meditation consists in getting established in the constant habit of regarding all forms as being equally the manifestations of the same one all-pervading life and as being nothing in themselves, in their separateness. This type of meditation is contributory to the disentanglement from the world of creation; and it furthers the cultivation of the highest type of universal love, which regards the whole of humanity and other living creatures as members of an indivisible whole.
But the type of meditation, which is concerned with the numerous forms of manifested life, remains incomplete unless it is supplemented by another type of meditation which is concerned with one's own body.* One's own body—gross, subtle, or mental—is, like the bodies of others, a form of the one all-pervading life; but consciousness gets fixed to one's own body by an attachment which is so deep that it completely identifies with the body. Continued thoughts of detachment concerning one's own body helps emancipation of consciousness and the dawn of true self-knowledge; and meditation of this type is very fruitful for the aspirant. The gross, the subtle and the mental bodies are all then regarded as cloaks which one may put on or off.
The type of meditation which is concerned with the numerous forms of manifested life and the type of meditation which is concerned with one's own bodies, are both preparatory to the form of impersonal meditation,** in which (a) an effort is made to withdraw consciousness from all the numerous forms of manifested life as well as from one's own bodies—gross, subtle or mental, and (b) to center consciousness on the formless and infinite aspect of God.
This form of impersonal meditation has, in the initial phases, to avail itself of some symbols of infinity. It is actually more helpful to start with some image which suggests and signifies infinity than to start with the abstract idea of infinity. The mind may be made steady on the image of sky, ocean or vast emptiness; but, when once a particular image is chosen, the aspirant should stick to it throughout the period of meditation and not allow it to be replaced by another image. Out of these symbols of infinity, complete and unlimited emptiness is difficult to imagine; but it turns out to be the best symbol if one can successfully bring it before one's mind. Even when unlimited emptiness is used for signifying infinity, the aspirant is not,
*Meditation No. 6 in the Table.
** Meditation No. 7 in the Table.