Question: When I meditate I often feel a split in my consciousness. Part of my consciousness is in a deep meditation while another part of my consciousness is observing and carrying a running commentary on what is being experienced. I would like to know how this can be overcome.

Sri Chinmoy: There should be no split in your consciousness. When you are properly meditating, at that time your consciousness will become a single entity. If you feel that you are enjoying a running commentary, then you have to know that either your mind or your vital or your physical is not totally one with your meditation. Your heart is meditating most devotedly, but the mind may not be there. In our path we give more importance to the heart than to the mind. But that does not mean that you can neglect or ignore the mind. The child whom we call “heart” is our dearest. But the mind also is our child, so we cannot throw away the mind. The mind has to become one with the heart so that the soul can carry both of them together. When you are meditating, sometimes your mind does not want to sit beside the heart or become one with it. That is why you feel the running commentary; it comes from the mind. Very rarely does it come from the vital.

There are three stages of meditation. The first stage is where your particular experience takes place. In spite of having a very good, high, deep, sublime meditation, you feel that your whole existence is not there. You can separate your existence part by part. If your whole inner existence were there, then you could not separate it; the body, vital, mind, heart and soul would go together. Although in your psychic consciousness you are having a very high meditation, it will not be totally fruitful because all the members of your inner family are not participating.

In the second, or higher stage of meditation, you will see that you have become totally one with your consciousness. Now we are just using the term “consciousness,” but in that stage you will actually be able to see and feel what consciousness is. At every moment you will be able to see the divine streak of light, the all-pervading light inside you which has united you with the Highest. In this stage of meditation, you have become the connecting link between earth and Heaven.

Then there is the third state, the highest state of meditation. In that state, you will be able to feel or see yourself as both the meditator and the meditation itself. Here the seer and the seen come together. This happens only in the highest transcendental Consciousness, when you go beyond nature’s dance. All the disciples will one day have that realisation because all will have to rise above the dance of nature. The dance of nature means here temptation, frustration, anxiety, fear, failure, success and all that.

In one of our Upanishads it mentions that there are three kinds of meditation: gross meditation, subtle meditation, and transcendental meditation. So, your particular experience will be only gross meditation. The second stage that I mentioned will be subtle meditation. The third one is transcendental meditation, where you become totally one with your meditation and, at the same time, you remain beyond your meditation. All the time you feel that you are beyond, beyond. But again, it does not mean that in gross meditation you cannot enter into your deepest meditation. No, you can. But only one part — your heart — will enjoy the deepest meditation; the physical, the vital, the mind will not enjoy the deepest meditation. That is why it is called gross.