Now to make an enriching, important digression: it's important to note that some scholars and adepts believe contemplation instead of concentration should be the term used for the first activity of transcendental consciousness, that concentration follows contemplation.
In their analysis, the average seeker — especially in the modern world — has a particularly turbulent mind. In many cases, even after many days of practice, it is nearly impossible to concentrate the mind on an apple or an elephant with success. The aspirant should not give up hope but should instead first become familiar with the object by observing it in a friendly way and asking the mental content to become more focused through a contemplative process such as asking oneself, "What do my senses tell me about this apple?"
The aspirant then considers what the eyes, ears, nose, sense of touch and taste reveal to him about the object which he is striving to focus upon one-pointedly.
Another question then follows after the first has been considered fully: "What do my mind and memory tell me about this apple?" Present and past thoughts about the apple are then brought up and duly noted.
Another question is asked: "What do my feelings and emotions tell me about this apple?"
These masters go on to say that when the mind is so gathered, it most easily holds the meditation object — the apple — still. And when the object becomes perfectly still in the mind, the one-pointed mind these masters call this one-pointed stage concentration, or mind poise.
So, you see, the differences about the progression of transcendental consciousness are important, thoughtful, and quite helpful. In the first method, based on concentration, one tries to hold the physical form of the apple in the mind. In the second method, based on contemplation, one asks questions about the object, gradually centering and settling the consciousness on the object. You must determine which process is easiest for you. Don't try to do a hard process if you can do an easy one. Either start with concentration as we used it first in this lesson, or start with contemplation, as mentioned here, and get on your way.
Likely you should also be told about one more consideration. The meditation object does not necessarily have to be still. While stillness is generally desirable, some people have a particularly difficult time concentrating on a still object. They find it easier to concentrate on the movement of the breath, or to think of a bird flying through the sky, or a fish swimming through the infinite ocean.
If you have difficulty maintaining your mental content on a still object after two weeks of trying, then you may wish to change your object to a moving one; and the motion of your awareness may enable you to more easily avoid distractions and disruptions of your thought.
Hopefully, mentioning the two views of the first steps of transcendental consciousness, as well as the still or moving object, will help you find the best way for you. Later on, when you have learned transcendental consciousness, you can enjoy the richness of these abilities by focusing on different objects over a period of several years. The beauty and joy of meditation are great rewards, in addition to the practical value of having easy access to your higher consciousness.
During contemplation (that state in which the object of meditation shines in the mind), the object is the one content which stays in the mind easily — without interruption, distraction, limitation, or distortion. You are aware you are contemplating and your experience is beautiful. Your mind easily maintains the apple, the meditation object, and has no inclination to wander or halt your contemplation.
What yet remains to occur? After all, your mind is clear and undisturbed. Still, there remains a very definite problem, a big barrier to transcendental consciousness. Can you see what it is? Let's go forward.
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