Live neither in the present nor in the future, but in the Eternal.
—Light on the Path
In all metaphysical teaching, concentration is the first step which leads to our development.
We all remember the old adage, — “Don't cross your bridges before you get to them.” This suggests that much of our trouble is in the imagination. That is, we say, “If such a thing should occur,” or “I don't see my way clear now to do it.” So we must begin by bringing our mind to the thing in hand. Use right reason seriously, vigorously, calmly, without allowing anything else to distract you. If we practice daily, concentration upon all the little or trivial things, then, when something of larger proportion presents itself, we are ready to meet it. We must not defer our concentration until something of importance comes to us, but “come up through the common,” as Emerson wisely puts it. We are to be satisfied with our present activity. Concentration, then, is the first thing to cultivate. We can do nothing until we have learned that lesson.
Now when we have learned to control our mind, when it has become a willing pupil, then, and not till then, are we able to live in the Eternal. Then we drop the present; for we are able to place our mind, at will, upon anything or any place, and be oblivious to all else. So we not only give up the present, but also the future, and live in the Eternal. When we reach this point, we have a larger sense of freedom. For instance, today we have many perplexities, little ones they may be, but still they tower so high that they obstruct our horizon. We cannot get a glimpse beyond. This is the time to sit quietly, and think out into the Eternal. The wholeness of life makes the many phases of it easy to live: whereas, if we continually think of the various experiences of our daily living, we feel weighted and depressed.
Kill out desire for sensation. —Light on the Path
This includes everything pertaining to the senses. I will take up only one desire today,—the desire to please. We have been taught that we ought to please. It is an error. Now I do not mean that it is wrong to please, but that it is wrong to desire to please. It shows a weakness in character, the love of approbation. We are led into agreeing with another when we would Otherwise differ, if not wholly, yet in a measure. We do not wish to be untruthful; yet, in reality, we are. A desire for approval is most subtle selfishness. When we live seriously, nobly, spiritually, we shall pass into a state of consciousness where such desire is unknown.