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Chapter FOURTEEN – The Wisdom of the Overself

PB, as he often referred to the person who was known as Paul Brunton, wrote about the Overself. It is named or inferred in nearly all his writings and is

This chapter presents the student with instructions for 7 mental exercises that demand the intelligence be brought into play – a demand which is not made by the ordinary yoga methods. (WOTO, p. 337.) PB writes that these ultramystic exercises “cannot be properly done if mentalism is not correctly understood or fully accepted…” They differ in concept, purpose, spirit, and technique from the practice of meditation; indeed, he calls the practice “philosophic yoga.” The mind will be ”turned into new channels and the practices are the logical outcome of the metaphysical teaching.” Anyone can attempt these practices although “the probable inability to discriminate through metaphysical ignorance between the ultimate reality, Mind itself, and its mere products” will likely be a hindrance. However, the effort need not be a waste of time for the novice because “some are unconsciously advanced enough to start meditating on the ultramystic practices. This is a matter to be determined by experiment. Moreover, in all such operations there is always the possibility that the mysterious x-factor of grace may come into spontaneous play direct from the Overself. Therefore, even those who are still beginners may experiment with these exercises if they wish.” (Ibid. p.338.)

The practices must be done as regularly as possible with “a single sitting of about three-quarters of an hour daily or about one half-hour each morning and evening. Like all yoga practices they must be done as regularly as possible for the rhythm of patient persistent repetition. What must be impressed upon the student is that the beginning of philosophic meditation may come at unexpected moments…” when, engaged in daily business, your active life is occasionally and momentarily interrupted by the still rapt mood of these meditations. If this happens, do not neglect the precious opportunity, but yield at once to the mood. This can best be done by dropping whatever work, business, or pleasure you may be engaged in and turning attention inward to savor the sweet stillness by reflecting intelligently upon it. Three or four minutes will usually suffice… It may start into sudden effortless activity through such obvious things as the hushed quietude of sunset, the colorful sky at dawn, the appealing strains of music, or the profound lines of metaphysical prose. But it may start quite inexplicably (to the surface consciousness) in the midst of mundane work, or in the midst of trivial duties as when lacing a shoe or even when lifting a soup spoon to the mouth! You must not take a narrow pedantic and mechanical view of such meditation. You must not limit it only to set formal exercises practiced at set formal times with the tick-tock regularity of a clock, for you should understand that although you are here dealing with what is most subtle and sensitive and mysterious in your inward existence, it is nevertheless not something which is really remote and apart from outward existence. You are dealing with Mind. (pp. 339-340).

“Everyone experiences Mind at every moment in its fractional and limited form as the flowing series of thoughts. It is always there with you and within you. Only you have to open your eyes to its presence.” (p. 340)

The next e-Teaching will be focused on PB’s writing about the Meditation on the Sun.- Prepared by Barbara, PBPF Board member