Before one meditates, the body, vital and mind are constantly imposing their respective agendas upon us. It is easy to see why we can often feel conflicted. We “know” we should do one thing, “feel” like doing another. On the other hand, maybe we’ll just do nothing at all. As a result of regular meditation practice something happens—something that is very, very important. Before meditation, the body, vital and mind sheaths all talk at once. There is no “inner order”. And the sum total of these agendas create your sense of self, sometimes clear, sometimes confused, and perhaps even conflicted.

But, when you regularly meditate, the various layers settle down and define themselves and their agendas much more clearly. Each one of these layers has a distinctively different voice, a distinctively different “colour”, a distinctively different feeling about it.

To a certain extent, the sense of these different voices is common knowledge. When we experience anger, we’ll often say we feel it in the pit of our stomach. It is not a coincidence that the vital is located in that vicinity. When we have a strong heartfelt feeling, we experience it in the centre of our chest where the spiritual heart is located. That’s why when people experience this, they often refer to it as being “centred”. When we’re really in the mind, we can feel ourselves in our heads. Think of how you feel when you just completed paying your bills or filing your taxes!

When you quiet your inner being during your meditation, the different parts of your being and their voices become much more clear. Recognizing the different voices of these inner sheaths is extremely important because it provides an inner criteria to gauge your life existence. You’ll begin to recognize the heart’s response. Over time, its voice becomes clearer and clearer. In the same way, the voice of each sheath will become more evident. Not only do the sheaths themselves become clear, but also the illumined/non-illumined aspects become distinct as well. You will know when your illumined heart speaks. You will know when your unillumined vital speaks. It is based on these clear inner voices that you can gauge your actions and interactions in the world.

Excerpt on self mastery from A Twenty-First Century Seeker by Pradhan Balter / Blue Beyond Books / £12.99 learn meditation

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