Sit quiet and still and allow the eyes to unfocus. Hood the eyes (almost close them). Now allow your whole being to unfocus. This is scary so you need the stone in the belly to stabilize your being. You effectively enter a cloud. Feel the still quiet centre of this cloud and abide there as long as you can. Slowly the cloud disperses and you're in a room within a mansion. This is the first stage.
"Settle yourself in solitude, and you will come upon God in yourself."
The true student is drawn to spiritual work because, during her formative years, she has suffered, mildly or severely, and that suffering has been punctuated by a handful of very intense experiences of bliss or epiphany. These experiences – true events – have always occurred because for some reason her mind became momentarily quiet, allowing her to glimpse the world of energy and spirit operating behind the material world. The student realises, with all her being, that these experiences constitute reality and everything else is a superficial mirage. So she takes up a discipline that she hopes will increase the frequency of such events. The events are, on the one hand, yearned for because they are life-giving and life-sustaining but, on the other hand, they are feared and kept at bay because they are too much – too intense. Eventually though, as the years pass by and the work accrues, the student becomes strong and humble enough for the next stage – working for continuity of the event – for which she needs to detach completely from the material world. In my own experience, and that of my teacher and his teacher, these two life changes: taking up spiritual work and then drastically shifting the emphasis of that work to effectuate continuity, occur roughly at the Saturn-returns – the ages of 25-30 and 52-60 ("You don't get much change from thirty years!" he once grumbled to me).
Take good care of your time. Watch how you spend it, for nothing is more precious. In the twinkling of an eye, heaven can be won or lost.

For whosoever exalteth him sylfe shalbe brought lowe. And he that hubleth him sylfe shalbe exalted.
I told my daughter the story of Adam & Eve.
"Wow dad! Is it really true?"
"Well it probably never happened but it's certainly true."
I heard of an ancient Zen exercise. Two low tables a few yards apart. On one table a large rounded stone – a big pebble – heavy but manageable. The monk approaches the stone, bends his legs and embraces it. He then lifts it up by straightening his legs and takes it to the other table where he carefully and gently deposits it by bending his legs. He then straightens up, places his hands together in an attitude of reverent prayer and utters a mantram or invocation. After a second or two he repeats. This goes on for an hour or so. The idea, as with all repetitive simple exercises, is that the mind eventually becomes quiet and the monk becomes possessed by the doing. So much so that the pebble enters his dantien – the stone in the belly – a mood of detached sober involvement, but also an energetic actuality.
What holds us back? Selfishness.


"At a certain point the mind must fall silent and admit its powerlessness."


If you want to upset the bourgeoisie (and who doesn't?) just start talking affectionately about God. It works every time.


For how long should I meditate?
For as long as it takes.
For what takes?
For the mind to settle and become peaceful.
But that would take all day!


"This world of ours is very sick, and only contact with heaven will be able to cure it."


embrace the heretical imperative


it's impossible to predict the welling up of a song


Tell a student to do something and they'll do it but they'll do it wrong because they'll do it the way they've always done everything – carelessly, superficially, habitually. The student, to progress, must really look at where it's all coming from. What is the very nature of free spirit?
Whatever comes easy is unappreciated and so misunderstood and so probably wrong.
at an hower when ye thinke not