Meditation upon The Presence
(Volume 1 - Pages 390-392)
Much has for ages been said and written anent the practice of the Presence of God and today one of the interesting events of the time is the emergence of various "techniques" for achieving the realisation of this Presence, of inspiration, of light and of contact.
I will put to you three questions:
1. What do you understand by the thought of the Presence? Of Whom and what is this Presence?
2. What is it that prevents contact with that Presence and hinders you from standing in its light?
3. Can you draw up a technique of meditation which will be for you the way into the Presence?
Answer these three questions and realise that for you the contact with that Presence—consciously and with understanding of the process—is the goal for the remainder of your life experience in this particular body. I seek for no mystical understanding. That type of theoretical understanding is the heritage of most aspirants. They have the vision of this contact. I seek a definite comprehension and I give you the clue to the work in the following sentences which (if subjected to due thought) may induce revelation.
"Duality is visioned by the seer. He sees the Presence.
He sees, and seeing knows that he exists and likewise that which is seen.
"The knower blends the two in one. He sees the Presence as himself. He merges with its light. Behind the Presence gleams that awful radiance which shrouds the One and Only.
Before the Presence stands the aspirant.
Within the Presence, through the merging process, is peace, is union,
the end of fear, the end of difference, joy, love and light."
Your meditation, therefore, is to be along these lines. The form you can draw up yourself during the next few months. The theme will emerge in your consciousness if you move slowly, ponder deeply and feel no sense of pressure. Revelation will come through quiet thought and daily brooding.
There has been in your mind much thought in these past months anent the practice of the Presence. This is well, for that is the objective that I had in mind for you.
It is said that "thoughts are things" and produce tangible results. It is also said that "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he" and that, therefore, these tangible thought manifestations definitely produce effects in him. In these ancient platitudes lie, for you, much instruction, much light and understanding and the clue to your immediate problem. What is the situation, my brother? You, a soul in incarnation, are consciously aware of the fact—subjectively and ofttimes dimly sensed—of your real Self, of the solar Angel, who is the Angel of the Presence.
Your problem is to deepen this realisation, and to know yourself to be the Angel, standing between you, the physical plane man, and the Presence. It might elucidate matters if we considered for a moment what reality is represented by that word Presence.
The mystic is ever aware of duality; of the lower man and the indwelling soul; of the tired disciple and the Angel; of the little self and the real Self; of human life expression and of spiritual life expression. Many other qualities stand for the same expression of reality. But, behind them all looms—immanent, stupendous, and glorious—that of which these dualities are but the aspects: the Presence, immanent yet transcendent, of Deity. In the nature of this One, all dualities are absorbed and all distinctions and differences lose their meaning.
When you are told to develop the consciousness of the Presence, it indicates, first of all, that you are at this time somewhat aware of the Angel and can now begin to respond, dimly and faintly, to that great Whole which lies behind the subjective world of being, as that world lies behind the physical, tangible world of everyday life.
A symbol of this can be seen in the knowledge that the entire planet lies outside of the room in which you are pondering my words and is only separated from you by the window and the extent of your conscious awareness. The outer universe of the planet, the solar system and the starry heavens, lies revealed to you through that sheet of glass which reveals, if clean and unveiled, but which acts as a barrier to vision, if soiled or hidden by a blind. This and your ability to project yourself into the immensity of the universe, governs the extent of your knowledge at any given time. Think this out, my brother, and look through the window of the mind to that Light which reveals the Angel which, in its turn, veils and hides the vast unknown, yet alive and vibrant, Deity.
This practice of the Presence can be dealt with in so many different ways and there are many techniques of contact. For you, the practice should connote simplicity, peace, and joy. Cultivate simplicity of thought and remember that bewilderment and undue concern as to conditions and people and a puzzled attitude towards life indicate mind activity but not soul understanding.
It is soul activity towards which you should strive.
You are a sannyasin and as such must work towards an increasing release from ties of any kind, though (and herein lies a subtle distinction) not from release from environing conditions and responsibilities. What is required is an inner attitude of complete abandon to the will of your soul which is the Will of God, as far as any individual is concerned. This release will give you much that I have waited to see expressed in your life.
To assist you in the continuance of the theme upon which you have been engaged in the past months, I am going to ask you to ponder over and answer the following questions. You have a life tendency to over-emphasise detail and points of procedure with meticulous care and so sometimes lose sight of the synthesis of the whole.
The questions are:
1. To recognise the Presence, I must stand free and unattached. To what and to whom am I now
attached in such a way that I am prevented from clear vision and closer approach?
2. To recognise the Presence, I must function as the solar Angel. Can I, at this time, discriminate
between myself and that solar Angel?
3. To recognise the Presence means that I am preparing to pass, as a solar Angel, through the gate,
on to the Path of Initiation. Can I, in view of this, state clearly to myself what are my major assets
and my major weaknesses?
4. Can I define clearly within myself what I understand by:
a. Myself, the disciple.
b. Myself, the Angel.
c. The Presence.
The first three questions can be answered or not in writing exactly as you choose; you may find them too personal and confidential to commit to writing. If you find this to be so, then on the first day on which the Sun moves northward, answer these questions in my presence and to me, your brother and your teacher. Deal with them clearly and with truth, voicing your answers aloud so that you can hear your voice, and thus pay adequate attention to your position and attitude. The fourth and fifth questions please answer in writing and elucidate as clearly as may be.
5. Elucidate the following phrases, taken from a very ancient writing. I suggest that you ponder them with care.
"Before the throne of God, the angel, with all the other angels, stood and cried: `Lord of my life, grant me the strength to tread the path of revelation; to cross the sea of dark illusion, and face the lighted way of earth.' God said: `Go forth and far away.'
"Before the gate which opens on the lighted way to peace, the angel stood alone and said: `Lord of my life, the way of revelation is the way of manifested life: the path of dark illusion leads to the light which scatters every shadow. I seek to tread the lighted way which leads back to thy Presence. As yet that way is dark. What shall I do?' God said, `Draw near and enter into thine own light, and in that light, see Light.'
"Before the gateway of each newborn day, which holds within its sealed hours ordered responsibility, each morn I stand. I cry aloud: `Lord of my life, how can I do the duty of this day yet seek detachment? Meet every need yet free myself from ties and bonds?' God said: `The sun draws near and vivifies the earth. Naught can it take from out the earth. Live likewise. Give and ask naught!'"