What is meditation?
Meditation, according to the spiritual meaning of the term, is not a
process of the mind, but of the spirit. It goes through two stages: the preliminary
one which can be defined as concentration, and the final one which can be called
contemplation. Contemplation consists of gathering our attention with devotion
in God, and raising it to one's own focal Center in the body. This Center
is called by different names by the mystics, Saints and Masters. Christ calls
it the single eye (aplus in the Greek text, Mathew 6:22) and St. Agustin
calls it the "eye of the soul" (Confessions 7:10), while in the
East it is called the third eye, or "tenth door" in order
to distinguish it from the nine openings of the body (eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth
and the two lower openings) tied to the plane of the senses.
With the awakening
of the "eye of the soul" or inner eye, the human soul may contemplate
the Light of God, an experience which is common to the major mystics and Saints,
both Christians and non-Christians of the East and the Middle East. Thus all the
Scriptures affirm that God is Light. Saint Agustin and many other Saints
actually speak about the manifestation of God as Light.
The human soul also
has an inner ear with which it can tune into the Divine Power or Word vibrating
in the entire creation, the sacred creative Sound. The Divine manifestation (or
Holy Ghost), in the two forms of Celestial Light and Sound, was
experienced by the Apostles at Pentecost (Acts 2:2-4).
understanding the importance of knowing oneself, what further steps must one take
upon the Path toward God?
Our body and the physical plane are only important
because they are the dwelling of the soul through which one must find the Way
upwards by knowing oneself first of all and then Divinity. Your answer to the
question about existence and the need to turn within is therefore exact, and it
is a bit the summary of the teachings of all the great Masters of the spirit that
have come from time to time in different places.
Obviously the knowledge of
oneself as indicated by the Masters is not of a physical or mental nature since
the real Self is the divine spirit that lives in every living being. Also the
means for knowing the Self can be none other than the one of spiritual nature.
The meditation handed down by the Masters from remote epochs and that has reached
us with their grace consists of contemplating the inner Light and listening to
the sacred omnipresent Sound, the two manifestations of God Power in expression,
in order for the human soul to have the ability to "see" and "hear".
This is also called the Holy Ghost, Word, Naam, Shabd, etc., by the different
Is perhaps meditation the food for
the soul that the Scriptures talk about? And in order to practice it, is it indispensable
to achieve a state of inner abandon?
We must follow the Path with a calm
tranquil spirit. Meditation gives us full results if done by starting with the
correct degree of receptivity. Therefore we must place everything at the feet
of God and the Master so that the time we dedicate to meditation is not disturbed
by external thoughts or worries. Meditation is the Bread and the Water of the
Life that all the Scriptures talk about.
Does cultivating optimism
and joy together with love and peace help during meditation?
is to be cultivated together with love, and it is helped by a regular program
of daily meditations. The difficulties in meditations cannot be overcome through
discouragement. The Saints are the ones who were never discouraged. Only optimism
gives us the strength and vibrations necessary for expanding our consciousness
and placing us in tune with Everything. It is not the lack of experiences that
generates discouragement but (even though it seems like a paradox) it is actually
discouragement that blocks achievement of any experience. Therefore we should
sit down with optimism, faith, joy, love and cheer and this way all our energies
will flow automatically upwards and gather without effort at their focal Center,
taking us rapidly into the presence of the Light of God.
Is the experience of the
Holy Ghost received by the Apostles similar to experiences present in other traditions
and can it be a basis for meditation?
On the day of Pentecost the Apostles
achieved Divine Knowledge by means of the Holy Ghost, or God Power in expression,
which manifested itself to them as a flaming Light and a strong Sound of wind.
This double Divine manifestation, Celestial Light and Sound, is also present in
the spiritual experiences of the major mystics and Saints of various traditions.
Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, wrote, "Within you is the Light
and within the Light is the Sound and they shall unite you with God." The
practical meditation taught by an authentic Master consists of putting oneself
into contact with these two Divine Principles, Celestial Light and Sound, and
staying there as long as possible. The instructions for meditation are not given
in detail in books. Books usually only give us a hint about the procedure. Meditation
instructions are traditionally passed on verbally from Master to Master and then
accurately imparted by them to their disciples.
Did Christ teach meditation and impart specific teachings about the spiritual
Path, or did he only give a moral and social message to his followers?
Masters from the past brought a double message. The first one, for the greater
public, contained teachings of moral and social character for the betterment of
the life of man and society. The second one was reserved for a few chosen disciples
containing deeper teachings of an inner spiritual character. This is the reason
why Christ affirmed, Many are called but few are chosen, and Buddha said that
among millions of men on the Path only one reaches Knowledge.
In the Gospels
there is no specific reference made to meditation. We know that Christ spent a
lot of time in meditation, as during his stay in the desert, and, that he meditated
and prayed at night. The precise reference to meditation on the inner eye cannot
escape the careful seeker when he says, "The light of the body is the eye.
If your eye is single (aplus in the Greek text) your whole body shall fill with
Light," (Mathew 6:22). The cross traced with the sacred chrism on the forehead
at the moment of Confirmation, gives witness to the importance attributed to this
focal Center by the first Christians.
Christ opened the doors of inner experience
only to a few. On the day of Pentecost when the Holy Ghost was sent in the form
of flaming Light and the Sound of celestial wind, only a few people besides the
Apostles were benefited with this spiritual experience. Contact with the celestial
Light and Sound has always distinguished the meditation taught by an authentic
Master, or Master of the highest Order, no matter what tradition he belongs to.
What are the attributes
of Divinity and how can we realize them?
The attributes that generally
come together with Divinity are: Light, Love and Life. None of these three things
can be summarized in a formula or described. They may only be grasped through
personal experience and together they make up an indescribable Truth. Everything
that can be described or enclosed in a form, a formula, etc., may not be attributed
to the Divinity.
The invitation of all the Masters preceding us was to avoid
any symbolism and to not remain prisoners of any exterior practices which only
have the aim of developing the first steps of devotion. Truth is not something
to excite your imagination but together with Love and the Life of the soul, it
is something which can be experienced like a sea of indescribable bliss, Knowledge
and peace. God manifests Himself to the soul in the primary forms of Celestial
Light and Sound, whose contact opens the road to the highest Knowledge: Knowledge
of one's self and God. Instead the human mind is responsible for the separation
of man from God, by receiving nutriment from the ego.
Is it correct to
use the term Master to define an authentic teacher of Spirituality?
term Master in the field of Spirituality has been used for centuries all over
the world and also in the Christian tradition, for example, by St. John of the
Cross, and in the case of Master Eckhart, etc. In certain editions of the Bible
we find the exhortation not to call anyone "Master" (the original says
"Rabbi") and not to call anyone "Father" (Mathew 23:8-9).
Yet by now both of these terms have been consolidated by a long tradition that
has made them practically irreplaceable.