Question: When you meditate, are you conscious of what is going on around you?

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on what kind of meditation it is. If it is the highest type of meditation, then one goes deep within and there one sees everything that is happening, but he is not disturbed by anything external. Within and without, one will be aware of what is happening, but at the same time one will not be affected at all. This is what happens when one is in the highest state of meditation. But, if he is a beginner, when he sees something, immediately he will be disturbed. If the beginner is meditating and right in front of him there is a cat moving around, his attention will be diverted. His meditation is gone. Anything, even the slightest noise, will affect his meditation. He will be disturbed. But, if one is advanced, really advanced, then he will not be disturbed, in spite of seeing things happening in front of him, right in front of his nose. He will not be disturbed. He will be aware of it but he will not be disturbed.