I want to say about the practices, that practices could be done mechanically, or they could be done whole-heartedly. And the difference is great. I am saying it from my own experience of practices, having done them mechanically and having done them whole-heartedly myself. When they have been done mechanically, they perhaps take six months or a year to produce a little effect. It produces the effect just the same, but that effect which is produced in twelve months of practicing mechanically, is produced in twelve days if one practices whole whole-heartedly. Often people who have no idea come to say to me, “Is it [i.e. the doing of practices] not mechanical?” But they do not know that they make it mechanical. It is not mechanical, but they make it so.
And now to tell you what do I mean by doing practices whole-heartedly: not to to allow other thoughts to enter, in the time when one is doing one’s practices, however interesting the thought may be and how much your life may be concerned with that thought, however interesting it is, it must be kept away. Then there are certain reactions that one feels from practices, one must not be surprised at that–for instance a sensitiveness felt physically, mental or morally. For no one can attain spirituality without sensitiveness. To be sensitive is to be respondent to influences within and without. The lack of sensitiveness makes a person like a stone. The stone is not sensitive, and so it is not respondent to influences coming from within and without. Very often those to whom practices are new wish to imagine that it has a certain reaction upon them. It may be that the reaction is caused by something else, but that is a different thing. The only reaction of practices is sensitiveness, if it ever comes. And if this reaction has not shown upon the person, that shows that the person is doing the practices mechanically, and not whole-heartedly.
The standard of normal health, according to the mystical point of view is quite different from the standard known by the physicians. Physicians consider it normal health where there is no sensitiveness. The moment sensitiveness begins, according to the physicians it is not normal. The mystic makes a difference between man and a person by their sensitiveness. Man is the person who is normal according to the physicians. A person is a being who is normal according to the mystic. When you say here is a personality, that means: here is someone who is sensitive. And if that is not wakened in that person he is not sensitive. The spiritual path apart, even such work as that of a teacher in the school, a professor, the work of a lawyer, of a physician, of a statesman, without the touch of that sensitiveness, considered by a mystic a sign of spiritual awakening, that person is not fit for his work. He may be qualified by his degree, and by his honors, but he is not yet a person. If that roughness, that stiffness, that lack of sympathy is not broken, and if a new life is not created from the depth of his being, he is not a person, even to be a worldly man, a lawyer, a physician or a statesman.
It must only be remembered that too much of every good thing must be avoided. By passion of will the concentration will break. It must have a certain amount of will. Very often a person with intense will power, who says, “I will keep that thought,” he will break that thought. I have very often seen people with intense will focused on their concentration, and always failing, because they break their concentration by their intensity of will. There is nothing like taking all as a play, even meditation or a concentration. Play it, without being too serious about it. For instance, “I imagine that I shall think of a large pearl. A pearl which cannot be found in a shop. And I am amusing myself by looking at that pearl. I do not exhaust my forces, I am playing. I look at that pearl. I am enjoying looking at it. It is a pleasure to me.” Another person takes that pearl before him, thinking, “Where shall I get it? I want it so much, I would like to have it.” He is breaking that pearl, it is too much.