Lesson III - Meditation
Before we begin the study of this lesson we shall have a short resume of the preceding lessons. You will remember that we said that we were dividing these instructions into four parts. The first, relaxation, deals with the body and gives directions for physical training. The second, concentration, relates to the mind and its nature and concerns mental training. The third, which we take up in this lesson, is meditation. Meditation induces a union of the mental and the spiritual.
Through the results that we have attained in our practice of the first two lessons we are, as a logical sequence, merging into the next, or third, degree of this process of soul unfoldment. Constructive meditation is of very great importance to us. Man cannot know God aright without meditation upon Him and upon His purpose in relation to man and upon man's place in His divine plan.
We have not trained our minds to obey as they should; when we now try to concentrate on a definite subject, that we may extract from it its inmost substance, we find that extraneous thoughts intrude. We have also found that under consistent and continuous training, the mind accepts and acts upon our mental suggestion and readily obeys.
To learn how to meditate effectively is to acquire a valuable ability. Through meditation we contact the Christ mind. Meditation is the great middle ground between concentration and realization and it is necessary to both.
Beginning as we have been instructed, we shall for five minutes still the activity of the nerves and the muscles of the body in relaxation. Then we shall take up the next step, concentration.
As we come into the mental phase of our practice in the way of meditation, we shall hold our minds steadily focused on our chosen word, "omnipresence." Let us not think about it or wonder what it means, but simply hold the word in mind with fixed attention. If at first we have to repeat the word over and over, let us do so until we have brought our attention under control and have made it absolutely subject to our wills.
What is the meaning of the word "meditate"? Our dictionaries tell us that it means "to keep the mind in a state of contemplation."
Now, without any break go right on into the new lesson on meditation and begin to contemplate or reflect on the word "omnipresence." We shall ask ourselves what this word means to us and what we really understand by it. Let us begin to analyze the word and seek to get from it all that it may hold, for words are but shells containing certain forms of substance. We know that the indwelling presence of the Spirit of wisdom will reveal itself to us and will make known the meaning and the purpose of omnipresence. Divide the word into two parts. Omni means all, nothing but the all, allness; presence means a state of being present, at hand, within reach or call; omnipresence means present in all places at the same time, no other presence, nothing ever present but God, who is within us, and all about us, for "in Him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28). He is All-presence, the presence of Spirit, our Source, our God; there can be no other abiding and eternal presence.
We are told that "out of it [the heart] are the issues of life" (Prov. 4:23). Within the innermost depths of the consciousness, of the soul, we contact this one Presence and feel its power. This is not a sensation but it is the inner knowing that we call feeling, quietly taking possession of us. Omnipresence is the one presence; it is the union of wisdom and love, and it is within us.
We shall take up this exercise in meditation: Omnipresence, manifest thyself in me that I may know thee, that I may feel thee, that I may be thee.
"As he thinketh within himself, so is he" (Prov. 23:7). We become like that upon which we dwell in thought. If we turn our thoughts to the things of Spirit, refusing to let material matters govern us, we begin to manifest in appearance the beauty of the divine character which is being formed in us through thinking divinely. Former ideas pass from mind and we are as new creatures in the new world of dynamic spiritual thought. In this new world we attain realization of things that are eternal.
Meditation upon our innate divinity, with a strong desire to live as befits a child of God, raises us into higher spiritual realms of thought, where we contact God and realize our oneness with Him. This realization is an eternal state of consciousness.
Carrie Moss Hawley says: "The reason meditation is so important is that the mind must be lifted out of its old ways of thinking and placed in the new, and only by continuous effort can this be accomplished. You know certain things are true. You should not think of them as in the experimental stage. Begin to use them as known forces that will produce certain results beyond question."
We readily perceive how these separate steps in meditation merge into one another in orderly sequence. In our next and final lesson, "Realization," we shall note the place occupied in our spiritual unfoldment by each of the first three degrees in knowing God. Meditation is the union of the mental and the spiritual activities of the soul, but in realization we become more and more conscious of the Christ mind in us. We find that each time we engage in the practice of the methods of meditation, the way becomes easier and results are more satisfactory because we are diligently and intelligently applying what we have learned.
Practice makes perfect. By practice we shall be able to center our thoughts just where we want them to be. We shall be able to analyze words, or groups of words, in meditation until we have appropriated the intent of the words and have finished thinking about them.
The power to know now becomes active and fills the consciousness with the knowledge derived through meditation. Knowledge becomes a reality in the entire man. Through realization the knowledge gained in meditation becomes fixed in consciousness. In realization we know that this work is done. The result abides in the soul as increasing power and joy in living. Through realization we come to know the inner quietness where we are bidden to "be still, and know that I am God" (Psalms 46:10). Without practicing the silence and meditation no man can really know God, whom to know aright is life eternal.