meditation. Associative meditation predominantly involves the synthetic activity of the mind (Anwaya ); and dissociative meditation predominantly involves the analytic activity of the mind (Vyatireka). Associative meditation may be illustrated by the formula, "I am Infinite," and dissociative meditation may be illustrated by the formula, "I am not my desires."
Through associative meditation, the aspirant tries to unite with the spiritual level as mentally constructed by him; and through dissociative meditation, the aspirant tries to separate himself from the conditions which come to him as anti-spiritual. Associative meditation is a process of the assimilation of the essentials of spiritual life; dissociative meditation is the process of the elimination of those factors which prevent the life of the spirit.
Associative meditation is concerned with objects which are, so to speak, selected from the "land of light"; and dissociative meditation is concerned with objects, which are, so to speak, parts of the "land of shadows." The world of illusions, like the world of shadows, has a bewildering charm of its own; and, if a person is to succeed in getting out of the world of illusions and arrive at the Truth, he must develop resistance to the enticement of the world of illusion by repeated attention to its real worthlessness—just as a person must develop discontent with regard to the world of shadows if he is to make any effort to come into the light. Therefore, dissociative meditation is a preliminary to associative meditation; it comes first and has its own value; but, it is meant merely to pave the way for associative meditation.
Associative meditation, as well as dissociative meditation, are both necessary, in a way, but eventually associative meditation turns out to be far more fruitful and important than dissociative meditation. If a person is surrounded by shadows, it does not help very much to be continuously upset about them. If he has no interest except that of being annoyed with the shadows, there will be no end to his worries. But, if instead of fretting and fuming about the engulfing shadows, he sets himself to the more important task of getting beneath the Sun, he will discover that by the time he has brought himself directly under the full blaze of the Sun, the shadows have all disappeared. So what really matters is not aimless discontent with existing limitations, but directive effort towards the established ideal. As long as the face of the person is turned towards the Sun and as long as he is trying to walk into its light, the shadows, which encircle him, cannot seriously handicap his emancipation. In the same way, the aspirant need not worry about his failings, as long as his heart is firmly set upon uniting