at any time under any conditions. Even when he is walking he may be inwardly absorbed in his meditation.
Meditation should not be resorted to with a heavy heart, as if it were like taking castor oil. One has got to be serious about meditation; but this does not mean that the aspirant must always look grave or melancholy. A sense of humor and cheerfulness not only do not interfere with the progress of meditation but actually contribute to it. Meditation should not be artificially turned into a distasteful and tiresome thing; the aspirant should freely allow himself the natural joy which is attendant upon successful meditation, without getting addicted to it. Meditation should be something like a picnic on the higher planes. Like excursions into new and beautiful natural surroundings, meditation brings with it a sense of enthusiasm, adventure, peace and exhilaration. All thoughts of depression, fear or worry have to be completely cut out, if there is to be a really successful meditation.
Though meditation is essentially an individual matter, collective meditation has its own advantages. If different aspirants, who are in harmony with each other, take to the same line of meditation together, their thoughts have a tendency to augment and strengthen each other; this is particularly noticeable when the disciples of the same Master are collectively engaged in meditating upon their common Master. But if the collective meditation of this type is to yield its full advantage, each aspirant who participates in the collective meditation must be concerned with the course of his own meditation and not with what others in the same group are doing. Though he starts his meditation in the company of others, he has to forget all about it and get lost in the object of his meditation. He has to be entirely oblivious of the whole world, including his body; and, he has to be fully and exclusively cognizant of the object which has been agreed upon by all before the beginning of the meditation. When intelligently handled, collective meditation can prove to be of immense help to the beginners, although the advanced aspirants can carry on their meditation by themselves.
In ordinary thinking, the uninterrupted flow of relevant trains of ideas is common; but, when the mind sets itself to systematic meditation, there is inevitably a reactionary tendency for irrelevant and contrary thoughts to emerge and create disturbance. This is the law of the mind; and the aspirant should not be upset by the appearance, in consciousness, of many contrary and unwholesome thoughts, which had hitherto never made their