On the Importance of Continuing the Emptiness of Mind Exercise Beyond Step One.
>> I have a question about the emptiness of mind. You said in a recent post (and have stated in several other posts) that it is necessary to continue refining the emptiness of mind even after the Step One goal of ten minutes is achieved. I'm not quite sure as to why this would be so. As far as I know, Bardon does not state that this is necessary. Almost all of the Step Two and further exercises in IIH require concentrating on a single thing (e.g. the Step Two Mental Training concentration exercises). Isn't the performance of these further exercises enough - why is it necessary to also continue with the emptiness of mind exercise? If it is necessary, are there any other exercises that it is necessary to continue with for which Bardon did not state that this is so, e.g., the thought observation and one-pointedness exercises? <<
Your question prompted me to comb the IIH text, looking for the places where Bardon says that the Vacancy of Mind exercise should be continued beyond Step One. But short of going through the entire book, line by line, all I found was one statement on page 94 of the Merkur edition. At the bottom of the "Magical Schooling of the Spirit" summary is the brief statement: "Exercises concerned with the avoidance of thoughts (vacancy of mind) have to be continued and must be deepened." The Ruggeberg edition (page 74) translates this a bit differently, but the intention seems the same. Even though this was all I could find with a cursory search, I'm certain that he reiterates this elsewhere in the body of IIH.
In any event, to answer your question about why it's important, the reason has to do with what L. noted the other day about how the vacancy of mind practice reveals the Self or Mind that exists beyond brain. No other exercise in the early Steps of IIH addresses this cognizance directly, yet the well developed awareness of this level of individual Mind is vital to the work of (most especially) Step Six and beyond.
Step Six begins the work of perfecting the mental equilibrium (which is finalized in Step Seven in preparation for Step Eight mental wandering) and of "mastering" the Akasha. Both of these works are dependant upon the vacancy of mind having *already* been deeply explored or, better yet, perfected.
In order to truly work with the Akasha, a VERY deep and solid vacancy of mind is essential. Perhaps Bardon's own words will help clarify this. In "Questions & Answers", page 42, question #65, "What is a Natural Mental State?", Bardon answered:
"It is the state of the spirit [i.e., mental body] in the Akasha principle, without thoughts, sentience or perceptions, and without time and space or activity of the spirit; it is absolute rest, nothingness, void."
This, of course, is a description of the perfect vacancy of mind. In order to place oneself within the Akasha and then work with it, one must first reach this "natural mental state".
However, ten minutes of the Step One version of this state is NOT the equivalent of Bardon's "natural mental state", especially if it's been years since you've worked with the Step One vacancy of mind. So, if a person who hadn't kept working at their vacancy was to actually reach Step Six, they would be facing a lot of catching up to be done. The depth of vacancy required for work with the Akasha (at least the sort of work that Bardon describes) takes time to mature. Of course the amount of time this takes varies from individual to individual and it may pass very quickly for a truly gifted person or one who has done this work in a past lifetime, but it would still take time and be a (temporary) diversion from progress.
As I said to L., the work of each Step, beyond Step One, assumes that the student has reached a specific minimum depth of vacancy and cognizance of the Self-beyond-brain. Of course all of the other exercises support this deepening of Self cognizance, but only the vacancy of mind exercise addresses it directly.
My best to you,
:) Rawn Clark
14 Jul 2002