A HERMIT IN THE HIMALAYAS
appears, and pass it by with silent indifference. But today I smile
forgivingly at her lack of comprehension, and wish her well. I gaze
into her eyes and bid her bitter soul find truth, and with it, sweetness
and light. Three times I bless her and then interpose a psychic wall
between me and her thoughts.
A dragon-fly glides by me on gossamer wings.
And now the chilling of the air which preludes dusk warns me to
cease my meditations and to match my physical stillness with a
mental one. I look around—the sun has begun to dip behind the
mountains, which lose their warm flush and return to shadowed
I sit in rigid repose, the while I let the world drift slowly out
of the field of awareness, tlie while I turn attention inwards. Some-
where within me dwells the Oversea0, the eternal essence, that divine
being whence I draw my life-force,
"Be still," my Master has adjured me, "and then you will know
the Overself, for God and the Overself are as one."
My breathing slows. For a single minute I fix all my attention
upon the movement of the respiration. The effect of controlling it
purposefully is to bring the in- and out-breaths into rhythm, into
cadence and quieter activity, gentlp- and less abundant.
The brain is like a wheel which endlessly revolves, picking up
fresh thoughts with every revolution. Now I watch, the wheel slow
down. The more I hold to my resolve to press attention deeply
inwards towards a central point, the more my thoughts diminish in
frequency and length. I know that I may find, in this repose of the
intellect, a way towards wisdom.
I remember what a powerful Yogi teacher, of whose attainments
I possess an extremely high opinion, once said to me. He lives in a
little room inside an ancient and picturesque temple. Whilst I sit
chairless on the floor, he reclines with half-closed eyes upon a
cotton-covered bench, from which he seldom moves. We arc talking
of the difficulty which beginners experience when attempting to
learn how to concentrate the mind. The adept remarks:
"If we assume that the average number of thoughts which
pass through a man's brain during a given period is one hundred,
and if he succeeds in reducing it by constant practice in regulation
to eighty, then we may say that he has gained the power of concentra-
tion of mind to the extent of twenty per cent. Therefore the most
direct way to obtain such concentrative power is to practise the
lessening of the number of one's thoughts."