Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation homepage > Notebooks of Paul Brunton > Category 2: Overview of Practices Involved > Chapter 4: Practise Mental Discipline
Practise Mental Discipline
The aspirant must begin by examining himself, by enquiring into the honesty or dishonesty, the impartiality or partiality of his views, beliefs, and judgements, by questioning how much or how little his will is enslaved by passion, appetite, or instinct. For the average aspirant sets up inner resistance to that purification of his emotions, passions, egoisms, prejudices, intellectualizations, desires, and hatred which would permit him to reflect the undistorted truth. Emotional tensions and mental strains which cause inner suffering have first to be brought out into the open and resolved before he can approach truth in the atmosphere of tranquillity which she requires. The mental knots and passional complexes which exist within his personality, whether near the surface or deep out of sight, must be dealt with and dissolved before he can come at the truth. It is the conscious or unconscious forces, these obvious or unrecognized impulses that drive him into deeds hurtful to society and discouraging to himself. The complexes which dominate his mind and influence his beliefs must be brought into the open by the philosophic discipline. He must know where, psychologically, he stands. The desires and fears which operate in the subconscious can then be evaluated, developed, or discarded. He should seek to understand his own character, to perceive impartially its merits and demerits. On the basis of such self-understanding, he should root out persistently those faults which hinder progress.
To wade into the welter of modern materialistic metropolitan life and attempt to turn it to an inner purpose, is not so brave or beautiful as sitting down and cultivating one's soul despite the world's opinion.
There is no computerized program for this inner work. In a sense one has to feel his way, to try this procedure and that, to catch rare unexpected moments of sacred visitation and let them in, to think more deeply than ever before.
The machinery and the method, the technique and the process tend to become all-important in our eyes; but the truth is that the attitude and ideal, the spirit and heart behind them are even more important.
All quests involve some travelling, the periodical shift from one point to another. The spiritual quest involves constant intellectual travelling, but only a single important shift--that from the ego's standpoint to the Overself's.
What is the Overself waiting for, so long and so patiently? For our willingness to die in the ego that It may live in us. So soon as we make the signs of this willingness, by acceptance of each opportunity to achieve this destruction of egoism, the influx of new life begins to penetrate the vacated place.
Whatever helps to reduce the predominant influence of the ego helps his quest. Where the whole area of consciousness is taken up by it, attrition of the area is more important than the particular means used to secure it.
He should take the attitudes he has inherited by the accident of birth, the views he has acquired from the suggestions of environment, the beliefs he has accepted through tradition and instruction and deliberately and attentively submit them all to the searching light of these universal and eternal truths. It may be that social necessity will prevent him from applying some or even all the results of his enquiry, but for the sake of his own inner integrity this must be done.
On the battlefield of his heart where noble and ignoble emotions struggle repeatedly for dominion, he will find one part of his quest. In the self-absorbed thoughts of introspection, he will find another.
The philosopher considers from time to time both the painful and pleasurable events which are likely to happen to him as a human being and imaginatively prepares in advance what his proper reaction to them should be. The profit of this practice lies not only in the better handling of these foreseen events, but also in the better attitude with which he is able to handle unforeseen ones.
Let him face the fact that if he is seeking the Overself with one part of his being, he is also seeking his own ego with the other. He wants his desires satisfied and also wants That which is desireless at one and the same time. He is trying to walk in two different directions. One or the other must go.
It is from life and experience, events and books, nature and art, intuition and meditation that he is to gain incentive for ennobled thought and get inspiration for ennobled conduct.
He needs to become possessed by the feeling and magnetized by the belief that he has to get at least some brief glimpses of mystic light before the darkness descends.
In the effacement of his own egoism, brought about by a double discipline--first, the constant shaping of the character and second, learning to live in the deepest silence of meditation--he will allow the Overself to act within and through him.
You will make fate and free will find a fortunate conjunction if you are determined to do your utmost and yet to yield to the Overself.
Each time he attempts to deny the responsibility he bears for his own troubles and to shift it onto other people's shoulders, he makes the repeated appearance of those troubles in his life a certainty. For the inner causes still remain.
Nothing which will help him in his strivings toward illumination should be neglected.
Yes, the kingdom of heaven is certainly to be brought down and established on earth. But the meaning of Jesus was not social; it was individual. Each man is to establish it within his own sphere, within his own feelings thoughts and acts.
What does getting rid of the ego's dominance mean? Until we see this clearly, we shall not see what effort we have to make to achieve it. First, it means constant training to regard ourself and our fortunes as coolly, disinterestedly, and impartially as we regard other men and their fortunes. Second, it means constant vigilance to keep out the distorting, befogging, and perverting interference of personal habits of thought and feeling. It is the blind following of these tendencies of our nature, accumulated since a far past, that makes up most of the ego's life. Third, it means constant practice in repressing thoughts and emotions while cultivating mental stillness.
You are yourself your biggest problem. You cannot hand it over to anyone else, be he saviour or master, and escape from it, except in delusive imagination or in erroneous belief.
The vain man, the stupid man, or the lustful man cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. He must first be humble enough to silence the ego, intuitive enough to expose its deception, and strong enough to overcome its desires.
Although the intellectual study of metaphysical doctrine and mystical teaching is the least part of the fourfold path, still it is a valuable part.
Watching his daily conduct and reviewing it in retrospect is not less needful than practising meditation.
The place where you are, the people who surround you, the problems you encounter, and the happenings that take place just now--all have their special meaning for you. They come about under the law of recompense as well as under the particular needs of your spiritual growth. Study them well but impersonally, egolessly, and adjust your reactions accordingly. This will be hard and perhaps even unpalatable, yet it is the certain way to solving all your problems. This is what Jesus meant when he declared, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." This is that crucifixion of the ego which is true Christianity and which leads directly to the resurrection in the reality of the Overself. Regard your worst, most irritating trouble as the voice of your Overself. Try to hear what It says. Try to remove the obstructions It is pointing to within yourself. Look on this special ordeal, this particular trial, as having the most important significance in your own spiritual growth. The more crushing it is, the more effort is being made to draw you nearer to the Overself. At every point of your life, from one event, situation, contact to another, the Infinite Intelligence provides you with the means of growth, if only you will get out of the egoistic rut and take them.
Constant association with the wise, frequent hearing of discussions and statements about truth, gradually tend to the practice of philosophy, to the supersession of the personal and the passionate, and to the displacements of the old materialistic habits of thought.
He is always ready to revise his methods, habits, dogmas, because he is always ready to learn by experience.
Do not be so rigidly closed in by your practical affairs and personal relations. Open your soul to the admiration of Nature, the high flights of art, and above all, to stillness.
His work is to prepare the ground and sow the seed; Nature will do the rest. That is to say, he is to arrange the favourable physical circumstances and the proper psychological concentration in which inspiration can most easily be born.
To work diligently for a glimpse of the Overself is to put human energy to its best use.
We cannot live in the achievements of other men alone, however inspiring: our business is with ourselves. There is work to be done by ourselves for ourselves.
If he blames other men for his troubles, he thereby confesses his egoism. If he blames conditions as being their cause, he confesses his weakness. Every time he points outside himself in complaint he is unconsciously pointing to himself!
We must not become obsessed by technique but must learn to grow naturally like a plant, even while we use the technique.
Every technique of meditation, every system of metaphysical truth, is but a boat which one should use to cross the turbulent stream of earthly life, not a boat in which one is to sit forever.
Each man has to work on himself and leave others alone. To criticize and to condemn them is easy, but it is to fail to mind one's own business. And what is one's own business? It is to work on oneself until one is aware of the divine part of oneself.
His task is to discover the presence within himself of a deeper and diviner layer of the mind.
More and more man fell into illusion and ignorance as he fell more and more into identification with the body and with the ego. Mentalism tells us that they are really thought-complexes. All thought is derived from the mind. He can begin to undo these identifications if he will bring back his thoughts to their truth and reality and constantly let them stay there. By the activity of the Quest and by the non-activity of allowing truth to work upon him, the illusion will vanish and the real will take over.
Trying to develop the higher attributes of his being and the higher qualities of his character is certainly a part of the quest but just as certainly not the whole of it.
He is situated in measurable time and in massed form, yet is trying to understand, reach, and identify that which is timeless and formless. How can it be done unless the seeking self is transformed? But that merely removes obstructions: the further proviso is acceptance; let the self be dissolved into That: merger is finally the only way.
I have written at times that life was meant to be lived, that philosophy was not a hide-out for vague, shiftless dreamers or an escape for the timid into futility. But some who applauded the words of my protest narrowed their significance. I did not anywhere say that the implied action referred solely to physical living. For the life of man must include adequate attention to his inner mental, emotional, and intuitive self or it will remain incomplete.
Bring tomorrow into today by doing that which renders non-existent the unnecessary grief which would otherwise come tomorrow. This is related to, but not identical with, the idea that prevention is better than cure. For it is based on impersonal metaphysical truth which provides a higher philosophical motive, whereas the other is based on personal advantage which provides a lower, merely practical motive.
Humans ask for meaning, both in their own personal life and in the cosmic existence; but whatever they understand has to be ferreted out wholly by their own efforts. The universal itself remains deaf to their questionings.
The aspirant need not feel troubled if he is unable to understand parts of the books written for those following this path. They are extremely hard to grasp and must necessarily take several years to comprehend. The most important task is that of spiritual self-improvement. Intellectual improvement is of secondary importance.
The student should continue to read what is within his understanding, realizing that each small advance in his own inner efforts will enable him to understand more that is in the books.
When one is working without a teacher, he must necessarily intensify his efforts. He should strive to develop a greater awareness of the meaning of all past and present experiences in the light of his new knowledge, to be more objective in his observance of himself, his thoughts and actions in every situation, and, finally, to recognize the fact that his own daily life is the material presented him to work on.
Each individual has quite enough to do to carry out the higher purpose of life, which is clear and definite: to attain awareness of the Overself, to surrender the heart and will to it utterly, and to overcome the ego--which, in itself, calls for the whole nature of a man or a woman.
Everything that helps one to become more aware of the existence of something higher than his personal self, and every experience that induces him to aspire towards a more spiritual way of life should be cultivated. Here, religion, the arts, Nature, and contact with wiser, more experienced individuals than himself, are valuable aids.
It is necessary to point out that there is no escape from the price that has to be paid for the highest attainment. It is not by artificially avoiding sleep that the highest state will come. It is only by deliberately avoiding egoism. He has to let the universal life power which is already within him take full possession of his heart and mind. The thing that prevents this is the personal ego, which thinks itself to be complete and which has separated itself from the universal life power. The philosophical discipline is intended to overcome this egoism, or as Jesus said: "Give up your self if you would find it."
If he asks himself: What are the ultimate values of human life?--and if he clearly answers this question--he will find himself able to answer most of the immediate questions which concern the strategic policies, tactical details, and practical problems of human life. If he looks to final ends he will know the right means. If he finds out what is the larger purpose behind the smaller ones, it will be immensely easier to know what to do in any given situation when he has to choose between opposite courses.
One should not encourage psychic experiences nor attach undue importance to phenomena which are merely incidental to the true search. Instead, one should concentrate on self-study and objective analysis of ordinary experiences.
He must study his failures minutely, reflect upon them deeply, and ascertain the causes which led to those lapses. The more he understands them, the less likely is he to repeat them. He should not be downhearted, especially if he is young. There are few who do not make mistakes in youth. It does not so much matter how many mistakes he makes if they spur him on to try even harder and if they encourage him to determine to learn their lessons and root out their causes. Let him remember that he cannot conquer his desires nor subdue his animal nature by his own strength alone. In the final outcome, it is divine Grace which releases him from his bondage. Grace comes only after he himself has made every possible effort, after he has practised sacrificing his desires and has offered up his whole lower nature to the Overself. Until he is freed from the chains of his ego, his strength may fail him in times of need. But when he finally and fully realizes his inadequacies and has done the very best that he knows how, then Grace will appear and assist him.
Imitate the fowl. Have a moulting season. Once a year, preferably on your birthday, moult your stupidities, your illusions, and your foolishness.
The habit of wasting no time in neurotic self-pity, of squarely accepting one's conditions as largely the fruits of one's own growing, is a necessary part of the Quest's work.
We have to find, and keep, this link with the divine in actual experience.
Not only are attachments to worldly things to be overcome, but also attachments to rules, regulations, spiritual and ascetic disciplines which in time have become obstacles when it is forgotten that they are means not ends.
We must take to heart, and deeply believe, those values and ideals which follow from the announcements made by prophetic men of these higher laws. For the pains of life are quite enough without incurring additional ones by contravening these laws.
To work faithfully day after day to attract a glimpse is not only worthwhile for the sake of its resulting joy and strength but also because it provides an image upon which to mold oneself and by which to correct oneself.
To re-create himself by himself alone is hard. He will be better advised to accept the tested counsel offered by cultures of the past and by discriminated wisdom of the present.
A great distance separates the life of a disciple from the life of the unaspiring, where emotions are involved. To overcome or renounce such personal feelings is really to crucify the ego. Yet only by such crucifixion, whether voluntary or forced, can the serene contentment of the true self be found.
If the change of outlook is only a superficial one, then a change of circumstances will sooner or later appear.
Observation shows that the attempt to confine spiritual work in self-training to rigid patterns is to deviate from the way a human being is able to develop successfully. All patterns must be adapted and tailor-fitted to the need of each individual aspirant.
Those who seek to learn singing as an art, as also speakers who study voice production discover, if they have an enquiring mind, that several different systems and methods exist and that the advocates of each way often commend their own and criticize the others. Systems conflict, methods contradict, teachers disagree. Such a situation prevails also, to a certain extent, in the circles of spiritual and metaphysical theories and training. But most of these doctrines can, again to a certain extent, be reconciled if it is recognized that because human beings are not all alike, the approaches they use to the spiritual goal also need not be alike. Routes may differ, destinations remain the same. The belief that the seeker must restrict himself to a particular named way only, is a narrow one. It oversimplifies the truth at the cost of truth.
Intuition, inspiration, and even grace may come directly to him through prayer, meditation, and reading.
To increase his personal capacities for undertaking tasks demanded by his environment may be a worthy ambition but is not the primary aim of this work. To move away from such identification with the ego is now to be his purpose.
If any path, technique, exercise, or practice arouses his dislike, he need not engage himself in it.
Any aspirant who looks to a personal attachment or earthly love for a durable and ultimate happiness will find that sooner or later his illusion will be removed and his mistake corrected by the painful tutorship of experience. If good fortune brings it to him he may enjoy it, but only if he can enjoy it inside his Quest and not outside it. If it separates him from his ideals and lowers his values, then he cannot keep to it and to the Quest too--then in his hour of need it will be lost by him or it will turn from him.
He ought to ask as much of himself as he asks for himself from Life. Everything must be paid for. It is a delusion that anything can be had for nothing.
Neither the exercises recommended to him nor the disciplines advised for him are to be regarded as being rigid inflexible things. He himself must learn how to adapt them to his particular situation and special circumstances.
We need not step outside the house, the rooms, or the tent wherein we live to look for God. They, too, can become a holy place and a sanctuary provided we turn our mind inwards every day for a while and seek that which is beyond all buildings made by human hands.
It is true that we have duties and responsibilities where others are concerned; but we also have them where we ourselves are concerned, and the highest duty for each man is to become a man, to fulfil his development, to rule the animal in him by mind, and to find the angel in him through the same medium.
One must not take the intellectual approach too seriously. The Quest is really simpler than the books suggest. People pay more attention, perhaps, when there is a little ponderousness in the writing!
Frankly, and without shame, he will acknowledge the animal within him. He knows its place in the long growth which he underwent through many an earth-birth. It served its purpose. But a higher purpose has now shown itself and must in its turn be fulfilled. The half-human must next become the fully human. For this, the control of self must be learnt, hard though it be.
It is an error to believe that the awakening of faith is all he has to do. On the contrary, it is only a beginning. One does not get something for nothing.
That a man has to work on himself is an easily grasped platitude in all teachings and faiths concerned with his spiritual life. That he has also to work with himself is neither so well known or so comprehensible. It requires intuition both to follow and to use in practice.
The subtler mental equipment must be energized and developed before he can use the subtler ideas of philosophy in the higher stages of this quest. First comes the idea of mentalism. Beyond that comes the idea of simultaneity--that he both is and is not a twofold being.
Intellectual definitions of transcendental states merely leave us in the dark. We must practise walking on the divine path, and not merely talk about it, if we would know what these states really are.
These studies, coupled with the persistent practice of meditation, bring help and comfort to the mind by showing that life is full of high meaning and lofty purpose.
The finest literature on a subject, the best books which one owns yield no advantage if left unread and unstudied.
To transfer what we know to what we do, the best way is to be.
We do not have to bear half the burdens that we carry, if, after we have done the required work upon ourselves that they call for, we will turn them all over to the Overself.
The best general attitude is to be mentally positive to the thought-currents that come from outside himself while being mentally passive to the intuitional currents that come from inside.
He should make his mind the host to beautiful thoughts and fine moods and thus keep it ready as a place where the soul can enter untroubled.
The potency of his thoughts will be upheld by the consecration of his faculties.
Your mental attitude tells the story. It will take you up to heights supreme or it will cast you down into a sea of unutterable despair. Whatever you do, fight for the proper mental attitude.
There are laws of higher spiritual development, but they reveal themselves only upon their own terms. The first is that he shall apply what he already knows, and not let it rest as mere theory.
The truth must then gradually be fixed in your mind, in the words of an old Asiatic sage, "like an iron spike driven into a living tree."
He who has done his best to the limit of his possibilities may patiently wait for the time when those possibilities will stretch themselves of their own accord.
"Contemplation of reality in a seeker is the best. Study of the scriptures is middling. Worship by means of set prayers is the lower one. And the least helpful is running about places of pilgrimage. The true joy of Brahman does not come through words without real experience, like the taste of the fruit of a tree which is reflected in a glass."--Maitreya Upanishad
It is his duty to watch that no negative thought slips past his guard and enters his consciousness, no false belief infiltrates into his outlook. Such thought control pays the highest profits, for its effects on his outer life will unfailingly appear.
It is important for the study of philosophy and especially for the practice of its Short Path to avoid negative thoughts and feelings, to rebut them as soon and as often as they arise. This is not only a moral necessity but also a practical one. Such avoidance helps the mind to reach or keep the delicate condition of intuitive transcendent understanding.
Let us have a joyous spirituality instead of a melancholy one. With such a treasure in our hearts and minds, we have the right to abort the heaviness which is too often associated with religion.
However pious a man may be, or however much he withdraws from the world, because of its distractions, into monasticism, if a man still believes that spirit exists, and matter exists, he is practising duality, and is still, in subtle ways, a materialist. The world will cease to disturb him if he looks upon it mentalistically--in the true way.
He has found the first traces of truth. But they were in words printed in books, heard in lectures. He has next to find them in himself.
If he remains faithful to the practice of these periods of daily reflection upon the Divine Affirmations or the inspired texts or the quest itself or the kind of non-discursive meditation which is really contemplation, he can say with truth that he continually receives his daily bread. Thus the Lord's Prayer has been answered, the Biblical cup which "runneth over" has been filled anew and anew.
If words alone could work this miracle of changing men's hearts then Jesus and Buddha would have worked it long ago.
There are a certain number of enquiries which the man needs to make. They are: What is the meaning of the Self, the world, God, life, truth, sanity, and health? These are essential if he is to function satisfactorily as human.
The reflective study of these books is essential to this Quest. The student needs to become familiar with the mentalist doctrine of the universe, the mystical awareness of his divine Overself, and the metaphysical concept of Mind as the unchanging, underlying Reality. It will not be enough merely to read the books, however. One must cultivate and develop one's own capacity for thinking out the leading ideas here expressed, while deliberately opening oneself and being receptive to them. Such thinking is, in fact, one kind of meditation exercise which may be very profitably practised.
A real understanding of the Truth can be developed in only one way, through activity on the intuitive level, as distinguished from efforts made on the intellectual or physical level.
If he wishes to get at Reality, he may follow any mental discipline that helps him sharpen reason, tranquillize the mind, develop moods of abstraction, and completely concentrate thinking. All the different yogas, religions, and so on are more or less imperfect steps in this direction, so he is at liberty to invent his own. They are all only means, not ends. Parallel with this, he must thoroughly master and make his own by conviction the strange truth that All is Mind. This he can get even from the Western philosophy of the school of Idealism. He can study the books of Berkeley and Eddington, the idealistic portions of Schopenhauer, and also good interpreters of Immanuel Kant--as he writes a most unintelligible style. But he should take care to seek only for the proofs of philosophic Idealism in their works, rejecting all their theological and other speculations. In this way he can build a foundation for the higher and more advanced work which must come later. He must think his own way to truth, for the aim is to develop insight and not to become a mere metaphysical speculator or bookworm. Once he grasps this, it will not be so difficult to penetrate to the secrets of the ancient sages, for they are all based on this fact: that the world which we sense through the five senses is purely a mental world, that we know only what the mind tells us, that matter is a supposition to account for the solidity and tangibility of our sense-impressions. The mystic and the yogi, when sufficiently advanced, each makes a somewhat similar discovery in his reverie or trance, but he makes it only as a feeling and a transient one at that. It is only by thorough reasoning that the permanent understanding of it can be got.
Whatever weakens or takes away good judgement is to be avoided; whatever enhances it is to be welcomed. Drugs, alcohol--useful sometimes as a medicine--and rage come into the first category.
He should keep the key truths always in his memory and refer to them as often as the time to do so can be taken.
Emotional aversion and intellectual bias will inevitably and imperiously push him toward a particular view of the facts, a particular arrangement of their importance and weight, and a particular interpretation of inner experiences--unless he has been trained to discipline the ego. In this case, the interferences will be diminished--largely with some and less with others--but they are unlikely to be totally removed.
Out of such compounded studies, those eager to pursue truth may get a broader outline and more balanced view of it than from traditional and narrower sources. Prejudice and sectarianism will be weakened, too.
It is a valuable practice to consider profoundly the basic paradoxes of life--especially the illusion of reality which we all feel, and secondly the inability to express the Truth which the sage alone feels.
Mysticism is not an easy study for most persons and metaphysics much less so. Prudence suggests taking in the subject a small fragment at a time.
The thoughts he takes into his consciousness should be of a kind to carry him farther on his quest of the Perfect.
It is better in the end to drop naïve illusions than to go on being deceived by them. It is more prudent to acknowledge realities in time, before they bring on disaster, than to cherish a grandiose but groundless idealism.
The Tibetans say that to arrive at the spiritual goal one requires both the eyes of knowledge and the feet of technique. Within the first they include discrimination and intelligence; within the second, self-improvement and meditation.
He learns to be completely collected within himself, all his faculties gathered up but without tension. This is possible only because they are held and checked by a higher force.
The faculty of memory, rightly used, can incite him to further efforts and sustain them despite discouragement.
Philosophy is best understood where it is most practised.
The popular myth of the materialistic nature of life must be fought by the private truth of the mystical purpose of life.
It is necessary to add the reflections of philosophy to the practices of yoga, if the glimpses of reality received during these practices are to become permanent.
The importance and emphasis which is, in the beginning, quite rightly attached to the question What Am I? will gradually be shifted to the more encompassing What is the meaning of this world-experience? and What is the object of all existence?
The very perplexities which life breeds in the mind of humanity call forth the effort to solve them. And such effort in its turn develops intuitional and thinking capacity. We are all involuntarily metaphysicians although we do not know it and however much be our antipathy towards metaphysics. Again, by making errors in everyday living we become aware of our own ignorance. By becoming aware of our ignorance, we take the first step to transcending it.
If he is practising philosophic reflection regularly, correctly, and courageously (for it hits at self-defenses and self-justifications), he will not ordinarily need to fight with his weaknesses and indisciplines. It will often be enough to let them die out as the inner being gradually changes and swallows them by its own power. But such counsel is not intended for those on other paths: for them it would be silly and dangerous.
The meditational aspect of the quest, one of its most important parts, is like a spiral: it goes down deeper and deeper, circling all the while, as in advancing from the level of "the world of maya," casting off the illusory, to "the world is Brahman, the Real." Growth accrues with each circulation and further penetration; it is a repetition of the same cycle, but on a deeper level.
It is necessary to find the spur within oneself for a better self-control and for a more continuous effort in meditation and the devotional attitude. Outward changes are in the end the result of such inner ones.
Those who are not satisfied with a vicarious experience of the Overself, who want their own direct contact with it, must turn to mystical practices.
It would be wrong to believe that it is sufficient for the aspirant to join right theory with self-correction and right action to secure the highest result. The fourth item needed to complete his effort is even more important. It is proper meditation.
A life in which there are no placid pauses for meditation is a superficial one.
To sit, completely immobile, for a half or three-quarters of an hour while attention and aspiration are concentrated and merged, is an exercise needing much practice if success is to come.
Those who shrink from the fatigues of meditation do not often shrink from the fatigues of pleasure. Therefore, a sense of values is the real question involved here.
How few Westerners know, how few could believe that stillness itself can make an impact that lingers long in memory?
We can discover for ourselves if these statements are true or not by actually leading the inner life. The importance of a little practice of mental quiet each day is high. It is this practice which brings definite results in time and this which gives one strength as well as understanding. Effort is required.
From one point of view, the work done on the Quest is simply an uncovering of what is covered up: thoughts, emotions and passions, unceasing extroversion and never-ending egoism lie over the precious diamond like thick layers of earth. This is why the penetrative action of meditation is so necessary.
The Notebooks are copyright © 1984-1989, The Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation.