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 I started formatting The Power of Concentration this morning.  William Walker Atkinson wrote this under the pen name of Theron Q. Dumont (I wonder what the Q was intended to stand for?) in 1918.  The table of contents is laid out more like a syllabus, with lessons instead of chapters, no page numbers, and the book likely started out as a series of lessons like many other books Atkinson did.

I'll be working through this book lesson-by-lesson, with close reading and some meditation on the meatier parts, as I format it.  Anyone interested in grabbing up copies of each lesson in *.rtf rich text format (I use WordPad), drop me an email at this user name at the old gmail.
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 Just to let folks know, I have finished formatting Dynamic Thought.  I'f anyone wants copies of these, broken down into chapters with a foreword, in Wordpad *.rtf document (which ought to be read by Word and Word clones) then email me - this username at gmail.  Yeah, I am a simple creature at times.
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 Yeah, I've been quiet for a while.  I took a break to focus on sewing clothes, as my work clothes have started to fall apart.  I think I am up to tossing a handful of underwear, one pair of work jeans, with another hanging on by its last threads, and a good week's worth of old T-shirts.  At least four of those T shirts were old enough to get a driver's license!  Shirts I've bought within the last five years just don't last beyond two or three years.  The crapification of things continues ... 

Now that I have a few new things to wear, I am back to working on Dynamic Thought, or the Law of Vibrant Energy.  What I am up to now, along with re-listening to the audio and reading along in the text, is the copy-and-paste the text into a Wordpad document.  The scanned book I downloaded was/is a library copy from University of California, and after over a century it has picked up smudges and stray marks that copy funny.  Due to the nature of book printing back then, it also has narrow margins and a lot of hyphenated words, which is an annoyance for me.  I am up to chapter two today.

When I get done copying it into rich text format documents (one per chapter) I plan to print it out and literally take the red pen to it.  Yeah, I am planning to basically revise and in places rewrite it.  Since William Walker Atkinson self-published most of his books, he missed out on the benefits of a tough-as-nails editor forcing him to improve.  (Not that having an editor is a guarantee of that - Stephen King comes to mind.  I've said since the first book I've read of his way back thirty years ago that he has all the style and grace of a sixth grader.  I was in tenth grade the first time I said that.)  Not only to trim off excess verbiage, but to excise a bit of seriously outdated biases that I've mentioned previously.

I'm not sure if anyone is still reading here, but if anyone is, and wants the raw files, or is interested in my rewrite, plunk a comment down here.
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 Just a heads-up that Librivox finished up Dynamic Thought, making it the 8th completed audiobook for William Walker Atkinson.  It had been languishing in limbo when the original person who was doing it just stopped, so recently it was finished up by a group effort.  You can listen and download it here.
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 From chapter two, "The First Steps," I have added two things to my morning ritual and asana-stretches.  First:
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After one has learned to have a firm erect seat, he has to perform, according to certain schools, a practice called the purifying of the nerves. This part has been rejected by some as not belonging to Râja Yoga, but as so great an authority as the commentator, Śankarâchârya, advises it, I think it fit that it should be mentioned, and I will quote his own directions from his commentary to the Svetâśvatara Upaniṣad. “The mind whose dross has been cleared away by Prâṇâyâma, becomes fixed in Brahman; therefore Prâṇâyâma is pointed out. First the nerves are to be purified, then comes the power to practise Prâṇâyâma. Stopping the right nostril with the thumb, with the left nostril fill in air, according to one’s capacity; then, without any interval, throw the air out through the right nostril, closing the left one. Again inhaling through the right nostril eject through the left, according to capacity; practising this three or five times at four intervals of the day, before dawn, during midday, in the evening, and at midnight, in fifteen days or a month purity of the nerves is attained; then begins Prâṇâyâma.”
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I do this prior to my morning sun salutations, and added it about two weeks ago.  Then I embedded this into my morning cleansing -and-protection ritual shortly after:
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Sit in a straight posture, and the first thing to do is to send a current of holy thought to all creation; mentally repeat: “Let all beings be happy; let all beings be peaceful; let all beings be blissful.” So do to the East, South, North and West. The more you do that the better you will feel yourself. You will find at last that the easiest way to make yourselves healthy is to see that others are healthy, and the easiest way to make yourselves happy is to see that others are happy.
===
I have a LOT of notes just from the preface and first two chapters, but I should probably get back to the main focus of the discussion: the writings of William Walker Atkinson, with my focus on the books he wrote under the pen name Yogi Ramacharaka.  I don't think he started with Swami Vivekananda's Raja Yoga, and I will be reading the Swami's other books, which are all just transcriptions of lectures he gave.  I'll just be keeping notes, and refer to things when appropriate.
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 I think I am beginning to get the hang of how subtitles of books in this era are phrased.  Like Patanjali, Swami Vivekananda offers some very basic absolute-beginner level advice on meditation.
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How hard it is to control the mind. Well has it been compared to the maddened monkey. There was a monkey, restless by his own nature, as all monkeys are. As if that were not enough someone made him drink freely of wine, so that he became still more restless. Then a scorpion stung him. When a man is stung by a scorpion he jumps about for a whole day, so the poor monkey found his condition worse than ever. To complete his misery a demon entered into him. What language can describe the uncontrollable restlessness of that monkey? The human mind is like that monkey; incessantly active by its own nature, then it becomes drunk with the wine of desire, thus increasing its turbulence. After desire takes possession comes the sting of the scorpion of jealousy of others whose desires meet with fulfilment, and last of all the demon of pride takes possession of the mind, making it think itself of all importance. How hard to control such a mind.

The first lesson, then, is to sit for some time and let the mind run on. The mind is bubbling up all the time. It is like that monkey jumping about. Let the monkey jump as much as he can; you simply wait and watch. Knowledge is power says the proverb, and that is true. Until you know what the mind is doing you cannot control it. Give it the full length of the reins; many most hideous thoughts may come into it; you will be astonished that it was possible for you to think such thoughts. But you will find that each day the mind’s vagaries are becoming less and less violent, that each day it is becoming calmer. In the first few months you will find that the mind will have a thousand thoughts, later you will find that it is toned down to perhaps seven hundred, and after a few more months it will have fewer and fewer, until at last it will be under perfect control, but we must patiently practise every day. As soon as the steam is turned on the engine must run, and as soon as things are before us we must perceive; so a man, to prove that he is not a machine, must demonstrate that he is under the control of nothing. This controlling of the mind, and not allowing it to join itself to the centres, is Pratyâhâra. How is this practised? It is a long work, not to be done in a day. Only after a patient, continuous struggle for years can we succeed.
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 Also from chapter two, The First Steps, Swami Vivekananda introduces the topic of pranayama - usually translated as "breath control" - and tells an interesting little parable that likely applies to more than just pranayama.
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Returning to our subject, we come next to Prâṇâyâma, controlling the breathing. What has that to do with concentrating the powers of the mind? Breath is like the fly‑wheel of this machine. In a big engine you find the fly‑wheel  first moving, and that motion is conveyed to finer and finer machinery, until the most delicate and finest mechanism in the machine is in motion in accordance. This breath is that fly‑wheel, supplying and regulating the motive power to everything in this body.

There was once a minister to a great king. He fell into disgrace, and the king as a punishment, ordered him to be shut up in the top of a very high tower. This was done, and the minister was left there to perish. He had a faithful wife, however, and at night she came to the tower and called to her husband at the top to know what she could do to help him. He told her to return to the tower the following night and bring with her a long rope, a stout twine, a pack thread, a silken thread, a beetle, and a little honey. Wondering much, the good wife obeyed her husband, and brought him the desired articles. The husband directed her to attach the silken thread firmly to the beetle, then to smear his horns with a drop of honey, and to set him free on the wall of the tower, with his head pointing upwards. She obeyed all these instructions, and the beetle started on his long journey. Smelling the honey before him he slowly crept onwards and onwards, in the hope of reaching it, until at last he reached the top of the tower, when the minister grasped the beetle, and got possession of the silken thread. He told his wife to tie the other end to the pack thread, and after he had drawn up the pack thread, he repeated the process with the stout twine, and lastly with the rope. Then the rest was easy. The minister descended from the tower by means of the rope, and made his escape. In this body of ours the breath motion is the “silken thread,” and laying hold of that, and learning to control it we grasp the pack thread of the nerve currents, and from these the stout twine of our thoughts, and lastly the rope of Prâṇa, controlling which we reach freedom.
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I like Swami Vivekananda's illustrative metaphors - then again, I have replaced a transmission and helped attach it to the flywheel.
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 I'll be referring back to this later when I get into William Walker Atkinson's A Series of Lessons in Raja Yoga again.  This is from chapter two, "The First Steps," in Swami Vivekananda's Raja Yoga:
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A god and a demon went to learn about the Self from a great sage. They studied with him for a long time, and at last the sage told them, “Thou thyself art the being thou art seeking.” Both of them thought that their bodies were the Self. “We have got everything,” they said, and both of them returned to their people and said, “We have learned everything that is to be learned; eat, drink, and be merry;  we are the Self; there is nothing beyond us.” The nature of the demon was ignorant, clouded, so he never inquired any further, but was perfectly satisfied with the idea that he was God, that by the Self was meant the body. But the god had a purer nature. He at first committed the mistake of thinking, “I, this body, am Brahman, so keep it strong and in health, and well‑dressed, and give it all sorts of bodily enjoyments.” But, in a few days, he found out that this could not be the meaning of the sage, their master; there must be something higher. So he came back and said, “Sir, did you teach me that this body is the Self? If so, I see all bodies die; the Self cannot die.” The sage said, “Find it out; thou art That.” Then the god thought that the vital forces which work the body were what the sage meant. But, after a time, he found that if he ate, these vital forces remained strong, but, if he starved, they became weak. The god then went back to the sage and said, “Sir, do you mean that the vital forces are the Self?” The sage said, “Find out for yourself; thou art That.” The god returned once more, and thought that it was the mind; perhaps that is the Self. But in a few days he reflected that thoughts are so various; now good, now bad; the mind is too changeable to be the Self. He went back to the sage and said, “Sir, I do not think that the mind is the Self; did you mean that?” “No,” replied the sage, “thou art That; find out for yourself.” The god went back, and, at last, found that he was the Self, beyond all thought; One, without birth or death, whom the sword cannot pierce, or the fire burn, whom the air cannot dry, or the water melt, the beginningless and birthless, the immovable, the intangible, the omniscient, the omnipotent Being, and that it was neither the body nor the mind, but beyond them all. So he was satisfied, but the poor demon did not get the truth, owing to his fondness for the body.
===
I'll be posting a couple more stories, each individual.
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 Kicking off the third chapter of Swami Vivekananda's Raja Yoga is this interesting discussion of what makes up the universe:
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According to the philosophers of India, the whole universe is composed of two materials, one of which they call Âkâśa. It is the omnipresent, all penetrating existence. Everything that has form, everything that is the result of compounds, is evolved out of this Âkâśa. It is the Âkâśa that becomes the air, that becomes the liquids, that becomes the solids; it is the Âkâśa that becomes the sun, the earth, the moon, the stars, the comets; it is the Âkâśa that becomes the body, the animal body, the plants, every form that we see, everything that can be sensed, everything that exists. It itself cannot be perceived; it is so subtle that it is beyond all ordinary perception; it can only be seen when it has become gross, has taken form. At the beginning of creation there is only this Âkâśa; at the end of the cycle the solids, the liquids, and the gases all melt into the Âkâśa again, and the next creation similarly proceeds out of this Âkâśa.
 
By what power is this Âkâśa manufactured into this universe? By the power of Prâna. Just as Âkâśa is the infinite omnipresent material of this universe, so is this Prâna the infinite, omnipresent manifesting power of this universe. At the beginning and at the end of a cycle everything becomes Âkâśa, and all the forces that are in the universe resolve back into the Prâna; in the next cycle, out of this Prâna is evolved everything that we call energy, everything that we call force. It is the Prâna that is manifesting as motion; it is the Prâna that is manifesting as gravitation, as magnetism. It is the Prâna that is manifesting as the actions of the body, as the nerve currents, as thought force. From thought, down to the lowest physical force, everything is but the manifestation of Prâna. The sum‑total of all force in the universe, mental or physical, when resolved back to its original state, is called Prâna. “When there was neither aught nor naught, when darkness was covering darkness, what existed then? That Âkâśa existed without motion.” The physical motion of the Prâna was stopped, but it existed all the same. All the energies that are now displayed in the universe we know, by modern science, are unchangeable. The sum‑total of the energies in the universe remains the same throughout, only, at the end of a cycle, these energies quiet down, become potential, and, at the beginning of the next cycle, they start up, strike upon the Âkâśa, and out of the Âkâśa evolve these various forms, and, as the Âkâśa changes, this Prâna changes also into all these manifestations of energy. 
===
Anyone else following along with JMG on his book club discussion of Dion Fortune's The Cosmic Doctrine?  I immediately sat up as I read through this the first time.  The lectures that make up Raja Yoga were transcribed in 1895-96, published in 1896, and Swami Vivekananda was quite the sensation here in the US and Europe, as well as in India.  His teachings were very popular with Spiritualists, New Thought, and Theosophists.
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 Now to wrap up with the mental magic portion of the Yoga Sutras in Book Three, plus the first sutra of Book Four.
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47. Mastery over the powers of perception and action comes through perfectly concentrated Meditation on their fivefold forms; namely, their power to grasp, their distinctive nature, the element of self-consciousness in them, their inherence, and their purposiveness.
Take, for example, sight. This possesses, first, the power to grasp, apprehend, perceive; second, it has its distinctive form of perception; that is, visual perception ; third, it always carries with its operations self-consciousness, the thought : "I perceive"; fourth, sight has the power of extension through the whole field of vision, even to the utmost star; fifth, it is used for the purposes of the Seer. So with the other senses. Perfectly concentrated Meditation on each sense, a viewing it from behind and within, as is possible for the spiritual man, brings a mastery of the scope and true character of each sense, and of the world on which they report collectively.
 
48. Thence comes the power swift as thought, independent of instruments, and the mastery over matter.
We are further enumerating the endowments of the spiritual man. Among these is the power to traverse space with the swiftness of thought, so that whatever place the spiritual man thinks of, to that he goes, in that place he already is. Thought has now become his means of locomotion. He is, therefore, independent of instruments, and can bring his force to bear directly, wherever he wills.
 
52. From perfectly concentrated Meditation on the divisions of time and their succession comes that wisdom which is born of discernment.
The Upanishads say of the liberated that "he has passed beyond the triad of time"; he no longer sees life as projected into past, present and future, since these are forms of the mind; but beholds all things spread out in the quiet light of the Eternal. This would seem to be the same thought, and to point to that clear-eyed spiritual perception which is above time; that wisdom born of the unveiling of Time's delusion. Then shall the disciple live neither in the present nor the future, but in the Eternal.
 
53. Hence comes discernment between things which are of like nature, not distinguished by difference of kind, character or position.
Here, as also in the preceding Sutra, we are close to the doctrine that distinctions of order, time and space are creations of the mind; the threefold prism through which the real object appears to us distorted and refracted. When the prism is withdrawn, the object returns to its primal unity, no longer distinguishable by the mind, yet clearly knowable by that high power of spiritual discernment, of illumination, which is above the mind.
 
54. The wisdom which is born of discernment is starlike; it discerns all things, and all conditions of things, it discerns without succession: simultaneously.
That wisdom, that intuitive, divining power is starlike, says the commentator, because it shines with its own light, because it rises on high, and illumines all things. Nought is hidden from it, whether things past, things present, or things to come ; for it is beyond the three-fold form of time, so that all things are spread before it together, in the single light of the divine. This power has been beautifully described by Columba: "Some there are, though very few, to whom Divine grace has granted this: that they can clearly and most distinctly see, at one and the same moment, as though under one ray of the sun, even the entire circuit of the whole world with its surroundings of ocean and sky, the inmost part of their mind being marvellously enlarged."

I. Psychic and spiritual powers may be inborn, or they may be gained by the use of drugs, or by incantations, or by fervour, or by Meditation.
Spiritual powers have been enumerated and described in the preceding sections. They are the normal powers of the spiritual man, the antetype, the divine edition, of the powers of the natural man. Through these powers, the spiritual man stands, sees, hears, speaks, in the spiritual world, as the physical man stands, sees, hears, speaks in the natural world.
There is a counterfeit presentment of the spiritual man, in the world of dreams, a shadow lord of shadows, who has his own dreamy powers of vision, of hearing, of movement; he has left the natural without reaching the spiritual. He has set forth from the shore, but has not gained the further verge of the river. He is borne along by the stream, with no foothold on either shore. Leaving the actual, he has fallen short of the real, caught in the limbo of vanities and delusions. The cause of this aberrant phantasm is always the worship of a false, vain self, the lord of dreams, within one's own breast. This is the psychic man, lord of delusive and bewildering psychic powers.
Spiritual powers, like intellectual or artistic gifts, may be inborn: the fruit, that is, of seeds planted and reared with toil in a former birth. So also the powers of the psychic man may be inborn, a delusive harvest from seeds of delusion.
Psychical powers may be gained by drugs, as poverty, shame, debasement may be gained by the self-same drugs. In their action, they are baneful, cutting the man off from consciousness of the restraining power of his divine nature, so that his forces break forth exuberant, like the laughter of drunkards, and he sees and hears things delusive. While sinking, he believes that he has risen; growing weaker, he thinks himself full of strength; beholding illusions, he takes them to be true.
Such are the powers gained by drugs; they are wholly psychic, since the real powers, the spiritual, can never be so gained.
Incantations are affirmations of half-truths concerning spirit and matter, what is and what is not, which work upon the mind and slowly build up a wraith of powers and a delusive well-being. These, too, are of the psychic realm of dreams.
Lastly, there are the true powers of the spiritual man, built up and realized in Meditation, through reverent obedience to spiritual law, to the pure conditions of being, in the divine realm.
===
And there we have it; the original source for all things yoga.  I'll be referring back to these quoted sutras from time to time as I go through William Walker Atkinson's Yogi Ramacharaka books.

But first, one more background book: Swami Vivekananda's Raja Yoga.
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 After a bit of philosophy in the middle, Book Three returns to more mental magic:
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36. Thereupon are born the divine power of intuition, and the hearing, the touch, the vision, the taste and the power of smell of the spiritual man.
When, in virtue of the perpetual sacrifice of the personal man, daily and hourly giving his life for his divine brother the spiritual man, and through the radiance ever pouring down from the Higher Self, eternal in the Heavens, the spiritual man comes to birth,—there awake in him those powers whose physical counterparts we know in the personal man. The spiritual man begins to see, to hear, to touch, to taste. And, besides the senses of the spiritual man, there awakes his mind, that divine counterpart of the mind of the physical man, the power of direct and immediate knowledge, the power of spiritual intuition, of divination. This power, as we have seen, owes its virtue to the unity, the continuity, of consciousness, whereby whatever is known to any consciousness, is knowable by any other consciousness. Thus the consciousness of the spiritual man, who lives above our narrow barriers of separateness, is in intimate touch with the consciousness of the great Companions, and can draw on that vast reservoir for all real needs. Thus arises within the spiritual man that certain knowledge which is called intuition, divination, illumination.
 
37. These powers stand in contradistinction to the highest spiritual vision. In manifestation they are called magical powers.
The divine man is destined to supersede the spiritual man, as the spiritual man supersedes the natural man. Then the disciple becomes a Master. The opened powers of the spiritual man, spiritual vision, hearing, and touch, stand, therefore, in contradistinction to the higher divine power above them, and must in no wise be regarded as the end of the way, for the path has no end, but rises ever to higher and higher glories; the soul's growth and splendour have no limit. So that, if the spiritual powers we have been considering are regarded as in any sense final, they are a hindrance, a barrier to the far higher powers of the divine man. But viewed from below, from the standpoint of normal physical experience, they are powers truly magical; as the powers natural to a four-dimensional being will appear magical to a three-dimensional being.
 
39. Through mastery of the upward-life comes freedom from the dangers of water, morass, and thorny places, and the power of ascension is gained.
Here is one of the sentences, so characteristic of this author, and, indeed, of the Eastern spirit, in which there is an obvious exterior meaning, and, within this, a clear interior meaning, not quite so obvious, but far more vital.
The surface meaning is, that by mastery of a certain power, called here the upward-life, and akin to levitation, there comes the ability to walk on water, or to pass over thorny places without wounding the feet.
But there is a deeper meaning. When we speak of the disciple's path as a path of thorns, we use a symbol; and the same symbol is used here. The upward-life means something more than the power, often manifested in abnormal psychical experiences, of levitating the physical body, or near-by physical objects. It means the strong power of aspiration, of upward will, which first builds, and then awakes the spiritual man, and finally transfers the conscious individuality to him; for it is he who passes safely over the waters of death and rebirth, and is not pierced by the thorns in the path. Therefore it is said that he who would tread the path of power must look for a home in the air, and afterwards in the ether.
Of the upward-life, this is written in the Katha Upanishad: "A hundred and one are the heart's channels; of these one passes to the crown. Going up this, he comes to the immortal." This is the power of ascension spoken of in the Sutra.
 
40. By mastery of the binding-life comes radiance.
In the Upanishads, it is said that this binding-life unites the upward-life to the downward-life, and these lives have their analogues in the "vital breaths" in the body. The thought in the text seems to be, that, when the personality is brought thoroughly under control of the spiritual man, through the life-currents which bind them together, the personality is endowed with a new force, a strong personal magnetism, one might call it, such as is often an appanage of genius.
But the text seems to mean more than this, and to have in view the "vesture of the colour of the sun" attributed by the Upanishads to the spiritual man; that vesture which a disciple has thus described: "The Lord shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body"; perhaps "body of radiance" would better translate the Greek.
In both these passages, the teaching seems to be, that the body of the full-grown spiritual man is radiant or luminous,—for those, at least, who have anointed their eyes with eye-salve, so that they see.
 
41. From perfectly concentrated Meditation on the correlation of hearing and the ether, comes the power of spiritual hearing.
Physical sound, we are told, is carried by the air, or by water, iron, or some medium on the same plane of substance. But there is a finer hearing, whose medium of transmission would seem to be the ether; perhaps not that ether which carries light, heat and magnetic waves, but, it may be, the far finer ether through which the power of gravity works.
For, while light or heat or magnetic waves, travelling from the sun to the earth, take eight minutes for the journey, it is mathematically certain that the pull of gravitation does not take as much as eight seconds, or even the eighth of a second. The pull of gravitation travels, it would seem "as quick as thought"; so it may well be that, in thought transference or telepathy, the thoughts travel by the same way, carried by the same "thought-swift" medium.
The transfer of a word by telepathy is the simplest and earliest form of the "divine hearing" of the spiritual man; as that power grows, and as, through perfectly concentrated Meditation, the spiritual man comes into more complete mastery of it, he grows able to hear and clearly distinguish the speech of the great Companions, who counsel and comfort him on his way. They may speak to him either in wordless thoughts, or in perfectly definite words and sentences.
 
42. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on the correlation of the body with the ether, and by thinking of it as light as thistle-down, will come the power to traverse the ether.
 It has been said that he who would tread the path of power must look for a home in the air, and afterwards in the ether. This would seem to mean, besides the constant injunction to detachment, that he must be prepared to inhabit first a psychic, and then an etheric body; the former being the body of dreams; the latter, the body of the spiritual man, when he wakes up on the other side of dreamland. The gradual accustoming of the consciousness to its new etheric vesture, its gradual acclimatization, so to speak, in the etheric body of the spiritual man, is what our text seems to contemplate.
 
44. Mastery of the elements comes from perfectly concentrated Meditation on their five forms: the gross, the elemental, the subtle, the inherent, the purposive.
These five forms are analogous to those recognized by modern physics : solid, liquid, gaseous, radiant and ionic. When the piercing vision of the awakened spiritual man is directed to the forms of matter, from within, as it were, from behind the scenes, then perfect mastery over the "beggarly elements" is attained. This is, perhaps, equivalent to the injunction : "Inquire of the earth, the air, and the water, of the secrets they hold for you. The development of your inner senses will enable you to do this."
 
45. Thereupon will come the manifestation of the atomic and other powers, which are the endowment of the body, together with its unassailable force.
The body in question is, of course, the etheric body of the spiritual man. He is said to possess eight powers : the atomic, the power of assimilating himself with the nature of the atom, which will, perhaps, involve the power to disintegrate material forms; the power of levitation; the power of limitless extension; the power of boundless reach, so that, as the commentator says, "he can touch the moon with the tip of his finger"; the power to accomplish his will; the power of gravitation, the correlative of levitation; the power of command; the power of creative will. These are the endowments of the spiritual man. Further, the spiritual body is unassailable. Fire burns it not, water wets it not, the sword cleaves it not, dry winds parch it not. And, it is said, the spiritual man can impart something of this quality and temper to his bodily vesture.
 
46. Shapeliness, beauty, force, the temper of the diamond: these are the endowments of that body.
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This set of sutras seems to be discussing the "extrasensory" powers like clairvoyance, clairaudience, astral projection, and either the etheric or astral body in general.  Just a note on sutra 46 - the translator's comment is simply a Bible quote.  Nothing from the tenth century commentary or any others.

I have just about half a dozen more left to highlight, then I will be commenting on Swami Vivekananda's Yoga Philosophy: Lectures on Râja Yoga
or Conquering the Internal Nature also Patanjali’s Yoga Aphorisms, with Commentaries. Delivered in New York, Winter of 1895–96.  This is most likely to be William Walker Atkinson's source material, as Swami Vivekananda was quite the sensation in the US as well as Europe following his presentation at the Chicago Parliament of the World Religions in 1893.  Atkinson also dedicates his first book written under the Yogi Ramacharaka name, The Science of Breath, to Swami Vivekananda.

I've started reading Vivekananda's Raja Yoga, and just from the preface and first two chapters I can easily see how it would have grabbed Atkinson's imagination.  I am tempted to skip to Vivekananda's translations and commentary on the Yoga Sutras (translated as "aphorisms") to see how an Indian native's translation differs from Johnston's translation, who seems to have been British.  We'll see how well I hold up against this temptation.

This may seem like a tangent, but I see this as getting a good solid background for the Yogi Ramacharaka books.  Reading through the actual Yoga Sutras has shown me that there is so much more to yoga than what is taught at the little local fitness center.  The instructions on meditation didn't surprise me, but all the mental magic and occult philosophy sure did.  I was also expecting a LOT more about the asanas (postures) and pranayama (breath/life-force control) than the few sutras each.  I do wonder if it would affect yoga's popularity if all of yoga was taught, instead of only the physical side.
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 I say "some" because there are bits and pieces scattered throughout regarding the Spiritual Self (translated as Man, of course) and how to find and eventually liberate said Spiritual Self from the cycle of death and rebirth.  As I mentioned yesterday, Patanjali wrote about 23 centuries ago, which was smack dab in the middle of the "escape" religious sensibility (as the Archdruid wrote about on his old blog) between the Buddha (circa 500 BCE) and Jesus.  So, in Books One, Two, and Four most of the magical philosophy is couched in terms like sorrow, bondage, and liberation.  Some of that is also found in Book Three, of course, but we also find a bit of interesting occult magic philosophy as well:
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26. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on the sun comes a knowledge of the worlds.
This has several meanings: First, by a knowledge of the constitution of the sun, astronomers can understand the kindred nature of the stars. And it is said that there is a finer astronomy, where the spiritual man is the astronomer. But the sun also means the Soul, and through knowledge of the Soul comes a knowledge of the realms of life.
 
27. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on the moon comes a knowledge of the lunar mansions.
Here again are different meanings. The moon is, first, the companion planet, which, each day, passes backward through one mansion of the stars. By watching the moon, the boundaries of the mansion are learned, with their succession in the great time-dial of the sky. But the moon also symbolizes the analytic mind, with its divided realms; and these, too, may be understood through perfectly concentrated Meditation.
 
28. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on the fixed pole-star comes a knowledge of the motions of the stars.
Addressing Duty, stern daughter of the Voice of God, Wordsworth finely said :
Thou dost preserve the stars from wrong,
And the most ancient heavens through thee are fresh and strong—
thus suggesting a profound relation between the moral powers and the powers that rule the worlds. So in this Sutra the fixed polestar is the eternal spirit about which all things move, as well as the star toward which points the axis of the earth. ' Deep mysteries attend both, and the veil of mystery is only to be raised by Meditation, by open-eyed vision of the awakened spiritual man.
 
29. Perfectly concentrated Meditation on the center of force in the lower trunk brings an understanding of the order of the bodily powers.
We are coming to a vitally important part of the teaching of Yoga: namely, the spiritual man's attainment of full self-consciousness, the awakening of the spiritual man as a self-conscious individual, behind and above the natural man. In this awakening, and in the process of gestation which precedes it, there is a close relation with the powers of the natural man, which are, in a certain sense, the projection, outward and downward, of the powers of the spiritual man. This is notably true of that creative power of the spiritual man which, when embodied in the natural man, becomes the power of generation. Not only is this power the cause of the continuance of the bodily race of mankind, but further, in the individual, it is the key to the dominance of the personal life. Rising, as it were, through the life-channels of the body, it flushes the personality with physical force, and maintains and colours the illusion that the physical life is the dominant and all-important expression of life. In due time, when the spiritual man has begun to take form, the creative force will be drawn off, and become operative in building the body of the spiritual man, just as it has been operative in the building of physical bodies, through generation in the natural world.
Perfectly concentrated Meditation on the nature of this force means, first, that rising of the consciousness into the spiritual world, already described, which gives the one sure foothold for Meditation; and then, from that spiritual point of vantage, not only an insight into the creative force, in its spiritual and physical aspects, but also a gradually attained control of this wonderful force, which will mean its direction to the body of the spiritual man, and its gradual withdrawal from the body of the natural man, until the over-pressure, so general and such a fruitful source of misery in our day, is abated, and purity takes the place of passion. This over-pressure, which is the cause of so many evils and so much of human shame, is an abnormal, not a natural, condition. It is primarily due to spiritual blindness, to blindness regarding the spiritual man, and ignorance even of his existence; for by this blind ignorance are closed the channels through which, were they open, the creative force could flow into the body of the spiritual man, there building up an immortal vesture. There is no cure for blindness, with its consequent over-pressure and attendant misery and shame, but spiritual vision, spiritual aspiration, sacrifice, the new birth from above. There is no other way to lighten the burden, to lift the misery and shame from human life. Therefore, let us follow after sacrifice and aspiration, let us seek the light. In this way only shall we gain that insight into the order of the bodily powers, and that mastery of them, which this Sutra implies.
 
30. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on the centre of force in the well of the throat, there comes the cessation of hunger and thirst.
We are continuing the study of the bodily powers and centres of force in their relation to the powers and forces of the spiritual man.  We have already considered the dominant power of physical life, the creative power which secures the continuance of physical life; and, further, the manner in which, through aspiration and sacrifice, it is gradually raised and set to the work of upbuilding the body of the spiritual man. We come now to the dominant psychic force, the power which manifests itself in speech, and in virtue of which the voice may carry so much of the personal magnetism, endowing the orator with a tongue of fire, magical in its power to arouse and rule the emotions of his hearers. This emotional power, this distinctively psychical force, is the cause of "hunger and thirst," the psychical hunger and thirst for sensations, which is the source of our two-sided life of emotionalism, with its hopes and fears, its expectations and memories, its desires and hates.  The source of this psychical power, or, perhaps we should say, its centre of activity in the physical body is said to be in the cavity of the throat. Thus, in the Taittiriya Upanishad it is written: "There is this shining ether in the inner being. Therein is the spiritual man, formed through thought, immortal, golden. Inward, in the palate, the organ that hangs down like a nipple,—this is the womb of Indra. And there, where the dividing of the hair turns, extending upward to the crown of the head."
Indra is the name given to the creative power of which we have spoken, and which, we are told, resides in "the organ which hangs down like a nipple, inward, in the palate."
 
31. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on the centre of force in the channel called the "tortoise-formed," comes steadfastness.
We are concerned now with the centre of nervous or psychical force below the cavity of the throat, in the chest, in which is felt the sensation of fear; the centre, the disturbance of which sets the heart beating miserably with dread, or which produces that sense of terror through which the heart is said to stand still.
When the truth concerning fear is thoroughly mastered, through spiritual insight into the immortal, fearless life, then this force is perfectly controlled; there is no more fear, just as, through the control of the psychic power which works through the nerve-centre in the throat, there comes a cessation of "hunger and thirst." Thereafter, these forces, or their spiritual prototypes, are turned to the building of the spiritual man.
Always, it must be remembered, the victory is first a spiritual one ; only later does it bring control of the bodily powers.
 
32. Through perfectly concentrated Meditation on the light in the head comes the vision of the Masters who have attained.
The tradition is, that there is a certain centre of force in the head, perhaps the "pineal gland," which some of our Western philosophers have supposed to be the dwelling of the soul,—a centre which is, as it were, the doorway between the natural and the spiritual man. It is the seat of that better and wiser consciousness behind the outward looking consciousness in the forward part of the head; that better and wiser consciousness of "the back of the mind," which views spiritual things, and seeks to impress the spiritual view on the outward looking consciousness in the forward part of the head. It is the spiritual man seeking to guide the natural man, seeking to bring the natural man to concern himself with the things of his immortality. This is suggested in the words of the Upanishad already quoted : "There, where the dividing of the hair turns, extending upward to the crown of the head"; all of which may sound very fantastical, until one comes to understand it.
It is said that when this power is fully awakened, it brings a vision of the great Companions of the spiritual man, those who have already attained, crossing over to the further shore of the sea of death and rebirth. Perhaps it is to this divine sight that the Master alluded, who is reported to have said : "I counsel you to buy of me eye-salve, that you may see." It is of this same vision of the great Companions, the children of light, that a seer wrote:
"Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither,
Can in a moment travel thither,
And see the Children sport upon the shore
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore."
 
33. Or through the divining power of intuition he knows all things.
This is really the supplement, the spiritual side, of the Sutra just translated. Step by step, as the better consciousness, the spiritual view, gains force in the back of the mind, so, in the same measure, the spiritual man is gaining the power to see : learning to open the spiritual eyes. When the eyes are fully opened, the spiritual man beholds the great Companions standing about him; he has begun to "know all things."
This divining power of intuition is the power which lies above and behind the so-called rational mind ; the rational mind formulates a question and lays it before the intuition, which gives a real answer, often immediately distorted by the rational mind, yet always embodying a kernel of truth. It is by this process, through which the rational mind brings questions to the intuition for solution, that the truths of science are reached, the flashes of discovery and genius. But this higher power need not work in subordination to the so-called rational mind, it may act directly, as full illumination, "the vision and the faculty divine."
 
34. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on the heart, the interior being, comes the knowledge of consciousness.
The heart here seems to mean, as it so often does in the Upanishads, the interior, spiritual nature, the consciousness of the spiritual man, which is related to the heart, and to the wisdom of the heart. By steadily seeking after, and finding, the consciousness of the spiritual man, by coming to consciousness as the spiritual man, a perfect knowledge of consciousness will be attained. For the consciousness of the spiritual man has this divine quality: while being and remaining a truly individual consciousness, it at the same time flows over, as it were, and blends with the Divine Consciousness above and about it, the consciousness of the great Companions; and by showing itself to be one with the Divine Consciousness, it reveals the nature of all consciousness, the secret that all consciousness is One and Divine.
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A couple notes: sutras 29 through 32 are talking about chakras.  This is probably a good place to mention the translator, Charles Johnston, published the individual Books in the Theosophical journal as he finished each one, and sounds very much a Theosopher.  This sort of put a line under the mental magic and philosophy sections here in Book Three, but it also may distort a few things because he saw through the Theosophy lens.  Reminder, the italicized phrases are the actual sutras, while unitalicized are the commentary either from the tenth century or from the translator himself.
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 This was not what I expected to find, but it is certainly in there!  When I remarked a couple months ago that Atkinson's A Series of Lessons in Raja Yoga "may not be raja yoga as Patanjali laid out," I was showing my ignorance.  What we most often are taught here in the States as yoga only covers about a dozen sutras from Book Two, and occasionally the first handful of sutras on attention, meditation, and concentration from Book Three.  Venture beyond those sutras, and you end up in the mental magic territory ... along very similar lines as Mind Power, even.  Some examples:
 
16. Through perfectly concentrated Meditation on the three stages of development comes a knowledge of past and future.
We have taken our illustrations from natural science, because, since every true discovery in natural science is a divination of a law in nature, attained through a flash of genius, such discoveries really represent acts of spiritual perception, acts of perception by the spiritual man, even though they are generally not so recognized.
So we may once more use the same illustration. Perfectly concentrated Meditation, perfect insight into the chrysalis, reveals the caterpillar that it has been, the butterfly that it is destined to be. He who knows the seed, knows the seed-pod or ear it has come from, and the plant that is to come from it.
So in like manner he who really knows today, and the heart of to-day, knows its parent yesterday and its child to-morrow. Past, present and future are all in the Eternal. He who dwells in the Eternal knows all three.

17. The sound and the object and the thought called up by a word are confounded because they are all blurred together in the mind. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on the distinction between them, there comes an understanding of the sounds uttered by all beings.
It must be remembered that we are speaking of perception by the spiritual man.
Sound, like every force, is the expression of a power of the Eternal. Infinite shades of this power are expressed in the infinitely varied tones of sound. He who, having entry to the consciousness of the Eternal knows the essence of this power, can divine the meanings of all sounds, from the voice of the insect to the music of the spheres.
In like manner, he who has attained to spiritual vision can perceive the mind-images in the thoughts of others, with the shade of feeling which goes with them, thus reading their thoughts as easily as he hears their words. Every one has the germ of this power, since difference of tone will give widely differing meanings to the same words, meanings which are intuitively perceived by everyone.

18. When the mind-impressions become visible, there comes an understanding of previous births.
This is simple enough if we grasp the truth of rebirth. The fine harvest of past experiences is drawn into the spiritual nature, forming, indeed, the basis of its development.
When the consciousness has been raised to a point above these fine subjective impressions, and can look down upon them from above, this will in itself be a remembering of past births.

19. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on mind-images is gained the understanding of the thoughts of others.
Here, for those who can profit by it, is the secret of thought-reading. Take the simplest case of intentional thought transference. It is the testimony of those who have done this, that the perceiving mind must be stilled, before the mind-image projected by the other mind can be seen. With it comes a sense of the feeling and temper of the other mind and so on, in higher degrees.

20. But since that on which the thought in the mind of another rests is not objective to the thought-reader's consciousness, he perceives the thought only, and not also that on which the thought rests.
The meaning appears to be simple : One may be able to perceive the thoughts of someone at a distance; one cannot, by that means alone, also perceive the external surroundings of that person, which arouse these thoughts.

21. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on the form of the body, by arresting the body's perceptibility, and by inhibiting the eye's power of sight, there comes the power to make the body invisible.
There are many instances of the exercise of this power, by mesmerists, hypnotists and the like; and we may simply call it an instance of the power of suggestion. Shankara tells us that by this power the popular magicians of the East perform their wonders, working on the mind-images of others, while remaining invisible themselves. It is all a question of being able to see and control the mind-images.

23. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on sympathy, compassion and kindness, is gained the power of interior union with others.
Unity is the reality; separateness the illusion. The nearer we come to reality, the nearer we come to unity of heart. Sympathy, compassion, kindness are modes of this unity, of heart, whereby we rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. These things are learned by desiring to learn them.

24. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on power, even such power as that of the elephant may be gained.
This is a pretty image. Elephants possess not only force, but poise and fineness of control. They can lift a straw, a child, a tree with perfectly judged control and effort. So the simile is a good one. By detachment, by withdrawing into the soul's reservoir of power, we can gain all these, force and fineness and poise; the ability to handle with equal mastery things small and great, concrete and abstract alike.

25. By bending upon them the awakened inner light, there comes a knowledge of things subtle, or concealed, or obscure.
As was said at the outset, each consciousness is related to all consciousness; and, through it, has a potential consciousness of all things ; whether subtle or concealed or obscure. An understanding of this great truth will come with practice. As one of the wise has said, we have no conception of the power of Meditation.

Pretty interesting, huh?  There's more in Book Three, but I think it fits more into occult philosophy than mental magic as such.  Book Four is about escaping the process of reincarnation, which seems to have been a global theme about twenty to twenty-five centuries ago.
 
 
 
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 A couple more gems from The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, translated by Charles Johnston, in Book 3:
  • 5. By mastering this perfectly concentrated Meditation, there comes the illumination of perception.  The meaning of this is illustrated by what has been said before. When the spiritual man is able to throw aside the trammels of emotional and mental limitation, and to open his eyes, he sees clearly, he attains to illuminated perception. A poet once said that Occultism is the conscious cultivation of genius; and it is certain that the awakened spiritual man attains to the perceptions of genius. Genius is the vision, the power, of the spiritual man, whether its possessor recognizes this or not. All true knowledge is of the spiritual man. The greatest in all ages have recognized this and put their testimony on record. The great in wisdom who have not consciously recognized it, have ever been full of the spirit of reverence, of selfless devotion to truth, of humility, as was Darwin ; and reverence and humility are the unconscious recognition of the nearness of the Spirit, that Divinity which broods over us, a Master o'er a slave.
  • 6. This power is distributed in ascending degrees.  It is to be attained step by step. It is a question, not of miracle, but of evolution, of growth. Newton had to master the multiplication table, then the four rules of arithmetic, then the rudiments of algebra, before he came to the binomial theorem. At each point, there was attention, concentration, insight; until these were attained, no progress to the next point was possible. So with Darwin. He had to learn the form and use of leaf and flower, of bone and muscle; the characteristics of genera and species ; the distribution of plants and animals, before he had in mind that nexus of knowledge on which the light of his great idea was at last able to shine. So is it with all knowledge. So is it with spiritual knowledge. Take the matter this way: The first subject for the exercise of my spiritual insight is my day, with its circumstances, its hindrances, its opportunities, its duties. I do what I can to solve it, to fulfil its duties, to learn its lessons. I try to live my day with aspiration and faith. That is the first step. By doing this, I gather a harvest for the evening, I gain a deeper insight into life, in virtue of which I begin the next day with a certain advantage, a certain spiritual advance and attainment. So with all successive days. In faith and aspiration, we pass from day to day, in growing knowledge and power, with never more than one day to solve at a time, until all life becomes radiant and transparent.
  • 10. Through frequent repetition of this process, the mind becomes habituated to it, and there arises an equable flow of perceiving consciousness. Control of the mind by the Soul, like control of the muscles by the mind, comes by practice, and constant voluntary repetition.  As an example of control of the muscles by the mind, take the ceaseless practice by which a musician gains mastery over his instrument, or a fencer gains skill with a rapier. Innumerable small efforts of attention will make a result which seems well-nigh miraculous; which, for the novice, is really miraculous. Then consider that far more wonderful instrument, the perceiving mind, played on by that fine musician, the Soul. Here again, innumerable small efforts of attention will accumulate into mastery, and a mastery worth winning. For a concrete example, take the gradual conquest of each day, the effort to live that day for the Soul. To him that is faithful unto death, the Master gives the crown of life.
  • 11. The gradual conquest of the mind's tendency to flit from one object to another, and the power of one-pointedness, make the development of Contemplation.  As an illustration of the mind's tendency to flit from one object to another, take a small boy, learning arithmetic. He begins: two ones are two; three ones are three—and then he thinks of three coins in his pocket, which will purchase so much candy, in the store down the street, next to the toy-shop, where are base-balls, marbles and so on,—and then he comes back with a jerk, to four ones are four. So with us also. We are seeking the meaning of our task, but the mind takes advantage of a moment of slackened attention, and flits off from one frivolous detail to another, till we suddenly come back to consciousness after traversing leagues of space. We must learn to conquer this, and to go back within ourselves into the beam of perceiving consciousness itself, which is a beam of the Oversoul. This is the true onepointedness, the bringing of our consciousness to a focus in the Soul.
I'm still working through Book Three, which appears to be all about mental powers that develop from following yoga - all eight "arms" of it, not just the postures or breathing work.

I am very glad I decided to go back to the original source, as what is presented here in the U.S. as yoga is only the physical side, even on the meditation and energy-work side.  It is reminding me a lot of how Buddhist meditation has been transformed into mindfullness and relaxation, without any of the spiritual or religious context.  What Patanjali wrote is a religious text, with all of the first book and most of the second being all about the spiritual Man (read: Self) and how to liberate him/her from the cycle of reincarnation.  This has turned out to be a very productive and fruitful side excursion to the main topic of Atkinson's work.
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 More than just an army drill and ceremony command, this is one of the cornerstones of the mental sciences, according to William Walker Atkinson.  Syfen mentioned back on the Sub-consciousing post he wasn't sure he understood all that is implied in the word attention, so I have been meaning to get around to doing up a post on it.  I have found an excellent description not in Atkinson's work, but in the first sutra of book 3 in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, which I am reading as background for both Swami Vivekananda and Arkinson's Yogi Ramacharaka books.  Since Patanjali was there a good 22 centuries prior to the other two, I figure to start out here.  I am using the 1912 translation by Charles Johnston, which came out a few years after Vivekananda's and Atkinson's books, but seems to be an easier read as an introduction.  It consists of the actual sutras, and commentary that has been attached to them since about the tenth century CE.  Here is the sutras (in italics), followed by comments (both traditional plus the translator's):
    • I. The binding of the perceiving consciousness to a certain region is attention (dharana).  Emerson quotes Sir Isaac Newton as saying that he made his great discoveries by intending his mind on them. That is what is meant here. I read the page of a book while thinking of something else. At the end of the page, I have no idea of what it is about, and read it again, still thinking of something else, with the same result. Then I wake up, so to speak, make an effort of attention, fix my thought on what I am reading, and easily take in its meaning. The act of will, the effort of attention, the intending of the mind on each word and line of the page, just as the eyes are focused on each word and line, is the power here contemplated. It is the power to focus the consciousness on a given spot, and hold it there. Attention is the first and indispensable step in all knowledge. Attention to spiritual things is the first step to spiritual knowledge.
    • 2. A prolonged holding of the perceiving consciousness in that region is meditation (dhyana).  This will apply equally to outer and inner things. I may for a moment fix my attention on some visible object, in a single penetrating glance, or I may hold the attention fixedly on it until it reveals far more of its nature than a single glance could perceive. The first is the focusing of the searchlight of consciousness upon the object. The other is the holding of the white beam of light steadily and persistently on the object, until it yields up the secret of its details. So for things within; one may fix the inner glance for a moment on spiritual things, or one may hold the consciousness steadily upon them, until what was in the dark slowly comes forth into the light, and yields up its immortal secret. But this is possible only for the spiritual man, after the Commandments and the Rules have been kept; for until this is done, the thronging storms of psychical thoughts dissipate and distract the attention, so that it will not remain fixed on spiritual things. The cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word of the spiritual message.
    • 3. When the perceiving consciousness in this meditation is wholly given to illuminating the essential meaning of the object contemplated, and is freed from the sense of separateness and personality, this is contemplation (samadhi) . Let us review the steps so far taken. First, the beam of perceiving consciousness is focussed on a certain region or subject, through the effort of attention. Then this attending consciousness is held on its object. Third, there is the ardent will to know its meaning, to illumine it with comprehending thought.  Fourth, all personal bias, all desire merely to indorse a previous opinion and so prove oneself right, and all desire for personal profit or gratification must be quite put away.  There must be a purely disinterested love of truth for its own sake. Thus is the perceiving consciousness made void, as it were, of all personality or sense of separateness. The personal limitation stands aside and lets the All-consciousness come to bear upon the problem. The Oversoul bends its ray upon the object, and illumines it with pure light.
From there, Patanjali smoothly segues into the idea of perfect meditation and perception.  I thought this would help as a starting point on the topic, sort of an introduction before I get to the chapter on attention in A Series of Lessons in Raja Yoga, and whatever nuggets may lie in Swami Vivekananda's Raja Yoga.
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 Rather than struggle to reconstruct the eaten post, I've decided to tell y'all about the VA's pain management and coping skills class I am taking again.  I first took it a few years ago, when VA took away everyone's pain pills that actually worked, and was quite surprised to be presented with the latest cutting-edge psychology research ... that I learned back around the turn of the millennium as magic.  I decided to retake the class, not just because my back has been acting up this past month (weather-related, IMO) but because I am curious if anything has been added since the first go-round.

Along with keeping a sleep diary for the week, our other homework assignment is something they call "the signal breath."  In a nutshell, you draw in a full, deep breath, hold for a second or three, then as you exhale you say to yourself, "Relax, relax, relax."  Second deep breath you say to yourself, "Calm, calm, calm."  For the third breath (because you should always do things in threes!) you say to yourself, "Let go, let go, let go." (of the tension)  Personally, I prefer to say "release" instead of "let go," but it's my mind so I doubt anyone will quibble over it.

The story behind it is the Long Beach (California) VA system had numerous chronic pain patients who were running out of their pain meds before they were supposed to be, so someone gave this a go and discovered those numbers turned around in an impressive way.  In fact, several patients who had been running out early started having some meds left over at the end of the 30 day period.  This caught the attention of quite a few administrators as well, since not only does this mean the patients were getting better pain management  (a good public relations side effect) but this also was saving a little money on the pharmacy side of things.

The doctor instructing the course also took pains to mention this time that the idea is to train the mind, so we ought to practice our homework whether we are in pain or not.  He also noted that the Long Beach patients from the original experiment said, "This is not a miracle cure, but it will take the edge off enough to make it manageable."  He also compared the mental training to getting a new dog, and teaching it its name by repetition and positive reinforcement (treats and/or affection).

I recall from last time (and looking ahead) that we'll also cover a "happy place" meditation as well as doing a guided meditation ... also things I learned in the coven.  So, VA is teaching magic and mental training, and calling it the newest research in psychology.

URGH!

May. 31st, 2018 11:00 am
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 I just spent half an hour writing up a post on the firs three lessons in A Series of Lessons in Raja Yoga, and Dreamwidth just ate it.  There are times when I just HATE technology ... I guess this is my clue to write things in wordpad and then copy and paste into the page.  I need to vent a little before reconstructing it.
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 Trying to get together my thoughts on the subconsciousing lesson, I've come to realize I need to back up to the beginning of A Series of Lessons in Raja Yoga, which is also a sequel to Fourteen Lessons in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism and Advanced Course in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism.  Since the previous two books are not available on audio* as far as I can tell, I'll need to get to them the old-fashioned way after I draw up all the good stuff from the current book, which does include an entire lesson on attention and one on perception.

* Edited to add: I sit corrected.  I have found Fourteen Lessons in audio on YouTube.  Listening to this, I now realize I need to back up even further to The [Hindu-Yogi] Science of Breath, which is available on LibriVox.  I find it interesting he alludes to "that little book" containing more than meets the eye in light of the Fourteen Lessons.  This is like pulling a garlic clove off the head, only to discover it is actually two or three that look like one big one.  I'm going to be a little busier than I thought ... gives me something to do while it rains for another week or two.
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 And here it is, in his own words, William Walker Atkinson's method of subconsciousing (the intentional use of the subconscious mind):
  • the methods whereby, after having accumulated the necessary materials, they may bid the sub‑conscious mentality to sort it out, rearrange, analyze, and build up from it some bit of desired knowledge
  • the mind is capable of extending outward toward an object, material or mental, and by examining it by methods inherent in itself, extracting knowledge regarding the object named
  • the process by which the knowledge is extracted is most wonderful, and really is performed below the plane of consciousness, the work of the conscious mind being chiefly concerned in holding the Attention upon the object
  • the sub‑conscious intellectual faculty may be set to work under the direction of orders given by the Will
  • relax every muscle,—take the tension from every nerve—throw aside all mental strain, and then wait a few moments. Then the student is instructed to grasp the subject which he has had before his mind, firmly and fixedly before his mental vision, by means of concentration. Then he is instructed to pass it on to the sub‑conscious mentality by an effort of the Will, which effort is aided by forming a mental picture of the subject as a material substance, or bundle of thought, which is being bodily lifted up and dropped down a mental hatch‑way, or trap‑door, in which it sinks from sight.  The student is then instructed to say to the sub‑conscious mentality: “I wish this subject thoroughly analyzed, arranged, classified (and whatever else is desired) and then the results handed back to me. Attend to this.” 
  • the Will‑power back of the transferred thought material, which Will‑power is the cause of the subconscious action, depends very greatly upon the attention and interest given to the acquired material. This mass of thought‑material which is to be digested, and threshed out by the sub‑conscious mind, must be well saturated with interest and attention, in order to obtain the best results. In fact interest and attention are such important aids to the Will, that any consideration of the development and acquirement of Will‑power is practically a development and acquirement of attention and interest
  • In acquiring the mass of thought‑material which is to be passed on to the sub‑conscious digestion, one must concentrate a great degree of interest and attention upon each item of thought‑material gathered up. The gathering of this thought‑material is a matter of the greatest importance 
  • take up each bit of thought‑material in turn, and examine it with the greatest possible interest, and consequently the greatest attention, and then after having fairly saturated it with this interested attention, place it with the pile of material which, after a while, is to be passed on to the sub‑conscious mentality. Then take up the next bit of material, and after giving it similar treatment, pass it along to the pile also. Then after a while when you have gathered up the main facts of the case, proceed to consider the mass as a whole, with interest and attention, giving it as it were a “general treatment.” Then drop it down the trap‑door into the sub‑conscious mind, with a strong command, “Attend to this thought‑material,” coupled with a strong expectant belief that your order will be obeyed
  • Remember that you are passing on “thoughts” for the sub‑consciousness to act upon, and that the more tangible and real these thoughts are, the better can they be handled.  Therefore any plan that will build these thoughts up into “real” things is the plan to pursue. And attention and interest produce just this result
  • thought‑material if worked upon with attention and interest become “thought‑forms” that may be handled by the mind just as the hands handle a material object
  • To realize just what we are offering to you, we would remind you of the old fairy tales of all races, in which there is to be found one or more tales telling of some poor cobbler, or tailor, or carpenter, as the case may be, who had by his good deeds, gained favor with the “brownies” or good fairies, who would come each night when the man and his family were asleep, and proceed to complete the work that the artisan had laid out for the morrow. The pieces of leather would be made into shoes; the cloth would be sewed into garments; the wood would be joined, and nailed together into boxes, chairs, benches and what not. But in each case the rough materials were prepared by the artisan himself during the day 
  • first to calm and quiet his mind.  Then he should arrange the main features of the problem, together with the minor details in their proper places. Then he should pass them slowly before him in review, giving a strong interest and attention to each fact and detail, as it passes before him, but without the slightest attempt to form a decision, or come to a conclusion. Then, having given the matter an interested and attentive review, let him Will that it pass on to his sub‑conscious mind, forming the mental image of dropping it through the trap‑door, and at the same time giving the command of the Will, “Attend to this for me!”  Then dismiss the matter from your conscious mind, by an effort of command of the Will. 
  • If the matter does not present itself the following day, bring it up again before the conscious mind for review. You will find that it has shaped itself up considerably, and is assuming definite form and clearness. But right here—and this is important—do not make the mistake of again dissecting it, and meddling with it, and trying to arrange it with your conscious mind. But, instead, give it attention and interest in its new form, and then pass it back again to the sub‑conscious mind for further work. You will find an improvement each time you examine it. But, right here another word of caution. Do not make the mistake of yielding to the impatience of the beginner, and keep on repeatedly bringing up the matter to see what is being done.  Give it time to have the work done on it. 
  • Sooner or later, the sub‑conscious mind will, of its own choice, lift up the matter and present it to you in its finished shape for the consideration of the conscious mind.
  • The secret is that the sub‑conscious mind with its wonderful patience and care has analyzed the matter, and has separated things before apparently connected. It has also found resemblances and has combined things heretofore considered opposed to each other
  • Its whole work seems to have been in the nature of assorting, dissecting, analyzing, and arranging the evidence, and then presenting it before you in a clear, systematic shape. It does not attempt to exercise the judicial prerogative or function, but seems to recognize that its work ceases with the presentation of the edited evidence, and that of the conscious mind begins at the same point
  • Suppose you wish to gather together all the information that you possess relating to a certain subject. In the first place it is certain that you know a very great deal more about any subject than you think you do.  Stored away in the various recesses of the mind, or memory if you prefer that term, are stray bits of information and knowledge concerning almost any subject. But these bits of information are not associated with each other. You have never attempted to think attentively upon the particular question before you, and the facts are not correlated in the mind.  
  • fix the interested attention firmly upon the question before you, until you manage to get a clear, vivid impression of just what you want answered. Then pass the whole matter into the sub‑conscious mind with the command “Attend to this,” and then leave it. Throw the whole matter off of your mind, and let the sub‑conscious work go on. If possible let the matter run along until the next morning and then take it up for consideration, when, if you have proceeded properly you will find the matter worked out, arranged in logical sequence, so that your conscious attention will be able to clearly review the string of facts, examples, illustrations, experiences, etc., relating to the matter in question. 
  • And so far from being apt to get us in a position of false dependence, it is calculated to make us self‑confident—for we are calling upon a part of ourselves, not upon some outside intelligence. 
I'll post up my commentary and thoughts in a separate post for discussion, but this should give y'all quite a bit to chew on until then.
dfr1973: (Default)
 I get the impression that the silence following yesterday's big "Eureka!" outburst is everyone waiting patiently for my next post.  Or, perhaps y'all didn't get rained out for the weekend.  Even the chickens are hiding under shelter now at the first few raindrops - usually they only care when it starts coming down hard, which it has done a few days this week.

As my thoughts are congealing, I realize a big part of the excitement is a feeling of validation.  Hubby pointed out that we "set things on the back burner to simmer" on a regular basis, so we've been groping towards the main idea of this, but not only does Atkinson's chapter validate our gropings, it shines light on a purposeful, methodical way to do this.  In fact, Atkinson describes this phenomenon at the start of the chapter as a way of introduction.  Here are the meaty quotes I pulled out of the first part of the chapter:
    • we called your attention to the fact that Reasoning was not necessarily conscious in its operations, and that, in fact, a large part of the rational processes of the mind are performed below or above the field of consciousness. 
    • We also gave you a number of cases in which the sub‑conscious field of the Intellect worked out problems, and then after a time passed on to the conscious field of the Intellect the solution of the matter. In this lesson we propose instructing you in the methods by which this part of the Intellect may be set to work for you.
    • those who related instances of the help of the sub‑conscious mind had merely stumbled upon the fact that there was a part of the mind below consciousness that could and would work out problems for one, if it could somehow be set in operation.  And these people trusted to luck to start that part of the mind in operation. Or rather, they would saturate their conscious mind with a mass of material
    • In none of the cases mentioned was the subconscious mind directed specially to perform its wonderful work. It was simply hoped that it might digest the mental material with which it had been stuffed—in pure self defense. 

Those last two quotes describe what I have been doing up to this point: chuck all into the big mental stockpot and set it on the back burner to simmer.  Atkinson has a better way ...
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