Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation.
Meditation & Life, with Sw. Chinmayananda (Gurudev).
We are now exploring the writings of Gurudev on our focus subject of Meditation. The book is a thorough treatment of the subject and extends to over 170 pages of closely printed text. No attempt is intended, here, to present the text in its entirety. However, important paragraphs and quotes will be given, within a summary of each section. You are encouraged to use the links on sidebar to obtain a copy for yourselves from CM publications. Please remember that each of the posts under this title is part of a thought flow and it is important to go back and read the previous post in order to refresh and review the context.
The Subtle Body.
As you withdraw attention from the external, through the technique of complete and conscious relaxation, the attention, to a large extent, is also taken from the body. Even when relaxation is not total there is a sense of peace. Getting away from the field of the body is achieved by consciously entering the mental and intellectual zones. When the mind/intellect is fully engaged, the body puts up with much. Even the most luxury-loving person, on the eve of election to public office, will ignore privations and exhaustion as his enthusiasm to win the election permits them to live more intensely in the mental and intellectual fields.
Engage yourself more and more intensely in your mental and intellectual fields. You will find that body consciousness does drop away. Meditation upon the Lord's form and repetition of his name (japa) are techniques by which the spiritual seeker becomes more and more fixed in his subtle body and thus experiences oblivion - at least for a time - to the body and its surroundings.
Vedantic texts consider the subtle body to function in four different aspects. First the subtle body is called the mind when it operates in the field of doubts and feelings. It is called intellect when the subtle body functions as the firm, discriminating and analytical factor. We all know our thoughts, and we see that from moment to moment we make judgements on every mental issue. The illuminating aspect in the metal zone, the factor which permits us the 'seeing' of our thoughts, is called 'chitta'. Further, even if the thoughts and the intellectual decisions are illumined, they cannot give us a comprehensive experience of the whole unless they have a bond of synthesis. Every one of us is conscious our status as a thinking, individual, that the thoughts belong to a 'me' and not another person. This common denominator is vanity and calls things with ownership; "I"ness and "my"ness; and this fourth part of the subtle body is referred to as ego (ahankaara).
Thus the subtle body functions on four levels and has four different names according to its function and give the individuality of the jiiva. Similarly, in spite of all these different functions, there is a unity of the four which causes them to appear as a single unit.
With this preliminary knowledge of the structure of the subtle body, we can learn to understand how to engage ourselves in the subtle to the exclusion of the gross. The methods advised by the great religions of the world all help us to live more fully in our mental and intellectual sheaths. A direct approach to the mental zone is through the path of devotion (bhakti). The most effective path for the intellectual zone is the path of Knowledge (jnaana). The logic behind these two techniques is the same, since to control the mind is to control the intellect.
If your nature is predominantly emotional, you can learn to surrender your ego at the feet of the Lord through bhakti. A devoted mind finds fullness when it is totally engaged in thoughts of God and not distracted by sense objects. At that moment of concentration, the external world disperses.
The final goal is the same when the intellect, through philosophical contemplation, reaches the maximum heights of thought. There, the intellect renounces all its flutterings and composes itself into a tranquil stillness full of awareness. An intellect thus made still is an intellect transcended and, as with the mind, beyond the intellect is the Eternal Truth.
To say mind is transcended is to say that the intellect, chitta and ego have been transcended. To declare that the intellect has been crossed is to say that the mind has been conquered and the ego also. The transcendence of one is the transcendence of all. The process of meditation is the process by which transcendence is achieved. When this knowledge is translated into practice, one gradually becomes established in the subtle body. Seekers wanting to live the life of meditation must seek a program of activity in the meditation seat that will establish them more firmly in the subtle and gain the necessary withdrawal from the gross.