Question: I've been trying to meditate for some months now, but have been troubled by restlessness and depression.

Sri Chinmoy: Let us deal first with restlessness. Restlessness comes because the mind is not properly controlled. Restlessness is in the mind, in the vital, in the gross physical and, to some extent, even in the heart, but it is never in the soul. Why do we have restlessness? We have restlessness because the mind is not consciously becoming one with the soul's light. The soul is crying to offer light to the mind, but the mind is rejecting this light constantly and deliberately. You may say that your mind also wants to meditate, but this is not true. The physical mind does not want to meditate. It is the illumining mind or the mind that has been purified considerably by the soul's light that wants to meditate. Restlessness comes because the mind is unwilling to surrender to the soul's will.

Depression comes for two reasons. The first reason is because of the vital. When you have a good meditation, the ordinary vital — the vital that cries for name, fame and outer achievement — feels that it is not going to be fed any more, that it is going to die. The calmness that meditation brings is like poison to the restless vital. At this point patience is of paramount importance, because patience makes the vital feel that its existence is not being threatened.

There is also another reason why depression starts. The heart brings from the soul the message that you will go very far, that you will reach the ultimate goal in this life or the next. The whole being at that time becomes one with the light that the heart is bringing from the soul. Looking forward, you see that it is all sunshine. But when you examine your present state, you see that it is only dark, inclement weather. Then depression comes. You see a vast gulf between your present situation and the goal, which is quite far. Your possibility contains the highest truth, the highest realisation. But your present reality is totally different! Possibility and reality seem so far apart that naturally depression starts.

The best way to conquer depression is to meditate every day early in the morning, but not to expect anything from your meditation. Only you have to give your conscious concern to your meditation. Treat meditation like a child. You offer a child your concern, your love and affection, but you do not expect anything from him. Similarly, please offer to your meditation your love and concern. Do not expect anything, but only give what you have. If you can give and not expect, then a time will come when your meditation will give you all the divine qualities.