In the beginning the fruits of contemplation are received into the mind as if from above, and they are most delicate to grasp and hard to hold.

The following poem by Rands will help us to understand.

Into the skies, one summer’s day,
I sent a little Thought away;
Up to where, in the blue round,
The sun sat shining without sound.

Then my Thought came back to me –
Little Thought, what did you see
In the regions whence you come?
And when I spoke, my Thought was dumb.

But she breathed of what was there,
In the pure bright upper air;
And, because my Thought so shone,
I knew she had been shone upon.

The thought came back, bringing with it new shining, because it had been shone upon. It is something like sending up our thermometers and hygrometers and pressure gauges into the upper atmosphere to bring back messages to us.

People who are given to much thought on meditation on any subject often go to the end of their thought, and their mind-hunger then prompts them to look into the apparent void beyond. This is the nature of the practice of contemplation, so that when you have completed your meditation on an object or subject, and cannot go further, you do not drop it with a sigh, but, poised in that condition, you look expectantly at it. Your conscious activity is preserved if you gaze quietly at your highest thought. Then comes a moment of self-forgetfulness which is really the dropping of your limited viewpoint, and you receive an intuition, insight or illumination. Beauty, love, power, peace, understanding — something within these groups then comes to you.

Once I was walking with a friend along a street of houses, some with gardens containing trees. At one place we heard a bird, beautifully singing. My friend said: “It must be a bird in a cage. We could not expect a free bird like that in a place like this”. And then I thought, “The bird is here in a cage. It is like an inspiration. When it comes we must capture it and put it in a cage of words”. And then, “I must go often to that cage and listen to the captive bird. Some day I shall become more attuned to it, and not so much a stranger. Then my bird can go free, and it will come when I call, and perhaps I may visit it in its own garden before long”. Our inspirations are to be cherished and lived with until we are fully attuned to them.

There is no shortage of testimony to these intuitions. I will content myself with one example, from the musical composer, Wagner. Writing to Frau Wesendonck, he said: “The Tristan drama is and remains a marvel to me. I am more and more unable to understand how I could produce such a thing”. All such high experiences lead to deep thoughts. Wagner further wrote: “I often turn with longing to the land of Nirvana. . . It is the bliss of quitting life. . . of last redemption in the wondrous realm from which we wander farthest when we strive to enter it with fiercest force. Shall we call it Death ? Or is it not night’s wonder world ?” The greatest art is artless, and comes as a surprise to the artist. This is a principle that applies to all the varieties of our spiritual hunger.

We need not question as to whether our inspiration comes from a deeper working of our own mind, a direct perception of some truth, or is “picked out of the ether” where the thoughts of all high minds somehow dwell. Enough that it is beyond all personality and personal interests and ownership, and cannot be known by any trade-mark or label. It is one of the most inspiring things to know that only steps of truth can carry us to-a goal of truth, only steps of love to the height of love, and only steps of private courage to freedom. We have to be true to ourselves before anything in the world — whether thing or person — can be true to us.

Again, we must not ask for a particular inspiration. It is a condition of inspiration that we must take what it brings. Hoping and wishing for this or that message or instruction, or presuming what is likely to come, can only shut the door of truth.