In meditation we turn inward, diving deep into the heart and expanding our consciousness, going deeper and higher than everyday ordinary consciousness.
However sometimes there are things that stand in our way – and often those things can be found within us: our mind, our vital energy, and our body. The mind is full of thoughts and refuses to be silent to allow for meditation. Our vital energy refuses to allow us to sit quietly. Our body either falls asleep or has pain.
But a silent mind is crucial to meditation.
WHICH COMES FIRST?
Do you go first to your heart to meditate and hope that your mind stays silent? Or do you first attempt to silence your mind and then proceed to your heart? Many people say that the mind must be silent before you can meditate, or even that a silent mind is itself meditation.
My personal recommendation is to go to the heart first because it is the highest and most powerful part of our being that we can access at the present time and it’s where the soul resides. The mind is merely the loudest. Place your attention in your heart and that is where the attention of the mind automatically goes.
When I’ve attempted to silence my mind first, I’ve found it a negative experience. More thoughts just pop up, like dandelions on a lawn. “The mind is like Times Square on New Year’s Eve. The heart is like a remote cave in the Himalayas.” (Sri Chinmoy, Wings of Joy, p. 35). However the easier way is simply just to give your heart all your attention. If the mind gets in the way, very gently pull your attention back to your heart. This is a positive action, rather than a negative or punitive action. The mind will continue to have thoughts, but you won’t identify with the mind and the thoughts become merely like birds flying through your inner sky, or fish swimming in your inner ocean. They won’t disturb you.