Question: What is the difference between thinking and meditating, or are they the same?

Sri Chinmoy: Thinking and meditating are absolutely different things — totally, radically different things. Thinking and meditating are like north pole and south pole. The thinking mind can never free you from the fetters of ignorance. An ignorant person does not know how to increase his thinking; he has only a few thoughts. An intellectual man goes on thinking twenty-four hours a day. But what does either one accomplish in the long run? In the long run they accomplish nothing. One is satisfied with only a few thoughts, and the other is satisfied with thousands of thoughts and masses of mental information. But there they both end. Neither one enters into anything higher.

When we meditate we do not think at all. The aim of meditation is to free ourselves from all thought. In the beginning, if undivine thoughts or hostile thoughts enter into us, we reject them. Gradually a time will come when only divine thoughts, divine ideas will be written on the tablet of our heart. But when we meditate we should reject thought as much as possible. Thought is like a dot on the blackboard. Whether it is good or bad, it is there. Only if there is no thought whatsoever can we grow into Reality. In the really highest meditation, there will be no thoughts at all. The mind is calm, tranquil, quiet. In profound meditation, in deep meditation, thoughts can come in, but not in the highest, deepest meditation. At that time there is no form, there is no mind at all.

Thinking has nothing to do with spiritual life or meditation. We have to go beyond thinking. How do we go beyond thinking? Through aspiration and meditation. The moment we start thinking we play with limitation and bondage. Our thoughts, no matter how sweet or delicious at the moment, are painful, venomous and destructive in the long run because they limit and bind us. In the thinking mind there is no reality. Each moment we are building a castle, and the following moment we are breaking it. When we go beyond thinking with the help of our aspiration and meditation, we can see and enjoy God's Reality and God's Vision together.