A YOGA OF LIGHT


by Geoffrey Hodson

1955 Revised Edition

The Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Chennai [Madras], India

Voluntarily imprisoned within you as Light
is an omnipotent Power.

Set it free.

Let the Light shine


INTRODUCTION

At the heart of the Cosmos there is One. That One has Its sanctuary and shrine in the heart of every human being. Man's first major spiritual discovery in consciousness is of this Divine Presence within him, "the Inner Ruler Immortal seated in the hearts of all beings" (The Bhagavad Gitâ) Thereafter, identity with the One Alone, fully conscious absorption "like water in water, space in space, light in light" (Âtma-Bodha, Shankarâcharya) for evermore in the eternal, self-existent All, is achieved. This is man's ultimate goal. Regular, wisely directed meditation can hasten its attainment.

The first objective in meditation is to discover one's own Spiritual Selfhood as distinct from the personal vehicles, physical, emotional and mental, and the consciousness active within them. Devotees of a certain temperament — others might not be helped by this method — begin, therefore, with an exercise in dissociation, seeking both to realise the distinction between the Immortal Ego and its mortal, personal vehicles and to know the Spiritual Self. To know the knower may appear impossible to the analytical mind. The seeming paradox is, however, resolved at the level of the synthesising and intuitive intelligence in man, his prophetic mind, to which in meditation the centre of consciousness is deliberately raised.

The second objective is to realise that the Spiritual Self of man is forever an integral part of the Spiritual Self of the Universe. Man is one with God and through That with all that lives. Man-Spirit and God-Spirit are one Spirit, and to know this truth of truths transforms life.

The discovery of the God head within one and its unity with the Godhead in all, these two discoveries are experiences in consciousness and the positive use of the creative imagination in meditation can help one to gain those experiences.

The dissociation practice is therefore followed by affirmations of the unity of man with God. These affirmations can lead the devotee into silent contemplation and deepening experience of unity with the all-pervading and transcendent Deity, the nameless, self-less, One Alone.

Spiritual achievement by one man makes easier and brings nearer the same achievement by all men. Realisation of this fact provides part of the motive in yoga. The would-be yogi is, however, also insistently inwardly impelled; for him or her "there is no other Path at all to go". (Shvetâshvatara Upanishad, VI, 15).

This document is offered as preliminary guidance — eventually each finds his own way — to those thus moved who seek systematic procedure in consciousness by a well-tried and safe method.

A METHOD OF PERSONAL AND GROUP MEDITATION

Group meditation is directed with suitable pauses by a leader as follows:

PREPARATION

Body relaxed.

Emotions harmonised.

Min alert and charged with will.

Centre of awareness established in the Higher Self, the Spiritual Soul, The Immortal Ego.

DISSOCIATION

Mentally affirm and realise:

I am not the Physical Body.
I am the Spiritual Self.

I am not the Emotions.
I am the Spiritual Self.

I am not the Mind.
I am the Spiritual Self.

MEDITATION

I am the Divine Self (Think of the Monad)

Immortal

Eternal

Radiant with Spiritual Light.

I am that Self of Light, that Self am I.

The Self in me, the Âtma [ Âtma, Sanskrit. The Spiritual-Essence of man ], is one with the Self in All, the Param-âtma. [Paramâtma, Sanskrit. The Spirit-Essence of the universe]

I am that Self in All; that Self am I.

The Âtma and the Paramâtma, are one.

I am THAT . THAT am I.

CLOSING

Bring the centre of awareness:

Into the formal mind, illumined and responsive to the intuition.

Into the emotions,irradiated by Spiritual Light.

Into the body, empowered by Spiritual Will, inwardly vitalised, and Self-recollected throughout the day, remembering the Divine Presence in the heart, the Inner Ruler Immortal, seated in the hearts of all beings.

Relax the mind and permit the uplifting effect of the meditation to extend into all the other activities of the day.


The same procedure should be followed in private, self-directed meditation.


 

COMMENTARY ON THE MEDITATION

Two objectives are sought in meditation:

1) Egoic consciousness.

2) Realisation of oneness with the Supreme Lord and Life of the Universe.

This achievement is governed by certain fixed laws which must be obeyed, if full success is to be obtained.

1) Physically they are:

a) Privacy and freedom from intrusion

b) Complete bodily relaxation, without which the consciousness cannot wholly free itself from entanglement in the physical brain and body. So, deliberately, as a regular practice and an art, every nerve and every muscle should be completely relaxed and the body be comfortable and at ease.

Relaxation is to meditation what the engagement of the first two hooks of the zipper is to its closure. If the first two hooks engage, it will zip. If they do not engage, it will never zip. Similarly, physical relaxation is essential to the flight of the Soul.

(c) Breathing should be slowed down to about one third or one half of the normal rate. This generally becomes automatic as the meditation proceeds.

(d) Posture during meditation should permit added measures of kundalinî [Kundalinî, Sanskrit. The electric, creative Life-Force resident in the Sacrum ] and prâna [ Prâna, Sanskrit. The Life-Breath of the universe ] to flow from the sacrum along the spinal cord into the brain. The spine, therefore, should be kept straight and, except in eastern yoga postures, neither legs nor arms should be crossed. The Egyptian position is very suitable for Westerners. Head-pain is one warning of error in technique which should be corrected before continuing.

2) The astral nature needs to be harmonious and calm. Friction, tension and discordant emotions can also prevent the flight of the Soul and inhibit the freedom of consciousness.

3) The mind must be alert, the will must be positive, otherwise a kind of dreamy imaginativeness can be mistaken for spiritual experience, of which it is the antithesis.


By these means the triple, personal nature is brought to a condition in which its imprisonment of consciousness is reduced to a minimum. This is not sufficient, however, and consciousness must deliberately free itself. The practice of dissociation from them therefore follows the preparation of the bodies. This is directed as follows:

“The Centre of Awareness is Established din the Higher Self, the Spiritual Soul, the Immortal Ego.

“Mentally affirm and realise:

“I am not the Physical Body.
     I am the Spiritual Self.

“I am not the Emotions.
     I am the Spiritual Self.

“I am not the Mind.
     I am the Spiritual Self. ”

At this point, in creative imagination the centre of observation, awareness, I-ness, is withdrawn from the physical brain and centred in the Ego. [ Ego. The unfolding, spiritual individuality ] Similarly, also, the consciousness is withdrawn from the emotional and mental bodies and centred in the Causal Body. [ Causal Body. The vehicle of consciousness at the level of abstract thought ]

This procedure may later become un-necessary.

Regular practice with full intent and determination, allowing the positive imagination to have full play, will transfer the whole concentration of awareness and existence from the mortal to the immortal man, to the Ego in the Causal Body.

There then follows an attempted ascent towards the Monad, aspiring to reach Âtmic consciousness.

THE LEADER CONTINUES

“I am the Divine Self (Manas)

     IMMORTAL, (Buddhi) [ Buddhi, Sanskrit. The Spirit-Life of universe and man. Intuitive wisdom]

     ETERNAL ” (Âtma)

Realisation of the Self as pure Spiritual Will (Âtma) is here the objective.

“RADIANT WITH SPIRITUAL LIGHT.”

It is helpful to think of oneself as centre of pure, white light, radiating throughout the universe. Identifying oneself fully in consciousness with that light, the devotee affirms:

“I AM that Self of Light.
That Self am I.”

Regular practice by this method eventually enables one to achieve this transference of consciousness from physical, emotional and mental levels to higher mental, intuitional and purely spiritual states of awareness.

The Self is then realised as a radiant centre of universal, spiritual light, concentrated into a point of burning intensity, much as sunlight may be focused by a lens into a point of brilliant light.

Movement in consciousness towards the second objective in meditation then follows. This culminates in realisation of the unity of the Spiritual Self as Light with the One Light, with the Supreme, All-Pervading Spirit of the Universe.

Concentration and meditation upon the Âtmic Self merges into absorbed contemplation of union with the Param-âtma, the Transcendent and Immanent Âtmic Self of All.

THE LEADER THEREFORE CONTINUES:

“The Self in Me, the Âtma, is one with the Self in All, the Paramâtma.”

Here, according to temperament, consciousness is directed towards realisation of the identity of the Âtma, the Spirit-Self in man, with the Paramâtma, the Spirit-Self in all Nature. One may visualise the spiritual heart of the Sun and oneself as in union therewith.

“The words “The Âtma and the Paramâtma are One”, constitute a somewhat mantric [ Mantra, Sanskrit. Word or sentence of power.] phrase despite the mixture of English and Sanskrit. It is a sentence of power which defines the summit of human attainment in consciousness, which is full realisation of unity and identity with the One Self in All.

In consequence, the final affirmation is:

“I am That. That am I.”

The sense of separated selfhood eventually vanishes. Prolonged, thought-free realisation of identity with God ultimately alone remains.

After the preliminary stages of yoga, the formal mind is stilled and is thereafter maintained in “that fixity of mind in which no breeze can waft an earthly thought within”. Thought ceases. Stillness pervades the whole nature, which can become steeped in peace, even though immense expansion and dynamic power are being experienced at the highest, most spiritual levels of human awareness.

As much time as can be spared should then be spent in mind-free contemplation of unity with God, and through Him or That with the Spirit-Self in all that lives.

THE RETURN TO PHYSICAL AWARENESS:

When, at last, meditation must cease, it is important to return to the brain consciousness by the same route followed on the upward journey. One reason for this is that channels between the lower self and the Higher Self are being opened by concentrated effort, and should be used in both the ascend and the return of consciousness; for by this means they are both widened and kept opened.

Another reason for returning through the mental and emotional bodies is that it is eminently desirable to bring the full fruits of spiritual experience into the personal vehicles, thereby enlightening and purifying them and quickening their evolution. This is a third objective in meditation, to quicken the evolution of the bodies of mind, emotion and flesh by a powerful “descent” [ Diagrammatically only; actually an emergence from within outwards occurs.] of spiritual force and experience.

THE CENTRE OF AWARENESS:

It is important to discover one's centre of awareness and the level at which it is operating, as also to be able to place it in any one of the vehicles at will. If a piece of work demands operation from the mental level, one must be able to function there. If one's actual presence in the astral plane and body is needed, then one must be able to focus oneself there. We generally do this last unconsciously. Intellectual interests place the centre of awareness in the mind and the brain. Cultural, artistic and pleasure-giving pursuits focus it automatically in the emotion and the heart.

Success in meditation demands good control of this movement of one's centre of life and consciousness. The process, therefore, is deliberately practised and forms part of this method of meditation. When closing the yoga practice, awareness is strongly centred in the mental body, into which the light from the higher worlds is powerfully brought, and the mind is thrown open to the intuition. This is possible because thoughts are things. We powerfully quicken the evolution of our personal vehicles by thus infusing and inter-penetrating them with Spirit-Power from those levels to which we have sought to ascend.

THE LEADER THEREFORE SAYS:

”Bring the Centre of Awareness into the formal Mind, illumined, and responsive to Intuition.”

After a suitable pause, the instruction then is:

“Into the Emotions, Irradiated by Spiritual Light.”

By a strong effort of will, a shaft of pure white âtmic fire is brought down from above, to transfix the astral body as by a spear. Such spiritualisation of the astral body causes the coarser material and the undesirable emotional states to be given out by the more powerful, spiritual forces. This is part of the meaning of such glyphs as St. George slaying the Dragon with his spear, and Shrî Krishna overcoming Kâliya, the black serpent, and then dancing upon its hood, as also of all other victories by Saviours and heroes over reptiles referred to in other World Scriptures. These stories partly represent phases of yoga dramatised and pictorially described.

Then, finally, awareness is focused in the physical body. This should be done quite deliberately, placing the centre of consciousness in the middle of the head, where it normally abides. The powers of the triple Self are then brought down into the body, the leader saying:

“Into the Body, empowered by Spiritual Will.”

The fire of the Âtma is thus established in the body as an irresistible Will-Force, available in waking consciousness.

“Inwardly Vitalised.”

At these words, the Buddhic Life, the One Life, the spiritual Prâna, is visualised as flooding and filling the whole physical body, which may then be thought of as charged with its golden life and light, vividly alive, often with much benefit to health.

The Higher Mind, then applies control to the lower mind, to the emotions and to the body. These are to be:

“Self-Recollected Throughout the Day. ”

meaning calm, posed, mindful, rooted in the Eternal. To bring this about, the closing words and thought are:

“Remembering the Divine Presence in the Heart, the Inner Ruler Immortal, seated in the Hearts of all Beings.”

This Presence is the Monad-Ego, the Spirit-Self, present in the heart, not only of oneself, but of all beings. In itself, this practice of self-recollection is quietening and peace-giving; it keeps the consciousness centred in interior reality and never wholly absorbed in the external, transitory world.

One should not break or emerge from meditation suddenly, lest there be a shock to the nervous system and a quick casting aside and partial loss of the inner experience. This should always be avoided, and one should withdraw gradually from the meditative state before taking up the duties of the day. In their fulfilment, the daily life should conform as closely as possible to the accepted spiritual ideals.

 


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