Question: When one meditates, is he conscious of what is going on around him?

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on what kind of meditation it is. If one is a beginner, when he sees something, immediately he will be disturbed. If a beginner is meditating and right in front of him there is a cat moving around, his attention will be diverted. Anything, even the slightest noise, will affect his meditation.

But if one is advanced, very advanced, he will be aware of things happening, but he will not be disturbed. 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 is aware of what is happening, but at the same time one is not affected at all.

If it is the highest type of meditation, one will not be disturbed even if someone pinches him, because at that time he is not in the body, but in the soul. When the consciousness is in the physical, if somebody is pinched, immediately he feels pain. But if his consciousness is in the soul, if he has become one with the soul, he will not be affected.