Steps Across The Bridge

By S. Ormerod

Blavatsky’s Meditation Diagram:
Steps across the Bridge.

Blavatsky’s Meditation Diagram stands on its own merit as a practical guide to meditation. Our understanding of it can be greatly aided if we have some previous knowledge of the nature of man. The Theosophical tradition describes man as being “sevenfold” and “dual”.  It is said that we are the microcosm of the macrocosm; we are a reflection of the universe.

When we look inward through meditation, contemplation and introspection, we will begin to understand our own true nature.  Through conscious intent to refocus our lower personal nature, to become a reflection of our true essence, the desired understanding of life will be opened to us.  It was H.P. Blavatsky’s intent that this meditation diagram will give us the guidance to fulfill such a task.

When looking at man as both  sevenfold and dual, we come to understand that there are those aspects of man which are of the earth and those which are of the spirit.  As dual beings our sevenfold nature can be divided in two; we have the lower personal part of our being, which is referred to in Theosophical literature as the lower quaternary (four principles) and we have the higher (eternal, spiritual) part of our being called the higher triad (three principles).

Mind participates in both parts of our nature. The pure Mind [manasic] principle of our higher triad and the Desire Mind [kama manasic] principle of our lower quaternary are connected or bridged, and this aspect is referred to in theosophical literature as the “Antakarana”.

This bridge is the energetic awareness connection between the self of the every day world and the Self as a pure spiritual being.  It is through this bridge of mind that the lower personality may be transformed, “switching its focus” from enhancement of personality, sensation, desire, ambition, etc. to a life intent on reflecting its true spiritual nature, the real human being.

It is with intent of mind and desire for union with the eternal that we begin to awaken to the fact that conscious effort is required for such a transformation.  It is with the understanding of this need, that H.P.B. dictated this meditation diagram to her closest most dedicated students, so that they may make the switch and change the focus of their energy.  The self conscious awakening of the lower nature to its true divine heritage is the goal of all of humanity.

Although one might say that this is a lifelong study and this union is difficult to obtain,  it is only necessary that we begin and that we try to understand these concepts. Understanding grows with intent and it is in the active undertaking of the task, that progress is made. It is our sincere desire to understand that is most important.

The Acquisition part of the diagram is asking us to imagine ourselves in all space and time simultaneously.  It asks us to continually adjust our attitude of mind toward “all existing things”, to that which is “neither love, hate nor indifference” and to perceive all embodied beings as being of “limitation only”.  In this part of the meditation we are asked to actively change our way of thinking from that which is focusing on the particulars of everyday life, to the focus of universality.

The “Deprivations” are based on the concept of  the student obtaining the realization that the true nature of man is “without attributes” such as personality and conditioning and asks us to refuse to think of associations of places, times and forms, distinction of friend or foe, possessions, personality and sensations, as being true reality.  This part of the diagram is asking us to observe our personality or lower quaternary, as being transitory.  Blavatsky states that there will be no risk of self delusion if the personality is deliberately forgotten.

Throughout this meditation, a description of what is “the real” and “the unreal” is given to the student, with the intent of helping us to better understand all of the aspects of ourselves, the true nature of our being and our being in the world.  Never again can we say to ourselves, “I do not know – I am ignorant and therefore not responsible for my actions”.