Question: What is the best way to keep extraneous thoughts out of your mind when you are trying to meditate?

Sri Chinmoy: There are two kinds of thoughts: good thoughts and bad thoughts. One kind is healthy and one kind is unhealthy. Unhealthy thoughts, undivine thoughts, are our enemies, whereas good thoughts, divine thoughts, are our friends. We are standing at the door to our house and somebody is knocking at the door. We have to see whether it is a friend or enemy. If it is a friend, then we will allow him to enter. If it is an enemy, no, we will not allow him. But the difficulty is that sometimes when we open the door just a little, immediately the enemies may force their way in. So what do we do? We don’t open the door at all. We keep the door bolted from inside. Our real friends will not go away. They will think, “Something is wrong with him. Usually he is so kind to us. So there must be some special reason why he is not opening the door.” They have sympathetic oneness, so they will wait indefinitely.

But our enemies want only to bother us, to torture and destroy us. They will wait just for a few minutes. Then, after some time, they will lose all patience and say, “It is beneath our dignity to waste our time here.” These enemies have their pride. They have not conquered pride. They will say, “Who cares? Who needs him? Let us go and attack somebody else.” If we pay no attention to a monkey, the monkey will eventually go away and bite somebody else. It will enter into somebody else’s mind. But our friends will say, “No, we need him and he needs us. We will wait indefinitely for him.” So after a few minutes our enemies will go away. Then we can open the door, and our dearest friends will be there waiting for us.

So, in the beginning, it is best for us not to allow anybody in. We will remain silent for a few minutes and say, “Since I do not know who my friends are and who my enemies are, since I don’t know which thoughts are healthy and divine and which ones are unhealthy and undivine, the best thing is for me to keep my mind totally empty. I will keep my mind’s door shut for a while, and then when I open it, I will see only my friends, the good thoughts, and I will let them enter.”