in its nature, and must be controlled. Its wandering disposition is necessary or stagnation would result. But it can be controlled and fixed upon an object or idea. Now as we are constantly looking at and hearing of new things, the natural restlessness of the mind becomes prominent when we set about pinning it down. Then memory of many objects, things, subjects, duties, persons, circumstances, and affairs brings up before it the various pictures and thoughts belonging to them. After these the mind at once tries to go, and we find ourselves wandering from the point. It must hence follow that the storing of a multiplicity of useless and surely-recurring thoughts is an obstacle to the acquirement of truth. And this obstacle is the very one peculiar to our present style of life. 14

Meditation States- The Self is one and all-powerful, but it must happen to the seeker from time to time that he or she shall feel the strangeness of new conditions; this is not a cause for fear. If the mind is kept intent on the Self and not diverted from it, and comes to see the Self in all things, no matter what, then fear should pass away in time. I would therefore advise you to study and meditate over the Bhagavad Gita, which is a book that has done me more good than all others in the whole range of books, and is the one that can be studied all the time. 15

Meditation States- I am not separate from anything. "I am that which is." That is, I am Brahma, and Brahma is everything. But being in an illusionary world, I am surrounded by certain appearances that seem to make me separate. So I will proceed to mentally state and accept that I am all these illusions. I am my friends, -- and then I went to them in general and in particular. I am my enemies; then I felt them all. I am the poor and the wicked; I am the ignorant. Those moments of intellectual gloom are the moments when I am influenced by those ignorant ones who are myself. All this in my nation. But there are many nations, and to those I go in mind; I feel and I am them all, with what they hold of superstition or of wisdom or evil. All, all is myself. Unwisely, I was then about to stop, but the whole is Brahma, so I went to the Devas and Asuras (2): the elemental world that too is myself. After pursuing this course awhile I found it easier to return to a contemplation of all men as myself. It is a good method and ought to be pursued, for it is a step toward getting into contemplation of the All. I tried last night to reach up to Brahma, but darkness is about his pavilion. 16

Meditation States- Spiritual culture is attained through concentration. It must be continued daily and every moment to be of use. The "Elixir of Life" (Five Years of Theosophy) gives us some of the reasons for this truth. Meditation has been defined as "the cessation of active, external thought." Concentration is the entire life- tendency to a given end. For example, a devoted mother is one who consults the interests of her children and all branches of their interests in and before all things; not one who sits down to think fixedly about one branch of their interests all the day. Life is the great teacher; it is the great manifestation of Soul, and Soul manifests the Supreme. Hence all methods are good, and all are but parts of the great aim, which is Devotion. "Devotion is success in actions," says the Bhagavad-Gita. We must use higher and lower faculties alike, and beyond those of mind are those of the Spirit, unknown but discoverable. The psychic powers, as they come, must also be used, for they reveal laws. But their value must not be exaggerated, nor must their danger be ignored. They are more subtle intoxicants than the gross physical energies. He who relics upon them is like a man who gives way to pride and triumph because he has reached the first wayside station on the peaks he has set out to climb. Like despondency, like doubt, like fear, like vanity, pride, and self-satisfaction, these powers too are used by Nature as traps to detain us. Every occurrence, every object, every energy may be used for or against the great end: in each Nature strives to contain Spirit, and Spirit strives to be free. Shall the substance paralyze the motion, or shall the motion control the substance? The interrelations of these two are manifestation. The ratio of activity governs spiritual development; when the great Force has gained its full momentum, It carries us to the borders of the Unknown. It is a force intelligent, self- conscious, and spiritual: Its lower forms, or vehicles, or correlates may be evoked by us, but Itself comes only of its own volition. We can only prepare a vehicle for It, in which, as Behmen says, "the Holy Ghost may ride in Its own chariot. 17

Meditation States- As regards the practices of concentration suggested in this letter, they are only stages in a life-long contemplation; they are means to an end, means of a certain order among means of other orders, all necessary, the highest path being that of constant devotion and entire resignation to the Law. The above means have a physiological value because the spots suggested for contemplation are, like others, vital centers. Excitation of these centers, and of the magnetic residue of breath always found in them strengthens and arouses the faculties of the inner man, the magnetic vehicle of the soul and the link between matter and spirit. This is a form of words necessary for clearness, because in reality matter and spirit are one. We may better imagine an infinite series of force correlation which extend from pure Spirit to its grossest vehicle, and we may say that the magnetic inner vehicle, or astral man, stands at the half-way point of the scale. The secret of the circulation of the nervous fluid is hidden in these vital centers, and he who discovers it can use the body at will. Moreover, this practice trains the mind to remain in its own principle, without energizing, and without exercising its tangential force, which is so hard to overcome. Thought has a self-reproductive power, and when the mind is held steadily to one idea it becomes colored by it, and, as we may say, all the correlates of that thought arise within the mind. Hence the mystic obtains knowledge about any object of which he thinks constantly in fixed contemplation. Here is the rationale of Krishna's words: "Think constantly of me; depend on me alone; and thou shalt surely come unto me." 18

Meditation States - Arouse; arouse in you the meaning of "Thou art That." Thou art the Self. This is the thing to think of in meditation, and if you believe it then tell others the same. You have read it before, but now try to realize it more and more each day and you will have the light you want…If you will look for wisdom you will get it sure, and that is all you want or need. Am glad all looks well. It would alwayslook well if each and all minded their own things and kept the mind free from all else. 19

Meditation States- But best of all is to become part of the spiritual pabulum by which Humanity lives, and the very first step on the path that leads to this stupendous result is meditation; in other words, the detachment from all the ephemeral interests of life, - which detachment displays itself by perfect equanimity in good and evil fortune, the centering of all thought on the Supreme, until thought itself drops off and the soul is face to face with Deity…When the self as we understand it is annihilated, when the soul has been able to endure the transcendent vision of Itself as Deity, when difference no longer exists and the one is merged in the All, the store-house of spiritual energy is thereby replenished, and all Humanity receives an impulse that raises them a step nearer the Divine Union also, - nay further, the Divine impulse after passing through man descends to vivify the lower creation. The whole Universe is thrilled by it! 20

A MEDITATION- So much hate there is in the world these days; I thought how I could rise above it all, even but for a moment, to see if hate or love is real. For it came to me that all thing and beings are sustained on and by the Great Breath. I breathe with the movement of the earth and stars; I breathe with the pulsation of the ocean in calm or storm; I breathe with the soughing of the pines or crash of tempest in the forest; I breathe with the song of birds, joyous in the springtime, or raucous as they strike for prey. I breathe with tigers stalking in the jungle, as with the ants and bees. I breathe with the imperceptible fine breath of babes, and with the wheeze of tottering men. I breathe with the breath of saints, and with criminals and outcasts. Though I can not speak their tongue, I breathe with the brown men of southern seas, and stolid men of the Far North. I breathe with the breath of republics and of tyrannies, of the great, the grasping, the long visionary, the shortsighted. I breathe with those who love peace, and with those who give themselves to war. How, then can I hate?

When the Great Breath is once more in-drawn, the hates will be no more; tyrannies, harsh judgments; injustices will be no more. But the rhythm of the Great Breath will hold all in the boundless union, which is Love. This is the Real. And there are, here and now, Beings in the world who breathe that universal Breath of Love to all men. To see what They see, to know what They know, is to cease to hate any thing or creature upon this earth.

So do I come to find peace in my own heart - for a moment? Surely, there'll be other moments; then, hours; then, days; and then - a life! 21

1. Mavalankar, Damodar K., "Contemplation" Five Years of Theosophy (pp 47-8)
2. GM, "The Elixir of Life" Five Years of Theosophy (p 21)
3. "Some Words on Meditation," Theosophy Magazine, Vol. 17
4. Dalai Lama, "Ethics for A Secular Millennium," Tricycle Fall, 2001 (p 56)
5. Judge, William Q, Letters That Have Helped Me (p 121)
6. Crosbie, Robert, The Friendly Philosopher pp 13-14
7. Judge, William Q, Letters That Have Helped Me (p 175)
8. Judge, William Q. Letters That Have Helped Me (p 112)
9. Judge, William Q. Letters That Have Helped Me (p 115)
10. Crosbie, Robert, The Friendly Philosopher p. 21
11. Crosbie, Robert, The Friendly Philosopher p. 93
12. Judge, William Q. Letters That Have Helped Me (p. 29)
13. Judge, William Q. Theosophical Articles, "Meditation, Concentration, Will"
14. Judge, William Q. Theosophical Articles, "Mental Discipline."
15. Judge, William Q. Letters That Have Helped Me (p 108)
16. Judge, William Q. Letters That Have Helped Me (p 7)
17. Judge, William Q. Letters That Have Helped Me (p 31)
18. Judge, William Q. Letters That Have Helped Me (p 30)
19. Judge, William Q. Letters That Have Helped Me (p 126)
20. Judge, William Q. Theosophy Magazine Vol. 1"Meditation and Action"
21. "A Meditation," Theosophy Magazine, Vol. 29


Reed Carson

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