PB’s Sunset Meditation

PB’s description of this practice is found in The Wisdom of the Overself, chapter XIV The Yoga of the Discerning Mind. Below you will find a summary of the exercise which can be found in Notebooks of Paul Brunton, Category 3: Relax and Retreat

To be used as a variation on the meditation on the rising or setting sun
(given in The Wisdom of the Overself)

First stage: He should fix his gaze upon the rising sun or coloured sky. All other thoughts should be put away at first and his whole attention concentrated upon the physical phenomenon which he is witnessing.

The rays of light must enter his body through his eyes. In this way alone do they attain their utmost efficacy for the purpose of this exercise. Second stage: The student tries to partake of the profound inner pause wherein the entire solar system is briefly plunged, to experience within himself what is actually occuring within the greater existence of which he is a part . . . to tranquillize all his thoughts so that personal matters are wholly absent.

The Sun behind the sun, the mystical Light of the World-Mind illumes man’s mental world and at the same time penetrates it through and through, provided he is present and passive in consciousness to receive its power. Third stage: This stage moves with the outspreading or waning light until he embraces the whole planet along with it. For this purpose he has to:

  1. picture a great globe growing larger and larger within himself as a formless consciousness mentally dissociated from the physical body, until it assumes GIGANTIC SIZE;
  2. make the conception as alive as possible by permeating it with faith and conviction, holding the sense of countless creatures existing everywhere;
  3. reverse the process, until it finally encloses his own body alone (globe gets smaller and smaller);
  4. exercise the belief that he is mind not matter;
  5. strengthen the perception of the true relationship between himself and cosmic life, his physical and vital oneness with the universe . . . and try to realize that his own existence is inter-connected by a beginningless and endless web with all the other existences around him.
  6. There must be deep devotion and heartfelt feeling in his thoughts. Goal: He reaches the goal of this stage when the physical scene vanishes, when he is no longer conscious of it, when attention is turned inward wholly on the beautiful mood or spirit thus invoked, when all form is absent and he feels in complete rapport with the universal being, so complete that he knows he is an integral part of it.

When he feels something of this relationship as a loving response, then he should cease trying to absorb support from the All–whose soul is the World-Mind–and begin to pass it out compassionately and share its grace unselfishly with others.

He sees them in his imagination suffused with its warm light and sublime peace.

First, he directs his effort with his love towards those who are near or dear to him and to any special individuals whom he would like to help in this way.

Then, he directs his effort with his love towards mankind in the mass–whom he must regard as unconsciously forming one great family.

Third, he directs it towards individuals who are hostile to him, who hate, injure, or criticize him. He must consider them as his teachers, for it is their business to pick out and make him aware of his faults. He need not send his love, but he must send them his pity. Close exercise with: Short, silent, personal prayer to the Overself.

— Notebooks Category 3: Relax and Retreat > Chapter 7: Sunset Contemplation > # 18