The prime purpose of meditation is to quiet the mind. When we hold one thought with interest, as we hold it, other thoughts keep dropping away. Thoughts of the day,-what he did to me, what she did, what I should have done, etc., all these thoughts are active on a subconscious level. As we hold to one thought, these subconscious thoughts quiet; they become still. They drop into the background, and that quiets the mind.

  Now, the most important thing in quieting the mind is interest. When you are very interested in something, you'll override all other thoughts. Likewise, if, with intense interest, you want to know: What am I? What is this world? What is my relationship to it? If there's a real burning desire to get the answer, then all other thoughts drop away and the mind becomes extremely concentrated. Then the answer shows itself. It comes from within. The answer is there all the time. The quieting of the thoughts allows us to see it, to see the answer that was there all the time, there in the realm of Knowingness, the Self.

  The starting point should be a strong desire for the answer. When that desire is strong we get the answer. That's why mans extremity is Gods opportunity. Extreme adversity causes in us a desire to get out of it with such intensity that we concentrate our mind and discover the answer.

  When I started my quest I thought thinking would give me the answers. I had a mind that was as active as any mind could be. But I was at the end of the line. I had had a second heart attack and they told me I was finished, that I had only a short time to live, and so I had to have the answers. And even though my mind was far more active than the great majority of minds, the intensity of the desire for the answers caused me to hold to one question at a time, obliterating all else. This concentration did it!

  I started seeking with no knowledge of metaphysics, no knowledge of the way. In fact 1 was anti all religion and all metaphysics; I thought it was nonsense, for the weak-minded, for people who believed in fairy tales.

  But it was only because of the intensity of the desire to get the answers, I had to have the answers, that they began to come, and they came relatively quickly. Over a period of three months time I went from an extreme materialist to the opposite extreme: the material is nothingness and the spiritual is the All.

  The wish to get the answer was so strong, that in spite of my mind being one of the noisiest of minds, the answers began to come. I automatically fell into things (I knew no words for them) like samadhi. I would concentrate on a question with such intensity that I would lose awareness of the world, lose awareness of this body, and then I would be aware of just a pure thought, the thought itself would be the only thing existing in this universe. That's absorption when the thinker and the thought become one. One loses consciousness of everything but that one thought. That's a very concentrated state of mind and the answer is always discovered right there.

  I started with What is happiness? What is life? What do I want? How do I get happiness? I discovered that happiness depended upon my capacity to love. At first I thought it was in being loved. I reviewed my life and saw that I was very much loved by my family and friends and yet I was not happy. I saw that was not it. Continuing, I realized that it was my capacity to love that gave me happiness.

  The next question was What is intelligence? I persisted until Ah! I saw it! There is only one intelligence in the universe and we all have a direct line to it.

  Then I worked on responsibility and discovered that I was responsible for everything that happens or happened to me. Creation was something I created!

  Finally, I held the question What am I? until the answer presented itself.

  And this went on and in a matter of three months time I believe I saw the entire picture, went all the way, only because of the concentrated approach. I knew nothing about the subject; I knew nothing about the direction, the way, the path, but I wanted to know: What am I? What is this world? What's my relationship to it?

  You discover that the whole world is nothing but you, that there never was anything but you all along, because there's only One and you are It! But that isn't the final state. You come out of it and there's still a certain amount of mind left. So you go back into the meditative quest until there is no more mind controlling you. When you've eliminated all the habits of thought, all the tendencies of mind, you are free; then you can use your mind and you are the master and director of it. It no longer determines you, you determine it.

  At present we are over 90% of the time controlled by the unconscious mind.
  Q: That's the conscious and unconscious mind both?

  Lester: Well, the conscious mind is easily controlled. The subconscious is not because it is not easily seen. It's a mechanism we set up of not looking at our thoughts. of making them operate automatically. We did it to our entire body; it's all automatic now. And then we did it to all thoughts but the thought we're interested in at the moment.
  Q: Why is it that we did it to all thoughts except the one we're interested in at the moment?

  Lester: Because we don't want the thoughts in the first place. so we push them away to the background. We are happiest when there are no thoughts. Sometimes, when you work with your hands, youre very happy, right? Why? The thoughts are quiet.
  Q: Then your mind is quieted at that time, or is it operating on the subconscious level?

  Lester: Well, consciously and even subconsciously it's quieter. We really dont want thoughts. Thoughts are the things that make us unhappy; even the happy thoughts make us unhappy because while we are enjoying something, we're concerned about the possibility of maintaining this pleasure which we know is not going to last. The thought of the pleasure at the same time evokes the thought that it's not going to last. Even thoughts of happiness are limited. The really happy state is the no-thought state; it's the state of Knowingness and is beyond thought.

  We started with the subject of meditation. Meditation does seem to be a question in many people's minds who have meditated for years and years. The best type of meditation is with question. When you just drop into a nice quiet state without question, you get a good feeling but no progress of getting the Knowledge.
  Q: There isn't any progress when you're just quiet?

  Lester: There is in that you're moving toward the quiet state. And the quiet state is a better state than the noisy state. In that sense it's a step forward. But the only problem we have now is called ignorance. We're ignorant of the fact that we are infinite. To get rid of ignorance we need the Knowledge of our infinity. To get the Knowledge we have to enquire. So when we go into meditation and just get peacefully quiet, that's good, -but don't stop there, then get the answers. It's necessary to get quiet to get the answers. Only the answer to What am I? gets us to the top. That is easy to see, isn't it? So if we want to take the -quickest way, we start with the question that we finally have to answer: What am I?
  答:是有些进步,相对吵闹的状态来说。但是我们现在的问题是所谓的“无知”。我们对我们所是的无限一无所知。为了脱离无知,我们需要知道我们的无限。为此我们必须探索。所以当我们在冥想时入静,这固然很好,但是不要止步不前,我们要获得答案。为了获得答案,入静是有必要的。但是只有得到了“我是什么” 的答案,我们才是到达了顶点。所以如果想要进步神速,就带着“我是什么”的问题去冥想。

  I want to relate this to meditation. For more rapid growth meditation should be with question. Here's where the jnanis get the advantage over the bhaktas. Surrender and devotion throw us into nice feelings and they're good: But a jnani goes further; he says, All right, don't stop there, get the answer. It's only when we fully know who and what we are that we're at the end of the road. So the fastest and best way to meditate is to pose a question, get quiet and stay quiet until the answer shows itself. Then go to the next one until all the answers are there.
  Q: If we find we aren't making much progress, could we pose the question What's holding me up?

  Lester: Sure, you should. It's a good one.
  Q: You know I think you had it easier because you didn't have a lot of preconceived ideas.

  Lester: You're right. I was very lucky that I knew nothing because intellectual knowledge about the subject is an obstacle. The ego substitutes the intellectual knowledge for the real experiencing of it. I was very, very fortunate not to have had any knowledge of it.
  Q: You also didn't realize that it's as difficult as most people think it is.

  Lester: Yes. However, knowing what you're telling me helps one let go of that obstacle of intellectual knowledge. I prod you in this direction, don’t I? I say: Don't believe anything. Start from scratch. Build up your knowledge on the solid foundation of proof, step by step. Everyone must do this.
  Q: You can't take someone else's experience?

  Lester: Right, you would be working on hearsay, on what they have said, and the only useful thing is that which you experience. I relate it to driving a car. If I say I know how to drive a car after reading a book that directs you to turn the key on, start the motor, shift into drive and step on the gas, do I know how to drive a car? No, not until I experience it can I drive a car. It's the same thing on the path; we must experience everything.

  We must, of course, adopt the attitude that what the Great Ones say is so, that they have experienced it. However, you must check it out and prove it for yourself. And the basic Truth is that theres only one Reality; there's only one absolute Truth, and that is that this whole world or universe is nothing but God, but better than that, is nothing but my very own Self. God could be far away; He could be miles and miles away in cosmic space, but my very own Self is right here, is something I know about, is something I can perceive, it is my very own Self! So, using Self as God is far more practical than putting Him out there, putting Him apart from us. But each one must start from the bottom and prove this whole thing for himself. As the proofs come, the more they come the more we accept until we experience the whole thing.

  You still want to hear more on meditation?
  Group: Yes.

  Lester: Every aid should be a means of quieting the mind. If meditation is difficult we can prepare the way by chanting. Chanting puts our minds on the meaning of the chant itself and the thoughts of the day drop away and that quiets the mind. Exercising the body, doing certain asanas, etc., do the same thing. Anything that helps is good whatever it is. The basic thing is to quiet the mind. Being loving and good makes the mind quieter.

  The mind is the only thing that keeps us from seeing our Infinity. The mind is nothing but a collection of thoughts of limitation. And in meditation we try to quiet that mind so we can see this infinite Being that we are.

  Meditation should never be passive. We should never try to force the mind to go blank. Meditation should always be with question for the best results.

  The more we practice meditation the easier it is to do. To get the real deep insights requires a momentum. When meditation gets to be more enjoyable than things of the world, then we go at it with enthusiasm and desire for it. And then we just can't wait until we get back to it. When we get that momentum going, the mind gets quieter and quieter until this infinite Self is self obvious and just glares at us and we laugh. Now maybe with all this talk on meditation, we ought to try it, O. K.?
  Q: Just one question, does concentrating on your hands help to get your mind quiet? It seems to me.

  Lester: If it helps, it's good.
  Q: It's not harmful then?

  Lester: Oh no. There are several centers one may concentrate on. A good place is up here, between the eyebrows. Concentrating here takes your mind off other parts of the body. It is the center for the third eye, the astral eye, the spiritual eye. It pulls us away from the lower centers of the body when we come up here. Some prefer the heart center. But anything that helps, helps!
  Q: I used to concentrate between the eyes but now when I do enquiry, I let the I sink down to the heart.

  Lester: The heart is a good place because it is the center of feeling, and feeling is closer to the Self than thought. It depends on your background. If you're a vichara jnani, it'll be the heart, but not on the left side, on the right side. If you're a raja yogi it'll be between the eyes. When I did my concentrating it wasn't on any location; it was on wanting to have the answer. Concentrate on seeking the answer.
  答:心轮是不错的位置,因为它是感觉的中心,而感觉要比念头更接近真我。要看你修的是哪个,如果你是vichara jnani,那么是在心轮位置,但是是在右边而非左边。如果你是raja yogi,那是在两眼之间。我自己当时并未集中在某处,只是想要获得答案。专注在对答案的探寻上。
  Q: I haven't thought in terms of answers. I just thought in terms of getting there, that's all.

  Lester: You see, anything in life that you wanted with intensity you always got. This goes for everyone. It's the same with the path. But it's the unconscious conviction that our joys lie in the world that keeps us away from getting the answer.
  Q: It sounds so easy the way you say it.

  Lester: The thing that determines the ease is the intensity of your desire for the answer. That's the crux of the whole thing.