…unless we stick to the distinct lines of instruction, we are going to lose the very subtle process of learning concentration and our students are going to fall short in this study. Our students ARE falling short in studying concentration. Some of our students are coming into Illumination and even Realization and they still don't know how to fully use concentration. Concentration is not meditation, so let us not be fooled. You cannot teach them concentration fully by using meditation or contemplation as a guideline. Let me explain, and this is where I think we have lost sight of and are getting in the way by putting in some instructions which appeal to us. The objective is to learn how to concentrate the mind upon an object and think about it, just that and nothing more. Think about it; think of all the things about it.
THINGS NOT TO TRY TO DO:
Let me explain. The true purpose of concentration is not only to get control of your own mind and think of what you desire to think; there is another important point which we have overlooked too often. Remember that concentration is something that is mandatory if you are going to stay in the Order and learn how to control yourself, not only yourself, but get rid of all the things that would keep you from being at peace. For when a person is thinking, unless their thoughts are far above the material world, they are not at peace.
Even in the exercise itself, the orange or whatever you are using as a subject of concentration tends to motivate thoughts from the memory bank and throw them in the mirror of the mind so that there is a score of associations. We are not trying to get something to be manifest in the material world through the Law.
The art of concentration, and it is an art, is used in the following services to man:
USE THE FOLLOWING APPROACH TO CONCENTRATE:
Get yourself quiet. Get your body quiet and your mind quiet. Then reach for a spiritual contact with the Creator. Now start your progressive path of thinking about the material object -- orange, apple, banana or anything else, except something with a black coloring. Then pick up the first full blown or full grown object which you come upon and start to take apart all of its parts and think about their uses, and think how it got to be so.
Always ask yourself if this is good for just me or is it good for those I want to help when I become a priest or vowed member.
Practice, while concentrating upon an object, looking away from it intermittently. This will help break up the power of yourself to the object and you will not have haziness in your operation. If this is followed, your vision and your thoughts will be clear. And, if you want to concentrate on any part of your body for a healing on yourself or someone else, you will be able to.
Follow the train of thought about the object: how it was made; what it was made of; why? But confine your thoughts to the object. Do not allow them to stray either on to yourself, or, for instance, on the question, "Who made it?" anything except the object itself. If other thoughts start to come in, stop. And immediately start over in the same way. If you fail three times, then stop the concentration exercise until next time of concentration, likely in the evening or in the morning.
I want to see every person, every member under vows, if they have not accomplished concentration, to start immediately to do so until they have accomplished it. If it is necessary, let us corral all the people each morning and each night, who cannot demonstrate concentration, or who have not had the door of realization opened, and spend five or ten minutes on concentration, even if we must rise earlier, and see that it is done. We shall do this for the next thirty days.
Let's lean on the concentration and we'll have less problems with our students - not only with the students but some of the ministers whom I have found not to be able to operate this way yet.
You cannot counsel until you have control of your own mind, because you cannot truly listen. And, if you are not able to hear what the person says, you haven't taken the problem from them.
Let us all do this for a greater Order.