Question: For a beginner who is starting to meditate, it is very difficult to be still and calm. The mind is thinking about so many things, you see a lot of pictures and so on. Can you please explain what is happening?
Not only a beginner, even one who is meditating regularly may come across restless moments. Meditation means restful alertness and is a temporary moment of suspension of the mind from its own activities such as comprehension, misapprehension, imagination, sleep and memory.
It doesn’t mean the mind is totally at rest while one sits for meditation. Sitting for meditation and meditation are two different things.
In meditation, the mind entertains the idea you introduce into it voluntarily. The idea could be anything ranging from sound to silence. It could be anything that is from visual to light. It could be anything that goes with the liking of the person. When the mind flows to the point of attention continuously for a long period of time without effort and strain the mind is in a state of meditation. When the mind stays in this face for a time it naturally gets into a state of integration called Samadhi. Samadhi is the extension of meditation.
In Meditation, there are three reference points. One is the meditator itself; the second is the object of meditation and the third is the process of meditation. Though the mind is in meditation it is not suspended totally. In this process the mind starts to withdraw from its own natural activities and can flow to the point of attention continuously for a long period of time towards the idea that is planted voluntarily.
As the mind is in a process any impression registered in the memory could pop up in the mind. It is quite natural as far as this process is concerned. If you let loose the pop-ups it will naturally withdraw to the source from where it came and the meditator gets a possibility to go along with the pop-ups with his awareness to the source of thought from where the pop-ups came.
Source of thought is the memory hidden in the subconscious. Subconscious mind is like an innocent child. As you simply observe the pop-ups when it recedes you will get into more and more relaxation as you are moving from the conscious mind to the subconscious. When you arrive at the subconscious you are absolutely innocent and whatever is presented to the subconscious mind during the meditation appears to be true to the meditator.
The meditator will integrate with the source easily if he is not trying to reject the impressions that are creeping up in the mind during the process of meditation.
So don’t consider the impressions coming up in the mind while meditating as obstacles. Consider it as helping tools to cross the conscious realm of the mind to reach to its depths.