By Gertrude Gordon

(The following article appeared recently in the "Pittsburgh Press," and typifies the general spirit of awakening in the Western world to the value of meditation as long practiced in the East.—Editor).

How foolish would be the person who, in his own back yard, had a coal mine and refused to dig in it and bring to light the precious fuel it contained! How foolish the person who had a library of wonderful books, splendid literature and refused to read them! How foolish the person who owned fertile farm land and refused to cultivate it!

Just as foolish are those persons who never permit themselves to be alone, never draw upon their deep, inner consciousness, never get acquainted with themselves.

"The world is too much with us," said one poet. "Loaf and invite your soul," said another. And, all through the ages, have come the histories of Prophets and Seers, of Masters and teachers, of writers and artists of all kinds who realized their full powers, only after years of solitude, days of self-communion, months of isolation. In the Bible, over and over again, even Jesus had to go into the wilderness, had to go into profound meditation —to bring to the surface, the marvelous powers of His body.

But moderns do not learn from history. Every person who has any incentive at all, is looking forward to the day when he will accomplish the big dream of his life. The newspaper reporter is thinking of "when he has time" to write his big book. The pot boiler artist is dreaming of his big picture, the composer of his great opera. And, sometimes these dreamers do realize their hopes. But, more often, they go along, with only mediocre reward —for mediocre effort.

Ocean of the Sub-Consciousness

And all this time, there lies in the soul of each, the great ocean of the sub-consciousness— which so few persons tap. This ocean is no mythical thing. Scientists say that the area of the sub-conscious mind —to that of the conscious mind— can be compared to the relative sizes of the portion of an iceberg which is under water —to that which is above water. And about six-sevenths of the iceberg is under water, only one-seventh showing above.

So, if, according to scientists themselves, analysts, those who measure by rule of three, there is in us six-sevenths more possibilities than we use, what is the answer?

Very simple—use these six-sevenths.

The method?

Very simple, too. To find the depths within one's self, one must be alone. In all the hurry and worry of modern civilization, often persons are heard to say, "I can't bear to be alone. I'd go crazy if I had to sit by myself. I have to have people around me and excitement and something going on."

These persons never can realize themselves. After one is accustomed to crowds, it isn't easy to sit quietly, all alone, without reading, without smoking if one is a man, or sewing, if one is a woman. It isn't easy at first to sit relaxed, with feet close together and hand, palm upward on the lap, as those who go into meditation are taught to do.

It isn't easy at first to marshal one's thoughts in order when one hasn't any particular line to follow. The mind —jumps from one thing to another. It may take several trials before the mind realizes that, for once, it can relax with the body —can rest.

Meditation the Beginning of Real Prayer

Then comes the quiet, quiet, and a sense of reaching down into one's very soul. And, so scientists say, then begins the time of real creation, then is the time when up from the deeps of the subconscious, lift the splendid thoughts, the great dreams and, with them, the material plans for their realization.

That is where real prayer begins. The ordinary lip prayer, the chattering of formulas, the hurried repetition of words mean very little. True, they keep one's ideas along the line of religious duty, but then —accomplish very little. It is the prayer —born in the silence, even if it is a silence which the soul imposes in the midst of physical noise; it is the prayer reached for into the deeps, even if it is the work of only an instant; it is the supplication sent up when the soul is naked before God, when all material things are put aside, when the whole being of the person who prays —is fused into that petition.

Many materialists say that prayer, real prayer, is efficacious, not because some Supreme Being hears it and grants it, but because the forces, mental and physical, of the person who prays —are strongly directed toward the object of desire.

Maybe! Maybe not! The believer prefers to believe that the Great Intelligence, the Great Force for Good, the Great Harmony which rules the world and which familiarly is called "God," does, intelligently, and consciously, answer prayer.

Whatever it is that answers, there is no question but that a sincere, devout, sustained effort at prayer —will bring results. Religious and scientific testimony prove this.

And any reaching out toward the fulfillment of ambition; definite hoping for better things; intent to accomplish —is a form of prayer. In the sub-consciousness —lies the realization of all these strivings. So, as Whitman says, "Loaf and invite your soul."

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