This prayer teaches us about the subconscious activity of thought during meditation.
November 25, 1913
THE greatest enemy of a silent contemplation turned towards Thee is certainly this constant subconscient registering of the multitude of phenomena with which we are put into contact. So long as we are occupied with cerebral activity, our conscious thought veils for us this excessive activity of our subconscient reception of things; quite a portion of our sensibility, and not perhaps the smallest, plays the role of a cinematographic apparatus without our knowledge and indeed to our detriment. It is only when we silence our active thought, which is comparatively easy to do, that we find surging from all sides the multitude of little subconscient notations which often drown us in their overflowing stream. This is why it happens, as soon as we try to enter into the silence of deep contemplation, that we are assailed by innumerable thoughts — if thoughts they can be called — which do not in the least interest us, do not represent for us any action of desire, any conscious attachment, but which only prove to us our inability to control the receptivity, we might say, mechanical, of our subconscient. A considerable labour is needed to silence all these useless noises, to stop this tiresome succession of images, to purify our minds from these thousand little cumbersome and valueless nullities. And it means so much time unprofitably lost, a terrible waste.
What is the remedy? In their simplistic way, some ascetic disciplines preconize solitude and inaction: to shelter the subconscient from all possibility of any registration; this appears to me a child’s remedy, for it leaves the ascetic at the mercy of the first surprise; and when he thinks he is perfectly master of himself, if one day, he wishes to come back among his fellows to help them, his subconscient so long deprived of its receptive activity, is sure to abandon itself to it with an intensity greater than ever as soon as it gets the smallest opportunity.
There is certainly another remedy. Which? Undoubtedly we must learn how to control our subconscient as we control our conscious thought. The means for arriving at that are numerous. A regular introspection in the manner of the Buddhists and a systematic analysis of one’s dreams — almost always constructed with this subconscient registration — form part of the method to be discovered. But there is certainly something more rapidly effective….
O Lord, Eternal Master, it is Thou who wilt be the Teacher, the Inspirer; Thou who wilt teach me what I should do; so that I can, after an indispensable application to my own case, make others profit by what Thou wilt have taught me.
With a loving and confident devotion, I salute Thee.
The text above is quoted from the Third Edition, 1954 (translation by Rishabhchand Samsukha)
This book is freely available at https://www.auro-ebooks.com/prayers-and-meditations-1954-edition/