attainments, is "meditating" upon himself as the mind.
All these are, in a way, forms of meditation; but, in spiritual discourses, the term "meditation" is usually restricted to those forms of meditation which tackle the problem of understanding experience intensively and systematically. In the above examples, meditation is a result of the natural application of the mind to objects with which it is presented; and, in this application of the mind the person is almost unconscious of the ultimate purpose of the process of meditation. But in the spiritual field meditation is, at least in the initial stage, deliberate; and during such meditation, the person is more specifically conscious of the ultimate objective of the process of meditation. The forms of meditation which are characteristic of the spiritual field, however, are continuous with the forms of meditation which are found throughout the world of consciousness; and the spiritual forms of meditation spring into existence only when the other more general forms of meditation have brought the person to a certain crisis or "blind alley," so that he is forced to choose his object of meditation in the light of some spiritual ideal, and is also required to revise the manner of meditation to which he might have been hitherto accustomed.
The spiritually important forms of medication are of two kinds: (1) general meditation, which consists in the assimilation of the Divine Truths; and (2) specialized meditation, in which the mind selects some definite item of experience and is exclusively concerned with it. General meditation only systematically and intensively carries further ordinary thought-processes. It is different from the many pre-spiritual meditations of the non-sadhaka* only in so far as (1) the thought processes now come to be directed towards realities which have spiritual importance; and (2) the mind makes intelligent use of the exposition of the Divine Truths (given by those who know), without renouncing its critical powers and inherent zest for the Truth.
The specialized forms of meditation, on the other hand, imply and require something more than a purely intellectual approach to Truth. In the specialized forms of meditation, as in general meditation, the mind has an opportunity to understand the object of meditation intellectually; but, in addition, these forms help to cultivate mental discipline, develop capacities, latent possibilities of personality, which were hitherto inactive and dormant.
*One who is not a spiritual aspirant.