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A Vision of the Aquarian Age
Sir George Trevelyan


First published in 1977 by Coventure UK and in 1984 by Stillpoint USA
This book is out-of-print, now available only on this website
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13  Meditation – The Gateway


MEDITATION HAS BECOME SO vital a factor in new age activity that it warrants some attention in itself. This chapter, there fore, offers an elementary answer for those who inquire about what it is. We will make no attempt to present a comprehensive survey of the various methods. We will offer, rather, a simple approach, accessible to anyone in its initial stages.

Essentially, meditation is the technique of creating a centre of quietude and stillness within the self and then allowing this centre to be flooded with light from the higher planes. It is the route to inner contact with the realms of eternal being. In our hurried and anxious world, where everything is rushed and frantic, it is not easy to be inwardly still. Thoughts, emotions and the concerns of the day crowd into our minds and fill any potential vacuum of quiet. They constitute an incessant distraction. It is therefore all the more precious if we can achieve a spell in which we are quite freed from the incursions of active thoughts. This chapter offers a practical basic approach to attaining such freedom.

First, we must withdraw to some place which is itself still. Ideally, we should have a sanctum in our house where complete privacy is possible, but any quiet place will suffice. We must sit comfortably so that we are as unaware as possible of our bodies. The spine should be vertical, so that power can flow through us from high sources, but, in the beginning, forgetting of the physical body is most important. The East, of course, uses the 'lotus position,' feet folded and crossed. For many people in the West, however, this is difficult and uncomfortable, and is quite unnecessary for our initial approach. It is sufficient to be restfully seated, hands lightly folded in the lap or placed on the knees. We must then close our eyes and sit in absolute physical stillness. While maintaining our upright sitting position, without slumping, we must release all unnecessary tension, relaxing forehead, eyes, jaw, neck, shoulders and so down through the body and limbs. As far as feeling is concerned, everything in us should be still – except the breathing. And we should be aware of this perpetual gentle rhythm. We must turn our attention to the breathing and attempt to watch it – in: out: in: out. Tibetan practitioners watch the air being inhaled and exhaled through the nostrils; the Siamese insist that we be mindful of the gentle rise and fall of the solar plexus. Mindfulness of breathing is a basic exercise. Various schools of Buddhism use it as a training in directed thought, and aspiring adepts are taught to master it through long hours of meditation. For our initial steps in the West, however, such ambitious objectives are superfluous. We should simply be concerned with creating the centre of stillness and for this the mindfulness of the breathing rhythm is most helpful, running like a thread through our period of meditation. At the outset, it is desirable to take perhaps three slow deep breaths, exhaling steadily and fully. This helps to change the rhythm of thinking and still the self. Then, as we watch the breathing happening on its own, we shall probably find it growing ever more gentle. With this shift, our mood will also become still, until, in deep meditation, we really cease to be aware of any breathing at all.

At some point, roving thoughts may enter our minds and distract us. In imagination we may see ourselves enter a chapel, close the door and seat ourselves. It may be a circular chapel with a dome, a symbol for the individual, who will experience his inner self as a hollow space. Suddenly, like an intruding bat or bird, a stray disturbing thought may wing its way into the chapel. If we offer it no lodgement, however, no point on which to alight, it will fly out again, leaving us in peace. Thoughts only become operative when we acknowledge them and accept them. In the outer world, we must naturally deal with them as they assail us. We must grasp them and respond to them, employing whatever act of will may be necessary. But in the silence of our inner chapel, for this precious half hour of inner peace, they have no place. We need not actively oppose them, or mobilise our will as a defence. We need only withhold any response to them and watch them fade like smoke passing through the window. "Stilling my thinking, I inhale... and exhale.. ". Watching the breathing – not doing the breathing – provides us with a positive alternative to the unwanted thought, without any strenuous self-conscious attempt to force the mind into emptiness. And soon, a great stillness will begin to permeate our consciousness. The chapel will become completely silent.

A quality of stillness will rise through feet and limbs and pervade the body. We may even feel it like a tingling in feet and legs. We must give the body over to the earth. We may even sense dimly that it is truly a part of earth, a tiny focal point in the body of earth, where this great being has become heightened in consciousness. We must hand body back to earth and let it melt into stillness.

In meditation, we do not so much think stillness as experience stillness. "Experiencing the stillness, I inhale... and exhale". Then, from stillness, we will shift subtly to the experience of tranquillity. This is associated less with the body than with the heart and emotions. It is a soul experience, counterpart to the bodily stillness. One can feel heart melt into the plane of tranquillity; one can feel the gentle rhythm of the breathing flowing through it, as if the heart itself were drawing in and giving out the life force.

At last, we will experience the profound state of peace, which penetrates the head, the thinking. This differs both from stillness of body and tranquillity of heart, but is another facet of the total meditational experience. Stillness – tranquillity – peace: a trinity of kindred states which include body, heart and mind. The physical functioning and the nervous system are brought into a condition of complete rest, as in deep sleep, while the mind remains at alert attention. A rather remarkable accomplishment amid the world of busy thought and action and anxiety – personally, through our own directed thought, to create something that was not there before, a sphere or vacuum of stillness. So long as we maintain it, we can hold the clamorous world at bay.

So important is the attainment of this stage of inner quietude that it may appear almost an end in itself. For this chosen period in our busy day, we have found how to withdraw from the world and keep its impositions at a distance – by moving inwards and creating a chamber of silence in the heart. And the longer we can sustain our serene disengagement from mundane preoccupations, the greater will be our joy. Indeed, it can approach what is called "bliss consciousness", for it leads the soul towards that world of absolute being which exists as pure life and consciousness behind all manifestation in the relative world of things and events.

But this state is nevertheless but a step along the way. From it, we can begin to open ourselves to the higher planes of light. To be impregnated by the divine light from above is the second great objective, to which the first was only a means. Perhaps we should stress again that by "higher planes" we do not mean distance of vertical direction, for we are moving out of the world of space and time. We must rather recognise that the planes of being and extended spiritual consciousness are spheres of higher frequency or wavelength. There is light of the spirit behind physical light, a spiritual sun behind the physical sun. This spiritual light will fill the vacuum created by the individual who has achieved the inner stillness. Thus we may very gently allow light to flood through the dome of the chapel – in other words, the top of the head – and feel its way down into the heart until our whole being is suffused with it. At that point, we shall feel something happen in the heart. The imagination may take different forms. We may see a great shaft of light descending from the zenith and passing through our whole body, down into the earth – as if spirit were being "earthed". The sense of this power's descent may be quite strong, quite palpable; it will be intensified by our sitting position and vertical spine. The light will have entered through the "centre" at the top of the head and been transformed in the heart centre. It is as if the heart were a transformer and were giving out the light as love for all life. We can experience the horizontal outflow from the quiescent heart. It need not be directed at anyone or anything in particular. It is the beginning of the experience of the heart centre as an organ, pouring out love for all beings. And, at this point, we will have realised in ourselves the symbol of the cross. As the breathing becomes ever more gentle, we shall have the beautiful experience that the heart centre itself is breathing light. The body is forgotten and we become a species of vortex point for radiating the light of the spirit. The experience can be particularly significant and powerful when a group is working together.

The inner chamber, then, will now be brimming with light and silence. We can, if we wish, permit ourselves the experience of rising – as if, in a balloon lighter than air, we were passing up through the dark clouds. As we rise, the clouds become thinner and more translucent, until we break through into clear sunshine with the endless dome of the blue ether above us. The symbolism is obvious, for we are moving up through the emotional atmosphere of earth life to float clearly in orbit beyond the gravity drag of earthly concerns. Then we may bask in the radiance of the spiritual sunlight which penetrates every pore of body and soul. In this state, we may find wonderful peace. We may also begin to experience an expansion of consciousness, as if we were no longer tightly held by the limitations of the body. There is a profound mystery latent here – the fact that we look inwards in order to expand on a higher plane. But we are not indulging in rational, self-conscious introspection, analysing our thoughts or motives. On the contrary, we are developing inner faculties which open onto widening vistas. Let us once again quote Blake's words:
Through meditation, we begin to understand that imagination is a faculty of profound significance, leading us towards contact with the divine worlds. It is certainly not the mere spurious weaving of fantasies. Our materialistic civilisation is largely concerned with looking outwards. Meditation balances this tendency by turning us inwards and so through into realms of extended awareness. It is in the condition of absolute inner stillness and lifted consciousness that we can listen with alert attention and suspended thought for the speaking of the "still small voice". And we become simply an organ for listening.

Though the basic exercise is stilling the self and opening to the light, much may develop out of the state of inner tranquillity and alert attention. We are truly becoming focal points for reflecting the higher worlds of thought. This may be apparent in imaginative pictures, and there is indeed a place in meditation for allowing the creative imagining to work.

Let us briefly develop one such image. We have set ourselves in a chamber or sphere of light into which the disturbing influence of the world has no access. Here, we lift above the murky psychic atmosphere of earth into the clear light of the spiritual sun. We receive the great shalt of light from the zenith, allowing it to pass down into the earth, and in the heart we transmute its rays to radiate out in the four directions of the compass, as love for all being. In this form, we may recognise that we have created the Celtic cross, but in three-dimensional form. It may well be experienced as an archetypal symbol for the New Age. At first, our own heart is the crossing point where light radiates as love. But the form can be enlarged indefinitely. Let it do so in the imagination until it stands like a great spherical temple with the altar and the six-pointed star shining in the centre. This temple can be thronged with beings of light; and from this great spiritual lighthouse, we can beam out rays to link with other such centres. We can also direct the beams of light and love into the dark trouble spots of the world. Here they will provide the substance which spiritual forces can use to penetrate the fog of psychic darkness which, quite objectively, lie over such areas as Northern Ireland. Our image has a very real power, and we must accept that imagination is a creative deed. By meditation, we make an offering to the spiritual beings who can continue to use the great cross after we ourselves have withdrawn back into our mundane existence. As a group imagination, our power in this respect can be augmented. Such images can be allowed to form and they do indeed have their role to play in the affairs of our tormented planet.

In the beginning, however, our primary concern will be, as we have said, to create a still and listening centre within ourselves. And eventually the time will come for return to our daily routine. Gently, we will fall back into the body, carrying in our heart the fine glowing light and warmth of the spiritual sun. During our meditation, we were open, on a soul level, to the light and its power. For that very reason, we should not plunge impetuously back into the earth vibration. The descent should be gradual, and one technique for ensuring this is called "sealing the centres with light". There are, as we know, psychic and spiritual centres in the brow, throat, heart and solar plexus; in imagination, we have "opened" the crown of the head. These apertures should be closed and protected by mentally placing over them the cross and the circle of light. It is also useful to visualise ourselves wrapped around in a protective cloak of light. Then we can safely move down again to meet the exigencies of the world, but carrying within us the inner stillness of the heart filled with light and love. That stillness will colour and condition our responses to the outer world.

Half an hour is a good length for a meditation. If possible, it should be performed twice a day. Regularity in time and place is important, since it imposes a discipline and habit. Although many practitioners favour early morning, each individual is free to work out his own schedule and routine. Even fifteen minutes, however, is better than nothing; and a period of inner silence and stillness before entering sleep is of particular importance, since in sleep the soul establishes contact with the beings of the spiritual plane.

The need for meditation in our time cannot be overemphasised. If man's consciousness is to evolve and expand, more and more people must seek the silence and penetrate the barriers between the different levels of being. Meditation is a valid and safe way of doing so. It is therefore particularly desirable to embark on a meditative path. On the personal level, withdrawing into inner peace is not a selfish deed, but a necessary training. And through meditation, moreover, we become better members of the community. Tensions relax, and the love we experience within us is subsequently directed out into our surroundings. We also become more capable, more contented, more joyful and more peaceful – and something of all these qualities can be contagious, transmitted to those with whom we work in the world. There are other advantages to be reaped as well. Some people, for example, find that meditation improves their health. Others develop the capacity to receive guidance and help.

The methods and techniques of meditation vary a great deal, but all must include the inner stilling and the opening of the centres to the influx of light. The description we have offered is hardly definitive; it is simply designed to provide a general idea of the process. It also serves to demonstrate how meditation differs from prayer, although the two practices are obviously complementary.


In passing, we should briefly mention Transcendental Meditation, brought to the West by the Maharishi. Although based on Oriental wisdom, this form of the practice is particularly suited to the active modern Western consciousness. The Maharishi contends that the mind in itself has the capacity of flowing to the greatest source of happiness. This is the bliss of contact with the world of being or Creative Intelligence, which underlies our plane of time and space, the relative world. There is no need to force the mind into such contact. It is a question rather of finding the method by means of which it will most effectively gravitate towards this source of happiness. For this purpose, Transcendental Meditation adopts the use of a mantra, or sound, selected as suitable for each individual. Any thought or image could be used, of course, but the advantage of the mantra is that, being sheer sound, it has no immediate intellectual content, no associations or connotations. At the same time, it is not merely a random sound. On the contrary, it is a sound which is part of the primal language of nature, the primal nature of language, chosen from the ancient knowledge of the Upanishads. Inherent in any such sound is the capacity to home upon its creative source. When we pronounce it silently, it will therefore lead the mind away from the surface of our busy concerns, deeper and deeper inwards towards the realm of Creative Intelligence. At the same time, the nervous system is stilled and rested as in deep sleep. Needless to say, such rest is of inestimable value in our hurried and worried lives. And it provides the initial ground for all further and deeper experience.

We should also mention briefly the technique, developed, among others, by Reverend Robert Coulson, of Christian Contemplation. In this method, one of the 'I AM' phrases issued by Our Lord is used as an object for silent contemplation, much like a mantra. In the silence, one may pronounce some such sentence as: "I AM the Light", "I AM with you always", "MY PEACE I give". Such sentences, spoken silently in the mind until they impregnate the stilled consciousness, eventually become the voice of the Lord Himself speaking to us.

Given the increasing interest in meditation, it is not surprising that many people should be turning to the teachings of the East, where the technique originated. At the same time, we should note that the emergence of spiritual science in the West has produced highly significant teachings on meditation which are particularly consonant with the intellectual development of our time. These uniquely Western teachings also pertain directly to Christianity. Their basic premise is that, in opening our centres to the spiritual light, they prepare us for the influx of the divine. By opening head and heart to the light, access is granted to healing powers for the ultimate redemption of mankind. And this principle relates to all humanity, regardless of creed and colour. Through different methods of meditation, the wisdom of East and West may meet, for all religions offer facets of the truth of the Great Oneness.


Next:  14. Man Attuned – the Hope for the Future

This way! Click me and I'll take you to the next page!
A Vision of the Aquarian Age
Sir George Trevelyan


First published in 1977 by Coventure UK and in 1984 by Stillpoint USA
This book is out-of-print, available only on this website
Next page
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Start of the book
Download a zipfile
HOME
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© Copyright Sir George Trevelyan and estate, 1977 and 2001. This book may be downloaded and printed on paper in single copies for personal use and study only, in a spirit of fair play and without financial transaction. .