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Yoga Practice

Tennyson again records a similar experience, "A kind of waking trance I have frequently had, quite up from boyhood when I have been all alone. This has generally come upon me through repeating my own name two or three times to myself silently, till all at once as it were, out of the intensity of consciousness of individuality, the individuality itself seemed to dissolve and wave away into boundless being, and this is not a confused state but the clearest of the clearest, the surest of the surest, the weirdest of the weirdest, utterly beyond words, where death was almost a laughable impossibility, the loss of personality (if so it were) seeming no extinction but the only true life."(1) This experience is utilized by the poet in his Ancient Sage.

For knowledge is the swallow on the lake
That sees and stirs the surface shadow there
But never yet hath dipt into the abyss
The Abysm of Abysms, beneath, within,
The blue of sky and sea, the green of earth,
And the million-millionth of a grain
Which cleft and cleft for ever more
And ever vanishing, never vanishes
To me my son more mystic than myself.

William James also writes: "It is that our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through life without suspecting their existence, but apply the requisite stimulus, and at a touch they are there in all their completeness, definite types of mentality, which probably somewhere have their field of application and adaptation. No account of the universe in its totality can be found which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded; looking back at my own experiences they all converge towards a kind of insight to which I cannot help ascribing some metaphysical significance."

(1) Tennyson, A Memoir by H. Tennyson.

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