Skip to main content

August 2021, #89 A Meditation on the Past

In the Appendix to The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga [2015 edition], PB introduces the student to the ultramystic or philosophic exercises. He emphasizes that the preparatory level, ordinary mysticism, must be passed through to prepare the student for the higher level. “The possible extravagancies of exaltation or message, vision or voice can happen when the student does not adequately understand what happens to him during his mystic reverie, yogic trance, clairvoyant vision, or ecstatic absorption. These are real dangers which surround the yogi, the occultist, and the mystic which claim their victims throughout the world.… Only when his experiences are able to fall with complete comprehension into their proper place, can he hope to escape the aforementioned dangers.” (The Hidden TeachingAppendix, p. 341.) “He must have the patience to study the true metaphysical meaning of the universe, as of the Overself, to explore the mystery of time, space, matter and mind, to probe into the constitution of the human ego and to lay bare the most secret workings of his thoughts, words and acts. With the knowledge thus gained, he can proceed to test the truth, gauge the value, and regulate the course of his inner development. As the latter passes through this purifying crucible of rational metaphysical examination, he will discover how easy it is to set up mere fictions in the firm belief that they are solid facts, and how hard to keep to the straight and narrow path which leads to the sublime Overself.” (ibid. p. 343.)

Having digested this one may go on to read about the metaphysical exercises and attempt to practice them. PB warns that the aspirant may not be able to concentrate sufficiently to succeed but may try because of the possibility of grace and because it may have been practiced in another life.

From Chap. 14, The Yoga of the Discerning Mind in The Wisdom of the Overself:

This meditation [on the past] is to be practiced preferably at night just before sleep but may be practiced in the morning immediately after waking up, but effects will be lessened. Laying on the back in bed with legs outstretched one embarks on visiting the previous 24 hours, reviewing the events of the past day starting from the moment of waking, and slowly work backward through the day’s experiences and finally, try to recall dreams from the previous night. If starting in the morning one will start with dreams from the previous night and end with the previous morning’s awakening. Meditating on intensely vivid images helps to black out other images which intrude themselves and helps to strengthen the mind’s picture making power. It will suffice to pick out a few major occurrences and reflections which are important from a personal and from a philosophic point of view. It is essential for one to see the body with its actions as belonging to someone else, beholding it as moving, talking, enjoying, and suffering with a sense of being separate from it as when watching someone else. If he or she can bring their own deeds and thoughts before the impartial tribunal of the better self while adopting a detached attitude one may expose unconscious complexes and hidden motives without favoritism. This exercise develops the creative imagination and serves to impart philosophic lessons creating an effective means of self-betterment. These instructions from PB are carefully detailed and point out benefits which are long lasting. Some of the benefits are purifying motivation, educating emotions, strengthening will power and improving mental capacity. Repeated and faithful pursuit of this habit will upon its own constructions will eventually improve powers of remembrance. The philosophical purpose is realized when the student begins to understand that the past day is but a memory, a series of thought forms, not only in meditation but in actual life.

During these interludes the outside world will assume a new and amazing relation. The winding streets or lonely jungle which stretch all around will be felt as though they were like spider webs directly spun out of the inmost point of his own being. The solid walls of a house will no longer be entirely separate from him, the very ground on which he stands will no longer be merely alien substance and the living person who stands at his side is no longer a wholly separate creature. The frontiers between self and not-self which makes man a natural materialist somehow fade and fall away. Not that the particular objective forms of being vanish; they do not, but their being itself becomes strangely intimate with his own at this mysterious central point within himself. He becomes luminously aware that the mind bestows reality upon its own constructions by bestowing concentrated attention upon them, and that they are projected by the mind outward from within itself, as indeed is the whole world ( from The Wisdom of the Overself, Chapter 14).