Meditation is a key component for one’s spiritual progress on the Path of Return. Today many aspirants make efforts to meditate, but do not truly understand the dynamics of meditation. In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a 5th Ray text on the science of meditation, Patanjali clearly points out that meditation is a complex undertaking, and not, as many believe, an easy exercise where you let you mind go. There is a definite methodology, a step-by-step process. Reading the words is easy, but accomplishing what they mean is another thing. In the Ashtanga Yoga of the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali indicates that the ‘inner yoga’ is made up of 4 steps; pratyahara (withdrawal), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (integration). The first step, pratyahara, withdrawing one’s consciousness to a center point of concentration is in itself a task that truly tests one’s perseverance and patients of practice. Numerous aspirants while working towards accomplishing this step experience visions. This causes so many aspirants to get excited, they over identify with their experience, making it into something much greater than it is. In fact, visions are not that unique, and generally cause a great inflation of the spiritual ego. Below is a listing with some commentary explaining different types of visions and their value.
This is a general listing of different stages of vision, whether important or not, that could prove helpful in gaining some insights into one’s visions.
- Seeing various images that appear while meditating. Such images as pyramids, mountains, blue sky, temples, shrines etc. These visions are usually short, sometimes very clear. During the experience, one feels detached as an observer. If you try to have the same vision again, it does not happen. These arise from memory/samskara, and can be awakened through present events. They have little spiritual value.
- Seeing various images as before, but this time the images are dark and frightening. The colors during the experience are predominantly dark, greys, and grainy dark brown. Again, these are memories/samskara, but from a darker side of one’s being, like the Dweller on the Threshold. They are meant to frighten, awaken doubt and confusion. Ignore them, continue to meditate, do not give in to such an influence.
- If the image of some being appears and approaches you, but in so doing, a pressure, and a feeling of fear arises spontaneously, then you’ve contacted a very negative force/entity that is attacking you, wanting to steal your spiritual energy/shakti or possibly nest in your aura. This is a dangerous situation. Immediately radiate the Sacred Word ‘OM’ with a blazing golden white fiery light, with intensity to repeal such astral attacks. Do not stop until the entire feeling has dissipated.
- Visions with an effulgence of light, shinning from above downwards, like the sunlight breaking through the clouds. Such visions evoke a feeling of wonder or awe, with an uplifting, aspiring feeling. These are positive, but still on the astral plane, and of little value, yet shows you are reaching upwards.
- What does it mean when one sees an image of a teacher? If it’s just an image, it’s created by the sub-conscious/samskaras and wishful thinking. If there is a deep feeling, it’s still a projection from one’s past life/samskaras memory, but is more real with possibilities, as this image is evoking feelings. If the image of the teacher appears with a feeling that looks and feels so real, then this can be a projection from a real teacher on the inner plane. It’s still not the teacher, but a projection, which carries the teacher’s energy/shakti/blessing. This is very positive and a type of contact.
- If you have a vision that is very hard to remember the next day, then it is not worth much. You’ve enjoyed the vision, now it’s time to let it go. If there is an intensity to the vision, and even a year later you can still taste it, then it is a true vision. Generally, with important visions, one is taught something, either important for one’s practice or spiritual direction. These are more important visions, and if the guidance is transformative, helping one to make a leap forward, then such a vision is soul based. Such visions as these are rare, but of great value if you apply the given inner direction.
- If you are visualizing a deity, the Buddha, a Master of Wisdom, etc. and all of a sudden, the visualization become very real and stable, know that you have made some type of contact. An alignment has occurred, and the subject of your meditation has responded by projecting their energy and charging your visualization.
The Theosophical Masters are actively waiting for those students who are sincerely aspiring to the deeper esoteric teachings. These Masters are not readily available to us because our personality vibration is not in harmony with their vibration, or the inner Ashrams. The Masters have a very high vibration, whereas most aspirants generally have a very coarse, chaotic vibration, though they usually are convinced otherwise. Once we can purify and transform ourselves to a specific point, where there is a degree of inner harmony, and much negative karma has been cleared, then a Master can connect with the now, advanced disciple. Therefore, we meditate intensely to transform the past negative substance of our bodies, primarily the astral, and lower mental body. It is also good to be vegetarian so no animal prana feeds your low nature, lunar pitris. One must work intensely on purifying one’s thoughts and to transform them. When that is accomplished, and one can center, having a true center of awareness, and if the right karma is present, there is the opportunity for a Master to reach out. When that happens, one has to have their feet planted on the Path, but also be willing to take on responsibilities. A Master will only make contact where there is a particular purpose at hand.
1. Master can contact you in several ways:
Through dreams in a classroom-type of environment where very high ideas and esoteric concepts are taught. Generally, when you wake up you forget your dream, but you feel uplifted and that something special has happened. When you come back into your physical body and brain, that is when you wake up, you don’t have the same recollection because you are anchored in a different part of your being. When you sleep and enter the inner planes you are more in essence. When you wake up, you are in your personality; these are two opposites.
2. The Master can project a thought-form of himself. Say you are visualizing a picture of Master KH that you are drawn to; you visualize him; the visualization is not clear, but one day the face becomes ultra-clear and steady, much like a holograph. The Master has made a connection, projecting his energy to create this vibrant image and hold it, call it a projected thought-form. It may only last for a few seconds and it is a small connection. Yet, you will feel uplifted, energized, and an inner joy.
3. The Master projects and you see the image of the Master, but then you can feel the vibration. For instance, the Master KH has a very loving, radiant vibration; that envelope you in a deep peace. Then you have reached a different level of contact.
4. Another level of contact, it is not necessary to see an image of the Master, but you can recognize the feeling or the presence of the Master. When you meditate and focus on the Master, and suddenly you feel like the Master is there. You do not see him, but he is present, you feel uplifted, electric, and have a sense of deep inner peace all around you, feeling more as a conscious identity in a state of harmony. That is a different form of contact. Then you know the Master has taken some greater interest in you as he has work for you to do. When that occurs, you have to be very sincere in your spiritual efforts because if not, the Master instantly withdraws.
I know several instances where individuals have had slight contact with a Master (see #1) and they felt elated, even though the experience was over in 2-3 seconds. But not long after the experience they went downhill. They felt overwhelmed by it, questioned the experience as to whether it was real or not, and immediately started to return to old negative habits, and not wanting to meditate. They were being tested to see if they were ready to hold a higher vibration. Because the energy was so strong it leaked into different aspects of the personality, and they went haywire for a few weeks.
When a Master takes a pupil, the Master keeps the pupil at a far distance, on the periphery of the Ashram. The reason is that bringing in a new student is a great liability, for the vibration of the student is so coarse, that the Master cannot risk bringing the student in, because that will cause a disruption in the vibration of the Ashram. Thus, new students are kept on the periphery of the Ashram, and that can last years; until the student has matured, and progressed enough that they can be trusted. In the technical 5th ray sense, the disciple cannot be 100 percent trusted until they are achieved the 3rd Initiation, because there is too much possibility for failure. So many people believe they are advanced disciples, why doesn’t the Master contact me? This is occult wishful dreaming, as they do not know the laws that govern this aspect of the path.
Being contacted by a Master is not the best thing if you are not prepared for it, and that is precisely why the Master keeps the student at a distance. As the student purifies themself, and makes progress, he moves closer to the Master, and the inner connection becomes more instantaneous. There are generally 4-6 different degrees of closeness to a Master, and it can take a long time between stages. If you are prepared and get the blessing of the Master, then your spiritual progress is accelerated tremendously; and you are also then tested a lot; your sincerity, perseverance and strength are tested. The tests will always be relative to your karma, and they will never be greater than what you are capable of dealing with. If you want to be an occultist on the greater level, you will be tested, that’s the law.
The above examples are general, and there are many other possibilities. Those experience that are a result of samadhi are of a much different nature. These examples are more for those who have been meditating for some time, and have spiritual experiences periodically, and maybe have some contact with one of the Masters of Wisdom. The esoteric path teaches the sincere aspirant to awaken an inner discrimination (viveka) in all that one experiences on the Path. Don’t make rash assumptions, and assume a spiritual experience means that you have made great progress, they are but signposts on the Way.
Short Bio: Cyrus Ryan is presently teaching regularly at the Toronto Theosophical
Society in Toronto. The focus of our study are the works of Alice A. Bailey.
Cyrus first came in contact with Theosophy in 1975 at the age of 27. He met his
Spiritual teacher at the TS, but we soon established an independent group, and he
studied with him for 30 years. The first book we studied was, Letters on Occult
Meditation, by Alice A. Bailey. Cyrus is the author of Living on the Inner
Inner Edge, a Practical Esoteric Tale.