On that afternoon, Theo was in a surly disposition when he arrived. The Elder said nothing and waited patiently as his friend was keeping his hands – and heart – warm with a cup of tea.

Theo. – At times I feel so keen to achieve better outcomes that it makes me nervous. Everything seems to be so close and yet so distant! There are moments when I feel I could draw nearer to the Divine, who is here, at my fingertips; but at other times, it seems that It is light years away from me and that I’ll never get close to It. So, doubt gains ground. I feel dejected and much confused.

The Elder – You should always start from the present moment, observe and adjust whatever you can, leaving the rest to the Master. Now we shall meditate, if you don’t mind.

Theo. – When you say…

The Elder (interrupting):
– Please, start meditation.

Theo understood. Despite his unrest, he rapidly interiorized, centered himself and felt everything become aligned.
Then he focused on the heart, on the source of the Divine light.

As the Elder transmitted to him, the young man could feel the soothing effects of that transmission.
Everything inside him was getting relaxed.
The inner Presence settled in and a wave of love flowed in…
He let it carry him away, far away, towards the Infinite…
Silence was reigning…
Silence within silence.

After a long moment, the Elder whispered:
– You can open your eyes, Theo, but stay in contact with the Source within your heart.

As the old sage was totally present for his young friend, his left eye seemed to be immersed in his own heart while his right eye was plunging into Theo’s heart. He asked quietly, “Where is your confusion now?”

Theo. – Gone. It’s totally gone.

The Elder – Since your mind (manas) is adjusted and has regained its poise now, your intellect (buddhi) can work properly. No emotion will disturb it. You can truly think.

Theo thought it over and explained: I think it was all due to my ego’s disarray when it was faced with such an immense task. When I am in a meditative state, and more particularly when you help me, my heart, my soul (atman) becomes my inner centre and all confusion disappears.

The Elder – That’s a matter of egocentricity. When the Divine is in place, at the centre of our being, everything falls into place.

Theo. – So we have to fight that ego whenever it wants to be at the centre and plays tyrant, haven’t we?

The Elder – That would be fighting ego with your ego, and it won’t work.

Then the Elder remained silent. Theo felt a wave of love invade the silent harmonic resonance of their hearts.

The Elder – The solution is not a mental one and it doesn’t involve the ego. If I feel helpless, powerless, or irritated and full of anger, that means I must immediately let it go heartily.

Theo. – Easy enough to say…

The Elder – So, now you can better understand why you need to train to meditate.

Theo. – I do, all the more as by meditating I forget all about myself. But I can’t possibly live keeping my eyes shut, can I?

The Elder smiled.

Theo. – Well! I know. I could also keep my eyes open and meditate, of course.

Feeling relaxed and much calmer, he went back to… a new cup of tea the Elder enjoyed pouring for him. 

Theophile the Elder
Excerpts from Dialogues with Theophile the Elder
Theophile the Younger’s Initiation