THE FIFTH LESSON IN RAJA YOGA
THE CULTIVATION OF ATTENTION.
In our last lesson we called your attention to the fact that the Yogis devote bot="HTMLMarkup" endspan i-checksum="21693" --> considerable time and practice to the acquirement of Concentration. And we also had something to say regarding the relation of Attention to the subject of Concentration. In this lesson we shall have more to say on the subject of Attention, for it is one of the important things relating to the practice of _Raja Yoga_, and the Yogis insist upon their students practicing systematically to develop and cultivate the faculty. Attention lies at the base of Will-power, and the cultivation of one makes easy the exercise of the other.
To explain why we lay so much importance to the cultivation of Attention, would necessitate our anticipating future lessons of this series, which we do not deem advisable at this time. And so we must ask our students to take our word for it, that all that we have to say regarding the importance of the cultivation of Attention, is occasioned by the relation of that subject to the use of the mind in certain directions as will appear fully later on.
In order to let you know that we are not advancing some peculiar theory of the Yogis, which may not be in harmony with modern Western Science, we give you in this article a number of quotations, from Western writers and thinkers, touching upon this important faculty of the mind, so that you may see that the West and East agree upon this main point, however different may be their explanations of the fact, or their use of the power gained by the cultivation of Attention.
As we said in our last lesson, the word Attention is derived from two Latin words "_ad tendere_," meaning "to stretch toward," which is really what Attention is. The "I" wills that the mind be focused on some particular object or thing, and the mind obeys and "stretches toward" that object or thing, focusing its entire energy upon it, observing every detail, dissecting, analyzing, consciously and sub-consciously, drawing to itself every possible bit of information regarding it, both from within and from without. We cannot lay too much stress upon the acquirement of this great faculty, or rather, the development of it, for it is necessary for the intelligent study of _Raja Yoga_.
In order to bring out the importance of the subject, suppose we start in by actually giving our Attention to the subject of Attention, and see how much more there is in it than we had thought. We shall be well repaid for the amount of time and trouble expended upon it.
Attention has been defined as a focusing of consciousness, or, if one prefers the form of expression, as "detention in consciousness." In the first case, we may liken it to the action of the sun-glass through which the sun's rays are concentrated upon an object, the result being that the heat is gathered together at a small given point, the intensity of the same being raised many degrees until the heat is sufficient to burn a piece of wood, or evaporate water. If the rays were not focused, the same rays and heat would have been scattered over a large surface, and the effect and power lessened. And so it is with the mind. If it is allowed to scatter itself over the entire field of a subject, it will exert but little power and the results will be weak. But if it is passed through the sun-glass of attention, and focused first over one part, and then over another, and so on, the matter may be mastered in detail, and a result accomplished that will seem little less than marvelous to those who do not know the secret.
_Thompson_ has said: "The experiences most permanently impressed upon consciousness, are those upon which the greatest amount of attention has been fixed."
Another writer upon the subject has said that "Attention is so essentially necessary to understanding, that without some degree of it the ideas and perceptions that pass through the mind seem to leave no trace behind them."
_Hamilton_ has said: "An act of attention, that is, an act of concentration, seems thus necessary to every exertion of consciousness, as a certain contraction of the pupil is requisite to every exertion of vision. Attention then is to consciousness what the contraction of the pupil is to sight, or, to the eye of the mind what the microscope or telescope is to the bodily eye. It constitutes the better half of all intellectual power."
And _Brodie_ adds, quite forcibly: "It is Attention much more than any difference in the abstract power of reasoning, which constitutes the vast difference which exists between minds of different individuals."
_Butler_ gives us this important testimony: "The most important intellectual habit I know of is the habit of attending exclusively to the matter in hand. It is commonly said that genius cannot be infused by education, yet this power of concentrated attention, which belongs as a part of his gift to every great discoverer, is unquestionably capable of almost indefinite augmentation by resolute practice."
And, concluding this review of opinions, and endorsements of that which the Yogis have so much to say, and to which they attach so much importance, let us listen to the words of _Beattie_, who says: "The force wherewith anything strikes the mind, is generally in proportion to the degree of attention bestowed upon it. Moreover, the great art of memory is attention, and inattentive people always have bad memories."
There are two general kinds of Attention. The first is the Attention directed within the mind upon mental objects and concepts. The other is the Attention directed outward upon objects external to ourselves. The same general rules and laws apply to both equally.
Likewise there may be drawn another distinction and division of attention into two classes, _viz._, Attenion attracted by some impression coming into consciousness without any conscious effort of the Will--this is called Involuntary Attention, for the Attention and Interest is caught by the attractiveness or novelty of the object. Attention directed to some object by an effort of the Will, is called Voluntary Attention. Involuntary Attention is quite common, and requires no special training. In fact, the lower animals, and young children seem to have a greater share of it than do adult men. A great percentage of men and women never get beyond this stage to any marked degree. On the other hand, Voluntary Attention requires effort, will, and determination--a certain mental training, that is beyond the majority of people, for they will not "take the trouble" to direct their attention in this way. Voluntary Attention is the mark of the student and other thoughtful men. They focus their minds on objects that do not yield immediate interest or pleasure, in order that they may learn and accomplish. The careless person will not thus fasten his Attention, at least not more than a moment or so, for his Involuntary Attention is soon attracted by some passing object of no matter how trifling a nature, and the Voluntary Attention disappears and is forgotten. Voluntary Attention is developed by practice and perseverance, and is well worth the trouble, for nothing in the mental world is accomplished without its use.
The Attention does not readily fasten itself to uninteresting objects, and, unless interest can be created it requires a considerable degree of Voluntary Attention in order that the mind may be fastened upon such an object. And, more than this, even if the ordinary attention is attracted it will soon waver, unless there is some interesting change in the aspect of the object, that will give the attention a fresh hold of interest, or unless some new quality, characteristic or property manifests itself in the object. This fact occurs because the mind mechanism has not been trained to bear prolonged Voluntary Attention, and, in fact, the physical brain is not accustomed to the task, although it may be so trained by patient practice.
It has been noticed by investigators that the Attention may be rested and freshened, either by withdrawing the Voluntary Attention from the object, and allowing the Attention to manifest along Involuntary lines toward passing objects, etc.; or, on the other hand, by directing the Voluntary Attention into a new field of observation--toward some new object. Sometimes one plan will seem to give the best results, and again the other will seem preferable.
We have called your attention to the fact that Interest develops Attention, and holds it fixed, while an uninteresting object or subject requires a much greater effort and application. This fact is apparent to anyone. A common illustration may be found in the matter of reading a book. Nearly everyone will give his undivided attention to some bright, thrilling story, while but few are able to use sufficient Voluntary Attention to master the pages of some scientific work. But, right here, we wish to call your attention to the other side of the case, which is another example of the fact that Truth is composed of paradoxes.
Just as Interest develops Attention, so it is a truth that Attention develops Interest. If one will take the trouble to give a little Voluntary Attention to an object, he will soon find that a little perseverance will bring to light points of Interest in the object. Things before unseen and unsuspected, are quickly brought to light. And many new phases, and aspects of the subject or object are seen, each one of which, in turn, becomes an object of Interest. This is a fact not so generally known, and one that it will be well for you to remember, and to use in practice. _Look_ for the interesting features of an uninteresting thing, and they will appear to your view, and before long the uninteresting object will have changed into a thing having many-sided interests.
Voluntary Attention is one of the signs of a developed Will. That is, of a mind that has been well trained by the Will, for the Will is always strong, and it is the mind that has to be trained, not the Will. And on the other hand, one of the best ways to train the mind by the Will, is by practice in Voluntary Attention. So you see how the rule works both ways. Some Western psychologists have even advanced theories that the Voluntary Attention is the _only_ power of the Will, and that that power is sufficient, for if the Attention be firmly fixed, and held upon an object the mind will "do the rest." We do not agree with this school of philosophers, but merely mention the fact as an illustration of the importance attributed by psychologists to this matter of Voluntary Attention.
A man of a strongly developed Attention often accomplishes far more than some much brighter man who lacks it. Voluntary Attention and Application is a very good substitute for Genius, and often accomplishes far more in the long run.
Voluntary Attention is the fixing of the mind earnestly and intently upon some particular object, at the same time shutting out from consciousness other objects pressing for entrance. _Hamilton_ has defined it as "consciousness voluntarily applied under its law of limitations to some determinate object." The same writer goes on to state that "the greater the number of objects to which our consciousness is simultaneously extended, the smaller is the intensity with which it is able to consider each, and consequently the less vivid and distinct will be the information it contains of the several objects. When our interest in any particular object is excited, and when we wish to obtain all the knowledge concerning it in our power, it behooves us to limit our consideration to that object to the exclusion of others."
The human mind has the power of attending to only one object at a time, although it is able to pass from one object to another with a marvelous degree of speed, so rapidly, in fact, that some have held that it could grasp several things at once. But the best authorities, Eastern and Western, hold to the "single idea" theory as being correct. On this point we may quote a few authorities.
_Jouffroy_ says that "It is established by experience that we cannot give our attention to two different objects at the same time." And _Holland_ states that "Two thoughts, however closely related to one another, cannot be presumed to exist at the same time." And _Lewes_ has told us that "The nature of our organism prevents our having more than one aspect of an object at each instant presented to consciousness." _Whateley_ says: "The best philosophers are agreed that the mind cannot actually attend to more than one thing at a time, but, when it appears to be doing so it is really shifting with prodigious rapidity backward and forward from one to the other."
By giving a concentrated Voluntary Attention to an object, we not only are able to see and think about it with the greatest possible degree of clearness, but the mind has a tendency, under such circumstances, to bring into the field of consciousness all the different ideas associated in our memory with that object or subject, and to build around the object or subject a mass of associated facts and information. And at the same time the Attention given the subject makes more vivid and clear all that we learn about the thing at the time, and, in fact, all that we may afterwards learn about it. It seems to cut a channel, through which knowledge flows.
Attention magnifies and increases the powers of perception, and greatly aids the exercise of the perceptive faculties. By "paying attention" to something seen or heard, one is enabled to observe the details of the thing seen or heard, and where the inattentive mind acquires say three impressions the attentive mind absorbs three times three, or perhaps three times "three times three," or twenty-seven. And, as we have just said, Attention brings into play the powers of association, and gives us the "loose end" of an almost infinite chain of associated facts, stored away in our memory, forming new combinations of facts which we had never grouped together before, and bring out into the field of consciousness all the many scraps of information regarding the thing to which we are giving attention. The proof of this is within the experience of everyone. Where is the one who does not remember sitting down to some writing, painting, reading, etc., with interest and attention, and finding, much to his surprise, what a flow of facts regarding the matter in hand was passing through his mind. Attention seems to focus all the knowledge of a thing that you possess, and by bringing it to a point enables you to combine, associate, classify, etc., and thus create new knowledge. _Gibbon_ tells us that after he gave a brief glance and consideration to a new subject, he suspended further work upon it, and allowed his mind (under concentrated attention) to bring forth all his associated knowledge regarding the subject, after which he renewed the task with increased power and efficiency.
The more one's attention is fixed upon a subject under consideration, the deeper is the impression which the subject leaves upon the mind. And the easier will it be for him to afterwards pursue the same train of thought and work.
Attention is a prerequisite of good memory, and in fact there can be no memory at all unless some degree of attention is given. The degree of memory depends upon the degree of attention and interest. And when it is considered that the work of today is made efficient by the memory of things learned yesterday, the day before yesterday, and so on, it is seen that the degree of attention given today regulates the quality of the work of tomorrow.
Some authorities have described Genius as the result of great powers of attention, or, at least, that the two seem to run together. Some writer has said that "possibly the best definition of genius is the power of concentrating upon some one given subject until its possibilities are exhausted and absorbed." _Simpson_ has said that "The power and habit of thinking closely and continuously upon the subject at hand, to the exclusion, for the time, of all other subjects, is one of the principal, if, indeed, not the principal, means of success." _Sir Isaac Newton_ has told us his plan of absorbing information and knowledge. He has stated that he would keep the subject under consideration before him continually, and then would wait till the first dawning of perception gradually brightened into a clear light, little by little. A mental sunrise, in fact.
That sage observer, _Dr. Abercrombie_, has written that he considered that he knew of no more important rule for rising to eminence in any profession or occupation than the Ability to do one thing at a time, avoiding all distracting and diverting objects or subjects, and keeping the leading matter continually before the mind. And others have added that such a course will enable one to observe relations between the subject and other things that will not be apparent to the careless observer or student.
The degree of Attention cultivated by a man is the degree of his capacity for intellectual work. As we have said, the "great" men of all walks of life have developed this faculty to a wonderful degree, and many of them seem to get results "intuitively," whereas, in truth, they obtain them by reason of their concentrated power of Attention, which enables them to see right into the center of a subject or proposition--and all around it, back and front, and all sides, in a space of time incredible to the man who has not cultivated this mighty power. Men who have devoted much attention to some special line of work or research, are able to act almost as if they possessed "second sight," providing the subject is within their favorite field of endeavor. Attention quickens every one of the faculties--the reasoning faculties--the senses--the deriding qualities--the analytical faculties, and so on, each being given a "fine edge" by their use under a concentrated Attention.
And, on the other hand, there is no surer indication of a weak mind than the deficiency in Attention. This weakness may arise from illness or physical weakness reacting upon the brain, in which case the trouble is but temporary. Or it may arise from a lack of mental development. Imbeciles and idiots have little or no Attention. The great French psychologist, _Luys_, speaking of this fact, says "Imbeciles and idiots see badly, hear badly, feel badly, and their sensorium is, in consequence, in a similar condition of sensitive poverty. Its impressionability for the things of the external world is at a minimum, its sensibility weak, and consequently, it is difficult to provoke the physiological condition necessary for the absorption of the external impression."
In old age the Attention is the first faculty to show signs of decay. Some authorities have held that the Memory was the first faculty to be affected by the approach of old age, but this is incorrect, for it is a matter of common experience that the aged manifest a wonderfully clear memory of events occurring in the far past. The reason that their memory of recent events is so poor is because their failing powers of Attention has prevented them from receiving strong, clear mental impressions, and as is the impression so is the memory. Their early impressions having been clear and strong, are easily recalled, while their later ones, being weak, are recalled with difficulty. If the Memory were at fault, it would be difficult for them to recall any impression, recent or far distant in time.
But we must stop quoting examples and authorities, and urging upon you the importance of the faculty of Attention. If you do not now realize it, it is because you have not given the subject the Attention that you should have exercised, and further repetition would not remedy matters.
Admitting the importance of Attention, from the psychological point of view, not to speak of the occult side of the subject, is it not a matter of importance for you to start in to cultivate that faculty? We think so. And the only way to cultivate any mental or physical part or faculty is to Exercise it. Exercise "uses up" a muscle, or mental faculty, but the organism makes haste to rush to the scene additional material--cell-stuff, nerve force, etc., to repair the waste, and it always sends a little more than is needed. And this "little more," continually accruing and increasing, is what increases the muscles and brain centers. And improved and strengthened brain centers give the mind better instruments with which to work.
One of the first things to do in the cultivation of Attention is to learn to think of, and do, one thing at a time. Acquiring the "knack" or habit of attending closely to the things before us, and then passing on to the next and treating it in the same way, is most conducive to success, and its practice is the best exercise for the cultivation of the faculty of Attention. And on the contrary, there is nothing more harmful from the point of view of successful performance--and nothing that will do more to destroy the power of giving Attention--than the habit of trying to do one thing while thinking of another. The thinking part of the mind, and the acting part should work together, not in opposition.
_Dr. Beattie_, speaking of this subject, tells us "It is a matter of no small importance that we acquire the habit of doing only one thing at a time; by which I mean that while attending to any one object, our thoughts ought not to wander to another." And _Granville_ adds, "A frequent cause of failure in the faculty of Attention is striving to think of more than one thing at a time." And _Kay_ quotes, approvingly, a writer who says: "She did things easily, because she attended to them in the doing. When she made bread, she thought of the bread, and not of the fashion of her next dress, or of her partner at the last dance." _Lord Chesterfield said,_ "There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at a time; but there is not time enough in the year if you try to do two things at a time."
To attain the best results one should practice concentrating upon the task before him, shutting out, so far as possible, every other idea or thought. One should even forget self--personality--in such cases, as there is nothing more destructive of good thinking than to allow morbid self-consciousness to intrude. One does best when he "forgets himself" in his work, and sinks his personality in the creative work. The "earnest" man or woman is the one who sinks personality in the desired result, or performance of the task undertaken. The actor, or preacher, or orator, or writer, must lose sight of himself to get the best results. Keep the Attention fixed on the thing before you, and let the self take care of itself.
In connection with the above, we may relate an anecdote of _Whateley_ that may be interesting in connection with the consideration of this subject of "losing one's self" in the task. He was asked for a recipe for "bashfulness," and replied that the person was bashful simply because he was thinking of himself and the impression he was making. His recipe was that the young man should think of others--of the pleasure he could give them--and in that way he would forget all about himself. The prescription is said to have effected the cure. The same authority has written, "Let both the extemporary speaker, and the reader of his own compositions, study to avoid as far as possible all thoughts of self, earnestly fixing the mind on the matter of what is delivered; and they will feel less that embarrassment which arises from the thought of what opinion the hearers will form of them."
The same writer, _Whateley_, seems to have made quite a study of Attention and has given us some interesting information on its details. The following may be read with interest, and if properly understood may be employed to advantage. He says, "It is a fact, and a very curious one. that many people find that they can best attend to any serious matter when they are occupied with something else which requires a little, and but a little, attention, such as working with the needle, cutting open paper leaves, or, for want of some such employment, fiddling anyhow with the fingers." He does not give the reason for this, and at first sight it might seem like a contradiction of the "one thing at a time" idea. But a closer examination will show us that the minor work (the cutting leaves, etc.) is in the nature of an involuntary or automatic movement, inasmuch as it requires little or no voluntary attention, and seems to "do itself." It does not take off the Attention from the main subject, but perhaps acts to catch the "waste Attention" that often tries to divide the Attention from some voluntary act to another. The habit mind may be doing one thing, while the Attention is fixed on another. For instance, one may be writing with his attention firmly fixed upon the thought he wishes to express, while at the time his hand is doing the writing, apparently with no attention being given it. But, let a boy, or person unaccustomed to writing, try to express his thoughts in this way, and you will find that he is hampered in the flow of his thoughts by the fact that he has to give much attention to the mechanical act of writing. In the same way, the beginner on the typewriter finds it difficult to compose to the machine, while the experienced typist finds the mechanical movements no hindrance whatever to the flow of thought and focusing of Attention; in fact, many find that they can compose much better while using the typewriter than they can by dictating to a stenographer. We think you will see the principle.
And now for a little Mental Drill in Attention, that you may be started on the road to cultivate this important faculty.
MENTAL DRILL IN ATTENTION.
_Exercise I._ Begin by taking some familiar object and placing it before you, try to get as many impressions regarding it as is possible for you. Study its shape, its color, its size, and the thousand and one little peculiarities about it that present themselves to your attention. In doing this, reduce the thing to its simplest parts--analyze it as far as is possible--dissect it, mentally, and study its parts in detail. The more simple and small the part to be considered, the more clearly will the impression be received, and the more vividly will it be recalled. Reduce the thing to the smallest possible proportions, and then examine each portion, and mastering that, then pass on to the next part, and so on, until you have covered the entire field. Then, when you have exhausted the object, take a pencil and paper and put down as nearly as possible all the things or details of the object examined. When you have done this, compare the written description with the object itself, and see how many things you have failed to note.
The next day take up the same object, and after re-examining it, write down the details and you will find that you will have stored away a greater number of impressions regarding it, and, moreover, you will have discovered many new details during your second examination. This exercise strengthens the memory as well as the Attention, for the two are closely connected, the memory depending largely upon the clearness and strength of the impressions received, while the impressions depend upon the amount of attention given to the thing observed. Do not tire yourself with this exercise, for a tired Attention is a poor Attention. Better try it by degrees, increasing the task a little each time you try it. Make a game of it if you like, and you will find it quite interesting to notice the steady but gradual improvement.
It will be interesting to practice this in connection with some friend, varying the exercise by both examining the object, and writing down their impressions, separately, and then comparing results. This adds interest to the task, and you will be surprised to see how rapidly both of you increase in your powers of observation, which powers, of course, result from Attention.
_Exercise II._ This exercise is but a variation of the first one. It consists in entering a room, and taking a hasty glance around, and then walking out, and afterward writing down the number of things that you have observed, with a description of each. You will be surprised to observe how many things you have missed at first sight, and how you will improve in observation by a little practice. This exercise, also, may be improved by the assistance of a friend, as related in our last exercise. It is astonishing how many details one may observe and remember, after a little practice. It is related of Houdin, the French conjurer, that he improved and developed his faculty of Attention and Memory by playing this game with a young relative. They would pass by a shop window, taking a hasty, attentive glance at its contents. Then they would go around the corner and compare notes. At first they could remember only a few prominent articles--that is, their Attention could grasp only a few. But as they developed by practice, they found that they could observe and remember a vast number of things and objects in the window. And, at last, it is related that Houdin could pass rapidly before any large shop window, bestowing upon it but one hasty glance, and then tell the names of, and closely describe, nearly every object in plain sight in the window. The feat was accomplished by the fact that the cultivated Attention enabled Houdin to fasten upon his mind a vivid mental image of the window and its contents, and then he was able to describe the articles one by one from the picture in his mind.
Houdin taught his son to develop Attention by a simple exercise which may be interesting and of value to you. He would lay down a domino before the boy--a five-four, for example. He would require the boy to tell him the combined number at once, without allowing him to stop to count the spots, one by one. "Nine" the boy would answer after a moment's hesitation. Then another domino, a three-four, would be added. "That makes sixteen," cried the boy. Two dominoes at a time was the second day's task. The next day, three was the standard. The next day, four, and so on, until the boy was able to handle twelve dominoes--that is to say, give instantaneously the total number of spots on twelve dominoes, after a single glance. This was Attention, in earnest, and shows what practice will do to develop a faculty. The result was shown by the wonderful powers of observation, memory and attention, together with instantaneous mental action, that the boy developed. Not only was he able to add dominoes instantaneously, but he had powers of observation, etc., that seemed little short of miraculous. And yet it is related that he had poor attention, and deficient memory to begin with.
If this seems incredible, let us remember how old whist players note and remember every card in the pack, and can tell whether they have been played or not, and all the circumstances attending upon them. The same is true of chess players, who observe every move and can relate the whole game in detail long after it has been played. And remember, also, how one woman may pass another woman on the street, and without seeming to give her more than a careless glance, may be able to relate in detail every feature of the other woman's apparel, including its color, texture, style of fashioning, probable price of the material, etc., etc. And a mere man would have noticed scarcely anything about it--because he would not have given it any attention. But how soon would that man learn to equal his sister in attention and observation of women's wearing apparel, if his business success depended upon it, or if his speculative instinct was called into play by a wager with some friend as to who could remember the most about a woman's clothing, seen in a passing glance? You see it is all a matter of Interest and Attention.
But we forget that the Attention may be developed and cultivated, and we complain that we "cannot remember things," or that we do not seem to be able to "take notice." A little practice will do wonders in this direction.
Now, while the above exercises will develop your memory and powers of observation, still that is not the main reason that we have given them to you. We have an ulterior object, that will appear in time. We aim to develop your Will-power, and we know that Attention stands at the gate of Will-power. In order to be able to use your Will, you must be able to focus the Attention forcibly and distinctly. And these childish exercises will help you to develop the mental muscles of the Attention. If you could but realize the childish games the young Yogi students are required to play, in order to develop the mental faculties, you would change your minds about the Yogi Adepts whom you have been thinking about as mere dreamers, far removed from the practical. These men, and their students, are intensely practical. They have gained the mastery of the Mind, and its faculties, and are able to use them as sharp edged tools, while the untrained man finds that he has but a dull, unsharpened blade that will do nothing but hack and hew roughly, instead of being able to produce the finished product.
The Yogi believes in giving the "I" good tools with which to work, and he spends much time in tempering and sharpening these tools. Oh, no, the Yogi are not idle dreamers. Their grasp of "practical things" would surprise many a practical, matter-of-fact Western business man, if he could but observe it.
And so, we ask you to practice "observing things." The two exercises we have given are but indications of the general line. We could give you thousands, but you can prepare them yourselves as well as could we. The little Hindu boy is taught Attention by being asked to note and remember the number, color, character and other details of a number of colored stones, jewelry, etc., shown for an instant in an open palm, the hand being closed the moment after. He is taught to note and describe passing travelers, and their equipages--houses he sees on his journeys--and thousands of other everyday objects. The results are almost marvelous. In this way he is prepared as a _chela_ or student, and he brings to his _guru_ or teacher a brain well developed--a mind thoroughly trained to obey the Will of the "I"--and with faculties quickened to perceive instantly that which others would fail to see in a fortnight. It is true that he does not turn these faculties to "business" or other so-called "practical" pursuits, but prefers to devote them to abstract studies and pursuits outside of that which the Western man considers to be the end and aim of life. But remember that the two civilizations are quite different--following different ideals--having different economic conditions--living in different worlds, as it were. But that is all a matter of taste and ideals--the faculty for the "practical life" of the West is possessed by the _chela_, if he saw fit to use it. But all Hindu youths are not _chelas_, remember--nor are all Western youths "captains of industry," or Edisons.
I am using my Attention to develop my mental faculties, so as to give the "I" a perfect instrument with which to work. The mind is _My_ instrument and I am bringing it to a state of capacity for perfect work.
MANTRAM (OR AFFIRMATION).
There is but One Life--One Life Underlying. This Life is manifesting through ME, and through every other shape, form, and thing. I am resting on the bosom of the Great Ocean of Life, and it is supporting me, and will carry me safely, though the waves rise and fall--though the storms rage and the tempests roar. I am safe on the Ocean of Life, and rejoice as I feel the sway of its motion. Nothing can harm me--though changes may come and go, I am Safe. I am One with the All Life, and its Power, Knowledge, and Peace are behind, underneath, and within Me. O! One Life! express Thyself through me--carry me now on the crest of the wave, now deep down in the trough of the ocean--supported always by Thee--all is good to me, as I feel Thy life moving in and through me. I am Alive, through thy life, and I open myself to thy full manifestation and inflow.
Suggestions for Further Reading
- A Series of Lessons in Raja Yoga, Index Page
- The I or the Self
- The Ego's Mental Tools
- The Expansion of the Self
- Mental Control
- The Cultivation of Attention
- The Cultivation of Perception
- The Unfoldment of Consciousness
- The Highlands and Lowlands of Mind
- The Mental Planes
- The Subconscious Mind
- Subconscious Character Building
- The Subconscious Influences
- Advice on the Practice of Concentration in
- An introduction to yoga by Annie Besant
- Gnani Yoga, The Law of Karma by Yogi Ramacharaka
- Questions and Answers on Occult subjects
- Mystic Christianity - the Holy Ghost
- Total Mind Body Awareness
- The Hindu-Yogi Science Of Breath, by Yogi Ramacharaka
- Yogi Ramacharka
- The Mystic Christianity - Ancient Wisdom
- What is meditation
- An Essay on Yoga and Skills by Sri Aurobindo
- The Sevenfold Nature of Human Body
- Yoga the science of breathing
- Buddhism - The Power of Mindfulness
- A Modern Treatise on Buddhist Satipatthana Meditation
- A Teaching on Satipatthana Vipassana Meditation
- Suda Sutta - Meditation and Cooking
- Buddhism - Meditation Upon the Body
- The Basis For Spiritual Life
- Is Enlightenment the Right Word for Spiritual Liberation?
- Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali
- Hinduwebsite.com - Yoga Home Page
- The Meaning and Purpose of Yoga
- Yoga's Best Kept Secrets
- What is Your Notion of God?
- Benefits of Yoga on Life and Longevity
- Yoga Exercises and Techniques
- The Yoga Sutras - Featured Translations
- The Doctrine and Practice of Yoga
- The Mind and The Illusion of Reality
- Self Discovery - Opening the Door to Self-realization
Source: A Series of Lessons in Raja Yoga, by Yogi Ramacharaka( 1862-1932). This text is in public domain and reproduced and reformatted by Jayaram V for Hinduwebsite.com. While we have made every effort to reproduce the text correctly we do not accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions or inaccuracies in the reproduction of this text.
Translate the Page