The Candidate must first acquaint himself with the reality of the “I,” before he will be able to learn its real nature. This is the first step. Let the Candidate place himself in the State of Meditation, as heretofore described. Then let him concentrate his entire attention upon his Individual Self, shutting out all thought of the outside world, and other persons. Let him form in his mind the idea of himself as a real thing–an actual being–an individual entity–a Sun around which revolves the world.
He must see himself as the Centre around which the whole world revolves. Let not a false modesty, or sense of depreciation interfere with this idea, for you are not denying the right of others to also consider themselves centres. You are, in fact, a centre of consciousness–made so by the Absolute–and you are awakening to the fact. Until the Ego recognizes itself as a Centre of Thought, Influence and Power, it will not be able to manifest these qualities. And in proportion as it recognizes its position as a centre, so will it be able to manifest its qualities.
It is not necessary that you should compare yourself with others, or imagine yourself greater or higher than them. In fact, such comparisons are to be regretted, and are unworthy of the advanced Ego, being a mark and indication of a lack of development, rather than the reverse. In the Meditation simply ignore all consideration of the respective qualities of others, and endeavor to realize the fact that YOU are a great Centre of Consciousness–a Centre of Power–a Centre of Influence–a Centre of Thought. And that like the planets circling around the sun, so does your world revolve around YOU who are its centre. It will not be necessary for you to argue out this matter, or to convince yourself of its truth by intellectual reasoning.
The knowledge does not come in that way. It comes in the shape of a realization of the truth gradually dawning upon your consciousness through meditation and concentration. Carry this thought of yourself as a “Centre of Consciousness–Influence–Power” with you, for it is an occult truth, and in the proportion that you are able, to realize it so will be your ability to manifest the qualities named.
No matter how humble may be your position–no matter how hard may be your lot–no matter how deficient in educational advantages you may be–still you would not change your “I” with the most fortunate, wisest and highest man or woman in the world. You may doubt this, but think for a moment and you will see that we are right. When you say that you “would like to be” this person or that, you really mean that you would like to have their degree of intelligence, power, wealth, position, or what not. What you want is something that is theirs, or something akin to it. But you would not for a moment wish to merge your identity with theirs, or to exchange selves. Think of this for a moment To be the other person you would have to let yourself die, and instead of yourself you would be the other person. The real you would be wiped out of existence, and you would not be you at all, but would be he.
If you can but grasp this idea you will see that not for a moment would you be willing for such an exchange. Of course such an exchange is impossible. The “I” of you cannot be wiped out. It is eternal, and will go on, and on, and on, to higher and higher states–but it always will be the same “I.” Just as you, although a far different sort of person from your childhood self, still you recognize that the same “I” is there, and always has been there. And although you will attain knowledge, experience, power and wisdom in the coming years, the same “I” will be there. The “I” is the Divine Spark and cannot be extinguished.
The majority of people in the present stage of the race development have but a faint conception of the reality of the “I.” They accept the statement of its existence, and are conscious of themselves as an eating, sleeping, living creature–something like a higher form of animal. But they have not awakened to an “awareness” or realization of the “I,” which must come to all who become real centres of Influence and Power. Some men have stumbled into this consciousness, or a degree of it, without understanding the matter. They have “felt” the truth of it, and they have stepped out from the ranks of the commonplace people of the world, and have become powers for good or bad. This is unfortunate to some extent, as this “awareness” without the knowledge that should accompany it may bring pain to the individual and others.
The Candidate must meditate upon the “I,” and recognize it–feel it–to be a Centre. This is his first task. Impress upon your mind the word “I,” in this sense and understanding, and let it sink deep down into your consciousness, so that it will become a part of you. And when you say “I,” you must accompany the word with the picture of your Ego as a Centre of Consciousness, and Thought, and Power, and Influence. See yourself thus, surrounded by your world. Wherever you go, there goes the Centre of your world. YOU are the Centre, and all outside of you revolves around that Centre. This is the first great lesson on the road to Initiation. Learn it!
The Yogi Masters teach the Candidates that their realization of the “I” as a Centre may be hastened by going into the Silence, or State of Meditation, and repeating their first name over slowly, deliberately and solemnly a number of times. This exercise tends to cause the mind to centre upon the “I,” and many cases of dawning Initiation have resulted from this practice. Many original thinkers have stumbled upon this method, without having been taught it. A noted example is that of Lord Tennyson, who has written that he attained a degree of Initiation in this way. He would repeat his own name, over and over, and the same time meditating upon his identity, and he reports that he would become conscious and “aware” of his reality and immortality–in short would recognize himself as a real center of consciousness.
We think we have given you the key to the first stage of meditation and concentration. Before passing on, let us quote from one of the old Hindu Masters. He says, regarding this matter: “When the soul sees itself as a Centre surrounded by its circumference–when the Sun knows that it is a Sun, and is surrounded by its whirling planets–then is it ready for the Wisdom and Power of the Masters.”