Introduction to The Three Disciplines ~ Lecture transcribed
April 6, 1972
“Do you know what is in the human soul? Can you pass judgment on the human soul? I know that the answer is no. Again, and again I have been taken by surprise. People who I have thought couldn’t understand anything have come forward, and a step has been made in them. And again, I’ve been taken by surprise by people who I’ve thought really had their feet on the way, to realize that there was something quite falsifying the whole thing and that they were worse than nowhere. In spite of so many years’ experience with so many people it still remains a mystery and therefore I would not take upon myself to send people away, unless they were actually harmful. No one is harmful here, or almost no one. However, it does remain true for many of you that if you do continue to avoid difficulties and avoid discomfort for yourself, shirk jobs when they are available, do things that interest you and neglect things that don’t, take advantage when you have the power to take advantage and so on, you will not get anything from this.”
“Here for the first time I’m going to introduce the word meditation. The word is used in so many ways, and I want to use it in one particular way and that is, meditation as meaning occupying one’s attention wholly with the other world, with the spiritual world. At times this is called God; at times, it is called truth or reality.
For this transformation that we are after, to be able to proceed more or less normally, first two disciplines – that is the bodily discipline and the mental discipline- are preparation, and very necessary, without them nothing can happen; but the third one is very largely dependent upon quietness and stillness. We’re going to arrange now to have this in the evenings together, in the ballroom, as we do in the morning and I will say something about this, that is how one can bring oneself into this state- I said this very early on when some people referred to the morning exercise as mediation, which it is not, but it is a preparation for meditation, among other things and the collected state is really the starting point. One has to be in a collected state before one can begin to meditate. And also one must have a strong mind; one must be able to prevent one’s mind from going off onto unwanted lines. This is not an easy thing and it turns out that this is possible only through the exercise of the other two disciplines.”