Why Traditional Methods of Meditation Fail – Frustration of Thought and the Thinking Mind – Principles of Observation and Concentration

of Thought and the Thinking Mind

Originally titled
The Psycho-Physical Principles of Observation and
Concentration in the Way of Divine

Adi Da Samraj

August 20, 1977


practice of the Way of Divine Ignorance is founded in
Paradox. There is no direct method for removing either
behavioral tendencies or the obsessive stream of thinking.
Nonetheless, these patterns must be mastered and undone,
since they are the essential content of the motivated,
compulsive, and illusory display of egoic suffering, or
subjective differentiation.

It is simply that they cannot come
to rest by attacking them directly. Such only reinforces the
subjective pattern itself, by establishing a double-bind
pattern in which the subjective being works against

To try to stop thinking itself is
the same as to try not to think a particular thought. Try
not to think of a tree. It is impossible, because you must
keep the thing in mind in order to try not to think

The same is true of the strategic
attempt to control the entire thinking mind itself. Try not
to think. It is impossible, because the thinking process
must be kept intact in order to intend not to think. If you
remember not to think, you may keep up an effort that makes
the mind blank, but you will not bring an end to the
intention of thought itself. You will only frustrate your
own intentional and automatic thought process.

This simple functional observation
is the ultimate key to actual control of obsessive
subjective activity-indeed, to responsible control of all
life-processes. To seek to control any living process
directly only reinforces the process itself. This is felt as
an irreducible double-bind, the tacit sense of dilemma. Such
a state is constantly motivated and remotivated to seek its
own solution, but it remains forever in the condition of the

There are two laws at work in the
situation of living processes that should particularly be
observed in this case: (1) What is initiated (or set in
motion) tends to continue in motion (or in evidence) until
diverted or replaced by another initiated motion. (2) What
is not used tends to become obsolete. On the basis of these
two laws we have the options of two primary modes of
operation in any functional situation: (1) concentration,
and (2) observation.

The stream of subjective appearances
or impulses is a stream of motions or tendencies to either
mental-emotional or physical action. The tendency of
subjective motion is constant, until the process that
initiates the subjective illusion, or the illusion of
independent consciousness, becomes obsolete. Therefore, what
tends to arise from moment to moment is not the cessation of
the stream of subjectivity, but, rather, changes in its
tendency of motion. Until we are utterly or radically
responsible for subjective motion (as thought and impulse),
we do not cease to initiate or continue the process.
Therefore, the pattern of subjective thoughts and impulses,
or feeling-stresses, is itself continuous, but it is
constantly changing.

Our egoic mind is a pattern of
countless motions, founded in many kinds of experience or
reactivity, kept in a constantly stimulated and changing
condition by the presently arising events of the total
living experience. Therefore, subjective motion will not
tend to cease, but always tends to continue and to change.
Even physical death does not bring it to an end, since
physical death is superficial or external relative to the
field of energy in which the subjective process is
initiated. The subjective process does not come to an end as
a result of any objective or circumstantial change. Rather,
like the physical body, it arises as a result of a
reactionresponse at the level of light, or the field of
Awareness, rather than as a result of solid, elemental, or
material events, which are themselves only lower vibratory
versions of the light itself. The thought, desire, or
feeling impulse-the present tendency or direction of
subjective motion-tends to change eventually, even
momentarily, but subjective motion itself tends to be
continuous, throughout life, after death, and throughout the
eternity of time and space.

The ordinary method for controlling
subjective motion is concentration, or the prolonged
maintenance of a single intention of thought. But this does
not tend to bring thought or intention itself to an end. On
the contrary, it reinforces it. However, it does tend to
prevent changes in the motion of subjectivity for a finite
period of time. It fulfills the natural law: What is set in
motion tends to remain in motion unless deflected or
interrupted. Profound concentration on a single subjective
motion prevents other tendencies from becoming effective. By
constantly reintending the intended motion over time, other
subjective motions are prevented from replacing it.
(Therefore, although other tendencies of motion continue to
arise, they are cancelled or immediately replaced by the
intended and re-intended motion or thought.)

Such is the secret of both
meditation and ordinary effectiveness. However, as already
suggested, this method does not bring an end to subjective
motion-since it is itself a form of intended subjective
motion – but it does control and direct the process toward
specific ends, either in the world of objective activity or
in the subtle worlds of mind and higher subjective or
mystical-intuitive knowledge.

If, however, there is to be ultimate
freedom and responsibility, there must also be an end to the
compulsive continuation of subjective motions. To such an
end, the method of concentration will not be the means. It
is not itself a way of ceasing to initiate subjective
motion, since it is only a way of continually intending a
specific subjective motion. Even so, individuals constantly
seek to overcome behavioral, mental, and egoic patterns by
the method of concentration-and they are

You cannot, as was said at the
beginning of this essay, remove tendencies of behavior and
of thinking, including the ego illusion, the illusion of
independent consciousness itself, by direct efforts that
only manipulate the egoic or subjective processes of
conceiving, thinking, perceiving, feeling, desiring, and
acting. Concentration is a method of effective and chosen
use of the force of subjectivity and mind. It may
temporarily bypass a particular tendency of thought or a
complex impulse to action, but it cannot bring an end to
subjective motion itself.

Therefore, any subjective motion
that has been previously established in the complex
subjective order will inevitably return to motivate us in
the future. Even if contrary concentration is willfully
maintained to the point of trance, the motive or tendency we
seek to avoid will arise again in time.

Therefore, meditation, which is
founded in concentration, is not sufficient for
Enlightenment. It cannot achieve Enlightenment, or prior and
radical Freedom in Truth. It is simply a conventional and
useful method for using our born functional

How, then, does the reactive,
subjective, egoic, moving, impulsive, independent
experiential drive itself come to rest as a matter of
ultimate responsibility? If the illusory and irresponsible
motion of subjectivity is to cease, it must simply not be
initiated! This way sounds simple, but what will you do
about it? The conventional response or wisdom is to try to
stop thinking and motivated existence (rather than simply
not thinking, not presuming an independent consciousness or
any independent object). But the effort to stop what is
otherwise already and irresponsibly initiated is only the
way of concentration. It does not radically cease to
initiate the motion of subjectivity. It only tries to stop
or prevent the already mysteriously initiated subjective
tendencies or motions.

The true or ultimate and native
means is not the direct one of concentration, which depends
on the law that whatever is set in motion tends to remain in
motion. Rather, the true means is the natural, free, or
prior intuitive presumption of mere observation, which
depends on the law that whatever is not used tends to become

Whenever we are consciously present
as simple awareness of arising motions (or internal and
external objects arising to the egoic witness), we are not
then principally active to initiate, continue, or bring an
end to any arising tendencies. Therefore, we do not then
reinforce the presently arising pattern of subjective
motion, nor do we reinforce the pattern of subjective, egoic
arising or motion itself.

The Way of Divine Ignorance, in each
of its four fundamental stages, is founded in the process of
free feeling-attention, or mere intuitive observation of the
whole process of the present arising of gross, subtle, and
causal objects to present awareness. The conscious process
in each stage is a version of this native disposition, which
is not in conflict with present tendencies, but neither is
it possessed by present tendencies. It is the key attitude
of every stage. True observation, which is the foundation of
the various forms of the conscious process in the midst of
experience, does not create, intend, support, or oppose any
arising, any subjective tendency or motion, or any moment of
differentiation and objectification. Observation does not
intend. It is not a form of subjectivity, but of prior
intuition. Concentration, which includes all forms of
meditation, conductivity, and so forth (as well as the
meditative or intentional aspects of the application of the
various forms of the conscious process) is intentional.
Concentration is the principle, the primary functional or
intentional structure of egoic experience, or the motion of
subjectivity, the play of consciousness and all objects
(internal or external).

Paradoxically, the attitude of
observation, or the intuitive rather than the intentional
disposition, is not in itself a sufficient practical
foundation for Realization of the whole Way of Divine
Ignorance. In this Way, intuitive observation is always
linked to and presently combined with various forms of
responsible concentration of the whole bodily being. Thus,
in every stage of practice, free feeling-attention, or mere
observation, is linked with Lawful concentration, or
appropriate and responsible activity of the whole bodily
being. This dynamic combination of observation and
concentration is the natural process wherein the whole
bodily being is economized, or turned to its Lawful,
sacrificial form, and also utterly or radically transcended
or obviated at the same time. There is no appropriate
element of irresponsibility at any stage of the process. It
is always, from the beginning, a matter of radical
responsibility for the whole affair of arising experience,
through responsible intention, or concentration, and
intuitive responsibility for attention, or mere

Mere observation, or free
feeling-attention, is not itself a form of subjective motion
or intention. It is merely to observe arising motions. But
true or intuitive observation cannot itself be intended. It
can be obstructed, or made ambiguous. It can be temporarily,
and even then only apparently, put to sleep, or “forgotten,”
under the profusion of fascinations, distractions, desires,
impulses, and all the forms of knowledge, high and low. But
it is itself native to us at every moment. It is mere or
free attention, or natural awareness of all events, within
and without. It is always already true of us and as us, but
we are free to be present as such mere awareness or mere
presence only when we are intuitively free of identification
with all forms of subjective motion, distraction or

We are always already free or
present as mere awareness of any arising conditions (gross,
subtle, causal-waking, dreaming, or sleeping), unless the
pattern of subject-object conditions has distracted us to
the point of irresponsible absorption in conditions
themselves. Therefore, if we are so distracted, we will not
tend to presume our native disposition of mere awareness of
conditions, unless we are awakened to that disposition (or
free attention) via true “hearing,” or spontaneous
intuition, in which the pattern of subjective motions is
interrupted and its prior Condition revealed.

Such “hearing” occurs in the case of
those who are drawn into the Company of the Spiritual
Master; when attention is moved to concentrate in the
Spiritual Master’s demonstration and argument, there is
spontaneous awakening to true “hearing” and the disposition
of mere attention or intuitive observation. Devotees of the
Spiritual Master are those who have thus “heard” the
Teaching, and who are naturally committed to the forms of
concentrationthe Lawful or sacrificial disciplines, the
forms of love or heart-radiance, including the various
developments of the conscious process and of
meditation-which are revealed as obviously true when
attention is liberated from the subjective stream of
knowledge, or experience.

Simple awareness of arising
conditions is not willful, cool, detached, and
self-involved. It is not looking-watching, whereby neither
the egoic, subjective witness nor the witnessed objects ever
change or become obsolete. Such detachment is itself
attachment, if only to the fixed position of the presumed
and independent self-and, therefore, it only reinforces the
ego illusion and its desires or conditions. Simple awareness
is not true “observation” when it is intended. When it is
intended, it is at best a form of concentration, or
meditation. Mere observation is not a condition in itself.
It does not turn toward or in on itself. It is tacitly
disposed to whatever arises, if anything arises, subjective
or objective. It is not a method that can be taken up in
order to control or watch arising events. It is not a
strategy. It is not itself identified with any problem. It
is simply our natural, present disposition when we are
“hearing,” that is, when we are simply at rest in the
intuitive presumption of Ignorance, rather than any
subjective form, any experience, any condition, any kind of

The true form of observation, or
mere awareness, is native to the devotee in moments of
”hearing” the Teaching, or in Revelations of the Divine
Reality or Presence (rather than willful presumptions of the
Divine Reality or Presence). True observation is present in
random (not strategic) self-observation, and in true moments
of the conscious process, as in Remembrance of the ”Name of
God” (or the Revealed Presence), enquiry, re-cognition, and
radical intuition. It is not observation or simple awareness
if it is a willful strategy, without the foundation of mere
or intuitive observation or awareness. Observation is not
self-watching-which concentrates upon events intentionally,
notices them, and identifies with the act and the data of
the noticing. Observation is true only in the effortless,
native moment, in which Divine Ignorance is the obvious
Condition of self and all conditions. True observation does
not merely confront or perceive a condition-rather, it is
priorly free of that condition, and, therefore, intuitively
recognizes it, feels it without obstruction, and dissolves
(through nonreinforcement) its limiting and binding force.
True observation is identical to Divine Ignorance, and,
therefore, it acquires no knowledge by association with
conditions, but abides as no mind, no experience, formless,
pristine, and void. Thus, from observation, or free
attention, which is identical to Divine Ignorance, springs
the force of love, or unobstructed feeling, which is
identical to Divine Radiance. Simple awareness, or
nonstrategic and intuitive observation, and love, or native
concentration, are the practical expressions of the Divine
Reality, or Ignorance-Radiance.

As the devotee persists in simple
observation over time, changes and new responsibilities
appear in the realm of subjective motion, concentration,
action, and meditation. The forms of the conscious process,
founded in intuitive observation (observation founded in the
intuitive presumption of Divine Ignorance and in the
Revelation of the Divine Condition), and randomly extended
as either intentional or tacit understanding, do not
reinforce the presently arising motion or intention, and,
therefore, the present tendency is weakened. Over time,
accumulated tendencies become obsolete in this manner. It is
simply that in every moment of the conscious process, or
mere observation, extended as intuitive understanding, they
are not in fact intended. Thus, as irresponsible or
automatic tendencies become weaker, new intentions (forms of
Lawful, sacrificial, or more appropriate and responsible
concentration) may be established. Thus, new levels of
sacrificial responsibility constantly appear as the devotee
matures in the stages.

As long as we live, the forms of
responsible or Lawful concentration cannot and should not
themselves be avoided-but they certainly become simpler and
fewer. The process of mere or intuitive observation does not
take place in a vacuum. There is not any tolerable or
absolute cave in which to observe and not act, as long as
tendencies (the persistence of subjective intentions) exist.
Therefore, throughout the various stages, there appear new
levels of free concentration, responsible sacrificial
intention, or love, in the extending of the forms of the
conscious process and of conductivity, both in meditation
and in ordinary action, corresponding to freer levels of
subjective simplicity.

From the very beginning of this
practice, there must be free commitment (based on “hearing”)
to a discipline of nondramatization of grosser reactive
tendencies, that is, a tacit agreement to merely observe, as
free attention, and without concern, the subjective
tendencies that previously controlled your behavior. And
this is combined with a coincident agreement to
intentionally concentrate the whole bodily being as feeling
in forms of Lawful (sacrificial, or appropriate and serving)
activity, or love. These two aspects of the primary
discipline are combined in various ways at every stage of
the Way in a process of growing responsibility or freedom
relative to the primal intention or cognition of
differentiated consciousness.

The two primary tools-observation
and concentration – are the structural principles of the
whole process of the Way of Divine Ignorance. They are the
instruments of responsibility or recognition of the
seemingly irresponsible activities or appearances of thought
and motivation, self and body, the whole display of
independent conditions that arises as experience. However,
this dynamic process that characterizes the Way is itself
necessarily founded upon radical intuitive insight into the
incident of differentiated or egoic experience. That
intutition is the presumption of Ignorance itself, granted
through “hearing.” It coincides with the tacit re-cognition
that all subjective motion, the whole play of subject and
object, is an unnecessary recoil, an unnecessary but primal
action from which all conventional actions emanate as
reactions by force of implication. The intuition of the
prior Condition of all actions, reactions, and conditions is
awake in the moment of the presumption of Ignorance. That
presumption, including the tacit re-cognition of the
non-necessity of all independent or differentiating and
subjective motion, is the necessary foundation of the whole
Way. It is Realized through listening, or profound attention
to the Realized argument and mere Presence of the Spiritual
Master, to the point of “hearing,” or feelingcommitment to
the disciplines of the Way.

Therefore, the Way of Divine
Ignorance is awakened as free attention (or “hearing”)
through mere attention (or “listening”), and it is generated
as a process or play of observation and concentration, or
free feeling-attention and responsible or Lawful,
sacrificial, appropriate action, until there is the
spontaneous cessation of differentiating intention, or
subject-object illusions, in Divine Translation. Divine
Translation is not absorptive meditation, but Translation
from the stream of independent subjectivity into the Prior
Bliss-Fullness of the Divine Condition, the Infinity of
Ignorance-Radiance, which knows no center, no independent
self, no parts, no other, and no limits.

In the Way of Divine Communion, mere
observation, awakened through “hearing,” is extended as the
conscious process of random recollection, both tacit and
intentional, of the Revealed Presence. Such recollection,
founded as it is in prior intuitive Ignorance rather than
subjective willfulness or egoic strategies in dilemma, is
pure intuitive observation rather than a conventional form
of self-possessed concentration.

In the Way of Relational Enquiry,
the conscious process of mature recollection (the “Name of
God”) has become a profound intuitive disposition that
yields the whole and entire bodily being into and through a
cycle of true self-observation (rather than selfwatching).
This matures as that degree of intuitive insight wherein the
conscious process of enquiry (in the form “Avoiding
relationship?”) may be generated at random, as a tacit and
intentional responsibility. When there is maturity in
enquiry, wherein the reactive reflex of self-possession is
continually released, then the whole bodily being may also
be concentrated in the initial phase of conductivity (which
follows naturally and spontaneously on the process of the
“Breath of God”).

Ascent, Awakening, and Translation:
The Last Two Stages of Practice

The third stage of practice in the
Way of Divine Ignorance is named the Way of Re-cognition.
Practice develops in three stages in the Way of
Re-cognition. Each stage is founded in whole bodily
Communion with the Radiant Current of Divine Life. And
growth from stage to stage is generated through the
continuous process of re-cognition, which is a form of
nonverbal enquiry into the reactive contraction or
self-binding recoil of the psycho-physical structures of the
bodily self.

In the first stage of this practice,
attention in the Life Current is repolarized to the brain,
through a special exercise of the breath in Communion with
the Radiant Divine via the Bodily Current of Life. In the
second stage of this practice, contemplation of the Radiant
Divine is made via the structural complex of the brain core.
In the third stage of this practice, the brain-mind, indeed,
the entire body-mind itself, is transcended in contemplation
of the Divine via the heart, prior to breath and

This is done until there is
spontaneous regeneration of the total structural mechanism
of the body-mind-but without bondage to the illusion of a
separated personal consciousness. At that point, the fourth
stage of practice in the Way of Divine Ignorance begins. It
is named the Way of Radical Intuition. And in this final and
perfect stage of the total Way, the Bodily Current of Life
is free of all obstruction in the body-mind, and so It
invades every part, from the heart, simultaneously to the
crown and to all extensions or parts of the body. There are
no forms of concentration, inwardness, or subjective
orientation toward subtle or visionary experiences at this
stage. The whole and entire body-mind is tacitly re-cognized
(or known again) in every moment, and Realized to be only an
unnecessary modification of the Radiant Consciousness that
is the Divine Self. Therefore, as this Disposition matures,
the body-mind is literally Transfigured, Transformed, and
Translated into the Radiant Divine.

Once the heart breaks open in the
Divine Identity, the brain cracks open in the All-Pervading
Radiance, and the body dissolves in Life, never to be known

Adi Da Samraj

August 20, 1977