Love really cannot be put into words. It is an inner experience, or practice, and is the fruit of meditation. In today's hate-torn, war-minded world, it is scarcely any wonder that degenerative diseases are taking a greater and greater toll than ever before.
No, love cannot be weighed, measured, or analyzed, and so it has not fit into the empirical system of medical teaching, but, as already indicated in our earlier chapters, this situation is gradually changing. As the great physician and philosopher Albert Schweitzer said, "The beginning of all wisdom is to be filled with the mystery of existence and of life." If we Americans are to survive, it is our young people who will save us, as they look to earth, to Nature, and to quality in life rather than to quantity of possessions.
Earlier this chapter dealt with centering of the mind through concentration. Let us now examine the process whereby we approach the wisdom that cannot be tested in schools, and where we experience the mystery of existence and the greater life of which we are a part.
The practice of meditation is a well-tested method of self-help to self-realization You can help yourself, if you will, by this practice. You must have a regular time and place, chosen for the greatest comfort, quiet, and freedom from interruptions. Sit quietly on a chair, or on the floor, with your spine straight, hands resting quietly in the lap or on the knees. The yogic lotus posture is good if comfortable, but it is not necessary. Close your eyes.
Focus your whole attention on your breathing as you inhale and exhale, slowly and deeply, to quiet your random thoughts. All of the air should be forced out of the lungs, followed by a long, slow inspiration, taking in as much air as possible. The chest should be expanded by raising the lower ribs, and diaphragmatic breathing added. When the diaphragm is contracted, it moves downward, drawing air into the lower lungs and causing the abdomen to protrude slightly as you inhale. The lungs should be filled slowly and completely, then emptied slowly and completely.
After a few moments of this breathing, it is well to use some method whereby the body, mind, and emotions can be silenced. There are many ways of doing this. Hosea tells us to "take with you words and turn to the Lord." So you can start with such words as "Acquaint now thyself with Him and be at peace."
Think of God as love and then translate the thought into feeling. How does it feel when you are filled with love? Continue with words such as Life, Peace, and Power, and both think and feel them. And now give yourself this command, "Be still, and know that I am God." After an interval of inner quiet, repeat it, leaving off the last word: "Be still and know that I am." After inner silence, the command becomes, "Be still and know That!" "That" is a term used by some to indicate the Nameless--God. And so God, I am, and That are all synonyms for this experience of stillness.
On the next repetition, the command is "Be still, and know!" Next, "Be still!" and finally, "Be!" As long an interval as seems comfortable should be allowed between statements, or until thoughts begin to interfere. Follow the last statement with an interval of controlled breathing and then repeat the entire series.
Another suggestion for entering meditation is through the first great commandment, focusing the entire attention on God and loving Him with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your soul and then offering yourself to Him and calling for His will to be done in and through you.
Meditation is the steady, quiet, fixing of the mind on God or on Nature. Plato expressed this in the following words: "The ardent turning of the soul towards the Divine: not to ask any particular good but for itself, for the Universal, Supreme Good."
The practice of meditation will teach us to meditate and will take us beyond meditation, when we are ready, into that state of Oneness with the Father.
We have merely sketched the path to healing in the sense of attaining a degree of wholeness, and it is not our intention to indicate the whole route, even if we were able to do so. The path is very individual and requires great perseverance. The merger of the self into the larger Self demands a complete change in a way of life. Things that formerly seemed important now become valueless, and a new set of values comes over the horizon. The path into this new consciousness is one through many valleys, which cause frequent loss of view of the summit, but as one ascends the mountain of finer consciousness, the valleys become narrower and more shallow.
Self-realization is very demanding. Shedding one's skins of defenses would seem to leave one very vulnerable. However, the old person that one has been is not fit for the new encounter. Walt Whitman describes this journey in his "Song of the Open Road": 23
Listen, I will be honest with you,
I do not offer the old smooth prizes, but offer rough new prizes,
These are the days that must happen to you:
You shall not heap up what is called riches,
You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you learn or achieve,
You but arrive at the city to which you were destin'd, you hardly settle yourself to satisfaction before you are call'd by an irresistible call to depart,
You shall be treated to the ironical smiles and mockings of those who remained behind you,
What beckonings of love you receive you shall only answer with passionate kisses of parting,
You shall not allow the hold of those who spread their reach'd hands toward you.
Jesus, when approached by Nicodemus, compared the new consciousness, which made possible the miracles he performed, to a new birth (John 3:3). Such a new birth brings new dimensions of being with it. And once its fruits have been tasted, one will never desert the quest for Oneness.
Anxiety and fear give way to a feeling of faith and assurance. Resentment and jealousy are replaced by love. Impatience and irritability dissolve in an atmosphere of patience and perseverance. Love, as one has previously known it, loses its former air of exclusiveness and extends far out to encompass the entire family of man. Every day becomes a new and exciting challenge full of possibilities for growth and increased awareness of one's essential self.
1. Karlfried Graf von Durckheim, Hara (London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1962) .
2. Olle Hagnell, New York Academy of Sciences Annals 125 (January 21, 1966), p. 846.
3. Dr. Artur Jores, International Meeting, Medicine de la Personne, 1966, Woudschoten, Holland.
4. Dr. Paul Tournier, The Whole Person in a Broken World (New York: Harper and Row, 1965).
5. Maxwell Maltz, Psychocybernetics (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1960).
6. This center was visited in the summer of 1973 by the Meadowlark staff tour group.
Motion Picture Director's Award winner Ray Garner has made an hour-long television film entitled Healing the Whole Man, which deals with Dr. Max Bircher's unique center and includes an interview with him, along with seven other European physicians who are involved in similar work. Others mentioned in this book and taking part in the film include Dr. Paul Tournier, shown at his home in Geneva, and Dr. Karlfried Durckheim, at his center for experiencing self-realization through Zen and allied techniques, which is located in Germany's Black Forest. The film can be rented from Meadowlark. Write to Friendly Hills Fellowship, Meadowlark, 26126 Fairview Avenue, Hemet, Calif. 92343.
7. The identity of the author must be kept secret.
8. Roberto Assagioli, M.D., Psychosynthesis: A Manual of Principles (New York: Hobbs, Dorman and Co., 1965).
9. Nicholas Herman (Brother Lawrence), Practice of the Presence of God (New York: Morehouse-Barlow).
10. Ernest Wood, Concentration and Approach to Meditation (Wheaton, III.: Theosophical Publishing House, 1967).
11. Walt Whitman, "Song of the Open Road," Leaves of Grass.
12. Linnie M. Wolfe, Son of the Wilderness.
13. Robert Henri, The Art Spirit (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1940), p. 47.
14. From Arthur M. Abell, Talks with Great Composers (New York: Philosophical Library, 1955), p. 6.
15. Gustaf Stromberg, The Soul of the Universe (New York and Philadelphia: David McKay, 1940), p. 235.
16. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Hymn of the Universe (New York: Harper and Row, 1961), p. 65.
17. Sri Ramakrishna Math, Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna (Mylapore, Madras, India, 1943), p. 59.
18. Alfred Lord Tennyson, "The Ancient Sage," The Poetic and Dramatic Works (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1899).
19. Thomas Kelly, A Testament of Devotion (New York: Harper and Row, 1941), p. 35.
20. George Fox, The Book of Miracles, with note and introduction by Henry Cadbury (Toronto: Macmillan, 1949).
21. Alexis Carrel, The Voyage to Lourdes.
22. Dr. Smiley Blanton, Love or Perish (New York: Fawcett World Library, 1969).
23. Walt Whitman, "Song of the Open Road," Leaves of Grass.