THOUGHTS IN MEDITATION OR TAKING THE PUPPY FOR A WALK
The number one reason seekers give for coming to learn meditation is to learn how to still the thoughts, how to have a calm mind.
The mind is like a restless monkey that enjoys pinching and biting and never leaving you alone. On its own it rarely stops for a second. Thinking and meditating are radically different things. Meditation requires a still mind. To experience meditation we start simply with trying to still the mind. How to do this? We begin by practising concentration.
We can concentrate on our breath or an object or on a positive word or expression. And during this concentration on one thing, there comes a stillness. In the stillness is the meditation.
To stay concentrated takes practice. Just like training a puppy, when training it to heel, each time it wanders we call it to “heel”, over and over again until gradually it starts to listen. (See photo below.) The puppy treat is a moment of silence and stillness. Gradually these moments increase. And gradually your capacity for concentration increases.
A beginner to meditation will perhaps start with 5 or 10 minutes a day of practicing concentration. If you feel the inner urge to continue longer, please do so.
Increasing the power of concentration helps in our ordinary daily activities because there is a power in concentration. The intensity and focus in concentration means more can be accomplished and more successfully.
QUESTION: What is the difference between thinking and meditating, or are they the same?
Sri Chinmoy: The mind is not necessary for meditation, because thinking and meditating are absolutely different things. When we meditate, we do not think at all. The aim of meditation is to free ourselves from all thought.
Thought is like a dot on the blackboard. Whether it is good or bad, it is there. Only if there is no thought whatsoever can we grow into the highest reality. Even in profound meditation thoughts can come in, but not in the highest, deepest meditation. In the highest meditation, there will be only light.
Even reflection, which is a quiet kind of introspective thinking, is far from the disciplined vastness of meditation.
(MEDITATION: Man-Perfection in God-Satisfaction, pg.34, 35)
Question: Why is it that I am constantly bothered by thoughts?
Sri Chinmoy: The reason that you are constantly bothered by thoughts is because you are trying to meditate inside your mind. The very nature of the mind is to welcome thoughts – good thoughts, divine thoughts, undivine thoughts. If you want to control the mind with your human will, then it will be like asking a monkey or a fly not to bother you. The very nature of a monkey is to bite and pinch; the very nature of a fly is to bother people.
The mind needs a superior power to keep it quiet. This superior power is the power of the soul. You have to bring to the fore the light of the soul from inside your heart. You are the possessor of two rooms: the heart-room and the mind-room. Right now the mind-room is obscure, unlit and impure: it is unwilling to open to the light. But the heart-room is always open to the light, for that is where the soul abides. Instead of concentrating on the mind proper, if you can concentrate and meditate on the reality that is inside the heart, then this reality will come forward. Then, when you are well-established in the heart, when you are surcharged with the soul’s light, at that time you can enter into the mind-room to illumine the mind. But first you have to bring to the fore the soul’s light, which is available most powerfully in the heart. The light of the soul will not torture or punish the mind. On the contrary, it will act like a most affectionate mother who feels that the imperfections of her child are her own imperfections. The heart will offer its light to the mind, and in pin-drop silence it will try to transform the nature of the mind. (MEDITATION: Man-Perfection in God-Satisfaction, pg. 44)
Question: Ideally, should one reject all thoughts during meditation?
Sri Chinmoy: The best thing is to try not to allow any thought to enter into your mind, whether it is a good thought or a bad thought. It is as though you are in your room and somebody is knocking at your door. You have no idea whether it is an enemy or a friend. Divine thoughts are your true friends and undivine thoughts are your enemies. You would like to allow your friends to enter, but you do not know who your friends are. And even if you do know who your friends are, when you open the door for them you may find that your enemies are also there.
Then, before your friends can cross the threshold, your enemies will also enter. Again, you many not even see any undivine thoughts, but while the divine thoughts are entering, the undivine thoughts, like thieves, will also secretly enter and create tremendous confusion. Once they have entered, it is very difficult to chase them out. For that you need the strength of solid spiritual discipline. For fifteen minutes you may cherish spiritual thoughts and then, in just a fleeting second, an undivine thought will enter and your meditation will be ruined. So the best thing is not to allow any thoughts in during your meditation. Just keep the door bolted from inside.
(MEDITATION: Man-Perfection in God-Satisfaction, pg. 39 , 40)
No, not the annihilation
of the mind but the
illumination of the mind;
No, not the renunciation of life
but the acceptance of life;
No, not the hesitation of the heart but
the expansion of the
heart we need
in order to sign a permanent
contract with world peace.