THESE three, meditation, concentration, will,
have engaged the attention of Theosophists perhaps more than any other three
subjects. A canvass of opinions would probably show that the majority of our
reading and thinking members would rather hear these subjects discussed and
read definite directions about them than any others in the entire field. They
say they must meditate, they declare a wish for concentration, they would like
a powerful will, and they sigh for strict directions, readable by the most
foolish theosophist. It is a western cry for a curriculum, a course, a staked
path, a line and rule by inches and links. Yet the path has long been outlined
and described, so that any one could read the directions whose mind had not
been half-ruined by modem false education, and memory rotted by the superficial
methods of a superficial literature and a wholly vain modern life.
The subject of the Will has not been treated of much in theosophical works, old or new. Patanjali does not go into it at all. It seems to be inferred by him through his aphorisms. Will is universal, and belongs to not only man and animals, but also to every other natural kingdom. The good and bad man alike have will, the child and the aged, the wise and the lunatic. It is therefore a power devoid in itself of moral quality. That quality must be added by man.
So the truth must be that will acts according to desire, or, as the older thinkers used to put it, "behind will stands desire." This is why the child, the savage, the lunatic, and the wicked man so often exhibit a stronger will than others. The wicked man has intensified his desires, and with that his will. The lunatic has but few desires, and draws all his will force into these; the savage is free from convention, from the various ideas, laws, rules, and suppositions to which the civilized person is subject, and has nothing to distract his will. So to make our will strong we must have fewer desires. Let those be high, pure, and altruistic; they will give us strong will.
No mere practice will develop will per se, for it exists forever, fully developed in itself. But practice will develop in us the power to call on that will which is ours. Will and Desire lie at the doors of Meditation and Concentration. If we desire truth with the same intensity that we had formerly wished for success, money, or gratification, we will speedily acquire meditation and possess concentration. If we do all our acts, small and great, every moment, for the sake of the whole human race, as representing the Supreme Self, then every cell and fibre of the body and inner man will be turned in one direction, resulting in perfect concentration. This is expressed in the New Testament in the statement that if the eye is single the whole body will be full of light, and in the Bhagavad Gita it is still more clearly and comprehensively given through the different chapters. In one it is beautifully put as the lighting up in us of the Supreme One, who then becomes visible. Let us meditate on that which is in us as the Highest Self, concentrate upon it, and will to work for it as dwelling in every human heart.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE