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July 2017 – Invitation to Reflection and Prayer

Perspectives , sometimes called Book 1 in the 16-volume collection of The Notebooks of Paul Brunton, is a survey of categories 1-28, a survey of more than 7,000 pages of notes written by Paul Brunton for posthumous publication. Studying this volume is one way of becoming acquainted with the breadth of topics PB covers. These are different from the early books in that they are sometimes written in short, disconnected paragraphs, likely meant to be read as meditations. Others are longer, requiring more words to make the point. PB called them “detached intellections.” This particular e-teaching offers some thoughts from the chapter in Perspectives entitled The Reverential Life. In the Notebooks, the same topic is addressed at length in Category 18, Volume 12, Part 2. The following quotes are from Perspectives.

“We do not feel the need of hallowing our days. That is our great loss.” (p. 220)

“To enter this stillness is the best way to pray.” (p.222)

Thanks for Thy presence and existence here and now. Praise for making life on earth more bearable and more endurable when it becomes oppressive.” (p.224.)

“At no level of his spiritual development need a man leave off the custom of prayer. The religious devotee, the mystical meditator, the metaphysical thinker, and the integrated philosopher alike need its fruits.” (p. 223)

“Meditation in a solitary place remote from the world may help others who are still in the world, but only under certain conditions. It must, for example, be deliberately directed towards named individuals. If it floats away into the general atmosphere without any thought of others, it is only a self-absorption, barren to others if profitable to oneself. It can be turned toward the spiritual assistance of anyone the practiser loves or wishes to befriend. But it should not be so turned prematurely. Before he can render real service, he must first acquire the power to do so. Before he can fruitfully pray for persons, he must first be able to draw strength from that which is above all persons. The capacity to serve must first be got before the attempt to serve is made. Therefore, he should resist the temptation to plunge straightaway into prayer or meditation on behalf of others. Instead he should wait until his worship or communion attains its highest level of being. Then–and then only–should he begin to draw from it the power and help and light to be directed altruistically towards others. Once he has developed the capacity to enter easily into the deeply absorbed state, he may then use it to help others also. Let him take the names and images of these people with him after he has passed into the state and let him hold them there for a while in the divine atmosphere.” (p.223)

How then should a man pray? Should he beg for the virtues to be given to him gratis and unearned for which other men have to strive and labour? Is it not more just to them and better in the end for himself if, instead of demanding something for nothing, he prays thus: “I turn to you, O Master, for inspiration to rise above and excel myself, but I create that inspiration by my own will. I kneel before you for guidance in the problems and decisions of life, but I receive that guidance by taking you as an example of moral perfection to be followed and copied. I call upon you for help in my weakness and difficulty, my darkness and tribulation, but I produce and shape that help by trying to absorb it telepathically from your inner being.” This is a different kind of prayer from the whining petitions often passing under that name, and whereas they seldom show direct, traceable results, this always shows them.” (p.222.)

If you contemplate these paras they will enrich your practice.