These notes are condensed from Swami Ashokananda's book "Ascent to Spiritual Illumination"
Chapter 1: The Psychology of God-Vision
God-vision depends on our state of mind. If your mind were scattered or inattentive you may not see a tree in front of you.
The purpose of today morning is to define the state of mind necessary to the experience of the Spirit.
What is God? He is the Eternal, Infinite One and Being. This infinite Being is all joy, all light, all goodness, all truth. This is the Being we are trying to experience.
Where is that Being? Everything that exists He is interpenetrating through and through.
How is it that we don't experience and perceive Him? There is some kind of block due to which we cannot see Him. The distraction and scattering of the mind is the block.
When the mind has learned not to dwell on matter - and the mind can learn it - then spiritual life has begun, not until then.
You escape [sense objects] by learning to be quiet. That is the great art. Learn to be quiet, learn to feel the deep things within. When the mind becomes a little more peaceful you begin to experience the Spirit.
How can we make the mind a little more peaceful? One thing of prime importance is to be detached from sense objects …with perception let there be no appetite. That is called the state of a saksin - a witness, a spectator. In that state you are safe.
When you apply the salt of discrimination, the senses will fall away…and you will say, "No, I don't want it. I want that alone which lasts forever; I want the Eternal Reality."
Another remedy for a restless mind is the companionship of those who have already reached a higher state. The company of the spiritually enlightened will make of a mortal man an immortal God. Search for such people! Keep company with them and you will find your mind has withdrawn from the sense world and a deep and calm state has come.
You should cultivate these various means - a little concentration, a little devotion to God. And service to others - for its own sake, expecting no return is also highly purifying, because it takes the ego away; if the ego is not there who will be seeking the pleasure of the senses.
When your mind has withdrawn from the senses, you will become aware of another mind - the mind that is hungry for God.
To put it briefly, the whole thing consists of quieting the mind more and more, of concentrating the mind. If the scattered mind is here, then this multiple universe is here; when the mind is unified, there is only God. That is the simple fact.
Therefore, by hook or by crook, by every effort, take your mind away from the plane where it becomes scattered. Exercise your willpower in conquering desires. Tell yourself how horrible it is to submit to the dictates of your mind and your senses and how much better it is to think purer thoughts.
When we try to achieve the truth in this way, all angels and all gods and all saints and sages of the past and present - all of them range themselves beside us and push us forward; when you sincerely undertake this struggle all the forces of good are at your disposal.