“Meditation is the inexpressible longing of the Inner Self for the Infinite.” In those words, H. P. Blavatsky states the essence of meditation. Yet, there are numerous other practices called “meditation” that have nothing to do with Blavatsky’s definition. Many of these practices are quite useful. Some are not; and some may actually be harmful.
BEGINNING: QUIETING THE MIND
Before choosing a practice of meditation, we might ask ourselves, “What am I trying to do?” A number of common responses to that question are these:
-Feel more peaceful.
-Get over anxiety or grief.
-Overcome pain, physical or psychological.
-Improve my health.
-Break negative habit patterns.
-Become more sensitive.
-Most would agree that all these goals are positive and helpful and that indeed they may be a consequence of meditation. Yet each one of
them is essentially a desire for self-improvement.
Now let us suppose that the ultimate goal of meditation is to merge the Inner Self with the Infinite. That sounds very abstract, but is it really? “Our hearts are ever restless till they find their rest in Thee,” says St. Augustine. In other words, the lasting peace for which we all long is to be found only in the Infinite. If we expect that meditation will provide an instant fix to our problems, we’ll be sadly disappointed. But if we practice daily meditation, we shall soon know for ourselves that we have begun the great journey home.
To begin that journey, we may first consider the terms “Inner Self” and the “Infinite.” The latter needs little definition except perhaps to say that Theosophically speaking it is the Eternal, the ground of being, “That” out of which everything finite (including ourselves) springs. The Inner Self is our own individual root in the Eternal. It is the reincarnating Self, not the transient self that we are prone to call “me.”
The “me” wants to be happy, to experience pleasure, and to avoid pain. That is not
wrong; it is inevitable, natural, and universal. Being so conditioned to thinking of
ourselves as “me,” we are apt to approach meditation
as a means to achieve personal results and spiritual pleasure. We seek it in the senates. The “me” wants personal results.