Being on the path is a marvelous thing, but it is a path. There are jungles on either side, and if we wander off into the jungle, taking too many liberties, continuity of the vibration of our unfoldment will begin to wane. Suppose you are meditating regularly in the morning and at night, day after day. Perhaps they're not long meditations, but they are regular. You are generating a certain vibration out of it. If you then stop that routine and take your awareness into feeling sorry for yourself or mentally arguing with a friend, you lose the subtle thread of superconsciousness. You're going through an old, old pattern and it will be difficult to get back into the vibration of meditation. Your dreams at night may become nightmares. Your circle of friends may change. This is called, in a sense, spinning out into a different area of the mind.
If you have not yet experienced this, it's not a recommended experience on the path. And if you have experienced it, you know what I am talking about, and you know the importance of protecting yourself and your meditations. Psychic protection, to sensitive people, is extremely important. It involves every detail of life--your home, friends, clothes, diet, even your dreams. You should live in places that are clean, very clean. Paint your place beautifully. Assure yourself that the inner atmosphere is clean and unpolluted.
We have an outer atmosphere, and we have an inner atmosphere. The inner atmosphere can become polluted, too, just like the outer atmosphere can. All sorts of influences from the lower astral plane can come in on the inner atmosphere, and this we don't want. We want the inner flow of the inner atmosphere, which is within this atmosphere of air and ether, to be absolutely peaceful and sublime.
How is this done? By keeping your house, your meditation room, as clean as possible. By entertaining few guests and then only people of the same caliber and nature. Other than close relatives, guests should not stay more than three nights. Why? Because then they bring too much distraction, too many other influences, into the home. Finally, the whole atmosphere may be disrupted. Many families have broken up and lost their home, and children have gone homeless simply because guests have stayed too long and worked into the inner atmosphere and brought in too many influences of a distracting and disturbing nature. This is an old, old traditional custom that dates back many thousands of years, and these old customs are based on sound judgment. If they are understood and followed, they assure and protect our contemplative life.
Keep your environment positive so that the inner feeling is always content. Keep your home shrine or meditation space radiant, so that the inner feeling there is always uplifting. As you go along the path, the radio mechanism will become highly tuned, very positive. Being positive, it will register all types of influences. Influences that are distasteful to you will come through as strongly as influences that are really magnificent. You have to learn to shield out the static by finely tuning this mechanism. That is why you strive for mastery of sadhana, mastery of concentration, your ability to hold awareness where you want it, when you want it for as long as you want to, and mastery of your ability to experience kaef, pure awareness aware only of itself, by taking awareness out of the whole thing into just being aware. This practice of kaef is one of the fundamental protectors from psychic or astral invasion, for when you are in that state, great clarity and willpower persist and the lower states are transcended.
To attain and sustain kaef is a simple practice. You pull awareness out of the thought processes. You pull awareness out of the emotional processes. You pull awareness out of the bodily processes, and you're just completely on that pinnacle of being aware of being aware. That's so necessary to practice every day, even if you do it for a split second.
The experience of kaef can be attained by anyone on the face of the Earth, at least for a split second, because it's so easy to be aware of being aware. To hold that experience and to stabilize the physical and emotional elements long enough to hold that intensity for even a minute takes more practice--not too much, but consistent practice. To maintain kaef for two minutes requires more effort, more will, more dedication to the life of sadhana. Five minutes requires more. That's the test.
When you meditate, you become inwardly strong. You become extremely sensitive, and sensitivity is strength. But if you are not psychologically adjusted to the things you may be hearing and seeing and the depth to which you might see, you might see things that will be disturbing to you, that will upset your nerve system. Now, it is true that if you are centered in yourself completely enough to be all spine and just a being of energy, you can go anyplace in any type of environment, inside or outside, and the environment would be better for your having been there. You would not absorb any of the distracting or negative vibrations. But until that day comes, it is better to be wise and live in a vibration and among people who can help stabilize the force field around you, so that your inner life goes on without interruptions, of spinning out, having to crawl back and spinning out and then having to crawl back. Why go through all those different experiences, which are inconvenient, time consuming and totally unnecessary?
As we go along the path, we become more and more and more sensitive. This sensitivity is a wonderful thing. It's like graduating from being an old battery-set radio of the 1920s and 30s to a fine, solid-state television. This sensitivity that you will begin to recognize is so refined and yet so strong. You communicate with yourself through the nerve currents which extend out, around and through the physical body--physical nerve currents as well as psychic nerve currents. Before we get deeply within on the spiritual path, we're not too sensitive. But as this sensitivity appears, we begin to see through our hands. We begin to hear feeling. We begin to see sound, and all sorts of new faculties manifest.
Now, this can be very distressing, because we see things that we ordinarily would not be able to see. We hear meaning in what people say that ordinarily we would be unaware of, and we can become very disappointed in life, in people or in ourselves. This may seem like falling into a bog on the path, and we don't want to do this. We want to be sensitive, and yet we want protection, psychic protection. Our dreams become more well defined, but we don't want to be vulnerable to negative areas of the mind, disruptive areas, experiential areas of the astral plane while we are sleeping. Neither do we wish to be attacked on the lower astral plane by the mischievous beings, entities, that are on that particular side of life.
We need this astral protection. We need this psychic protection. The group helps the individual and the individual helps the group. The force field of a group of people on the path goes along at a certain rate of intensity which is not broken, and this gives us tremendous psychic protection. In the very same way, a positive group of people only admit into their midst other positive people. A group of businessmen have a well-managed force field, and generally only a businessman of their same caliber can come and mix with them. A group of artists has a force field, and only artists of the same caliber can get into it. Why? If they let everybody in, they wouldn't have a force field. The business would fail. The art would go into chaos. Friendships would be destroyed, because of other influences coming in and amongst the people.
Force fields protect and sustain not only our outer forms of expression, but deep spiritual layers as well. When we go "out" into superconsciousness, if we are sensitive and unable to protect our subconscious mind, all sorts of other types of influences can enter. We don't want this to happen, and it's not necessary. It is a deterrent on the path, for we then are exposed to unseemly astral influences that detract us from our quest.
Make friends with those who are on the path. Be with fine, positive people. Don't be with negative, complaining people who have no relationship to what you are doing on the inside or who are criticizing you for what you are doing. There's the old statement, "One bad apple can turn the whole bushel rotten." Maybe that will be reversed in the New Age; a lot of things are changing in the New Age. Maybe at some time a whole bag of good apples will make a bad apple good, but so far it hasn't occurred. Until such a time, we have to be wary of a natural law of nature and live among others of virtuous character and conduct, others who share spiritual insights and seeking.