To constantly progress in meditation we must always strive for a silent, empty mind. Only in a thoughtless mind can we experience the true peace, beauty, vastness, clarity, light and joy of our inner being; otherwise though we may have glimpses of our deeper reality, we are selling ourselves short and will never realise our potential.

To silence the mind is challenging because we are accustomed to living and operating from a milieu of thoughts, ideas, comparisons, prejudices, rationalisations and judgements. To extricate oneself from this labyrinth is like separating the pattern from a fabric – seemingly impossible. At a glance, we see the pattern – our outer appearance or personality – rather than the fabric, our inner reality. To identify as the fabric, we must see through our minds’ outer patterns.

Unless we consciously and intensely challenge thoughts in meditation, they will always persist like a background hum we don’t even notice after a while. We are so habituated to this hum, we even imagine it to be necessary and indispensible. Complacency is a great danger in our meditation practise: to accept the inevitability of background thoughts as part of the furniture, is to allow our meditation practise to slide into decline.

Every thought is a blot obscuring the sun, a smudge on the mirror, a germ breathed in, a weed in the garden. True, one blot, one smudge, one germ, one weed does not ruin everything, yet thoughts always bring their friends and soon proliferate uncontrollably: quickly and inevitably the sun is completely blotted out, we cannot see the mirror at all, we are sick in bed from the flu, our garden is overgrown. Our meditation is finished.

Our constant imperative is to not allow even one thought to disturb the sanctity of our meditation.