Question: During a meditation, if something external to the meditation occurs — such as noise or something unforeseen — is it better to include it in the meditation or to try to shut it out and pursue the meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: Each seeker has to know his own standard of meditation. If we are a beginner, we should feel that anything that is not part of the meditation is like an intruder. We should not allow an intruder, a foreigner, to enter into us and disturb us. But if we are very advanced, and there is a disturbing sound or a noise during our meditation, we can go deep into the sound itself and try to assimilate it. If we have the capacity, then in our own consciousness we can transform the attack of a most powerful, most challenging foreign element into an inner music, a thrilling or haunting music, which will really add to our meditation. But we have to develop this capacity to transform a disturbing, annoying noise into soothing, thrilling and soul-stirring music. When we have this capacity we shall include the disturbance in our meditation. As long as we don’t have the capacity, we shall always exclude it.

If you have strength, inner strength, to transform someone, when he is transformed he becomes totally yours. Before you entered into the spiritual life you had darkness, ignorance. Now you have started transforming your own darkness and ignorance. When they are finally transformed and illumined, they will still be your own possession. But where they previously stood in your way, now, on the contrary, they shall help you. The darkness has been transformed into light, and it has become an added help.