Question: What can beginners do about all the thoughts that come during meditation? How long does it take to overcome that?

Sri Chinmoy: It all depends on how much will-power we have. Some people have tremendous determination and a very strong will, while others do not. Again, determination is not enough. We also have to be able to accept God's Will cheerfully. Right now, let us say, your meditation is disturbed by uncomely thoughts. Perhaps God has decided that in six months or ten months He will bless you with a mind flooded with peace. In that case, you will be extremely happy and grateful. And if it takes longer than that, you should be happy and grateful that He is still inspiring you to meditate faithfully every day.

This does not mean that until God's Hour has struck for you, you will be idle or inactive. It is wrong to pray for just two minutes or five minutes and then give up if you see that your mind is still full of thoughts or if you see that restlessness is in your mind, in your vital and in your physical existence. It is also wrong to expect your mind to become calm and quiet just because you have meditated for two or three minutes.

What can we do about thoughts on a practical level? Let us take thoughts as individuals and take the mind as a room that we live in and own. We have to bolt the door to our mind-room from the inside and not allow anybody whatsoever to enter. We will not only keep out our enemies, which are bad thoughts, but also our friends, the good thoughts. We are determined to enjoy only silence, complete silence.

A few moments later, let us say, a thought begins knocking at our door. We can exercise our compassion or we can exercise our wisdom. Wisdom reminds us that we have made a solemn promise to ourselves that we would not allow anybody to enter into our mind-room. But if we start using compassion, we may say, "Who knows who is coming? Perhaps it is a very good friend of mine." Then, naturally, we will open the door. Alas, the moment we open the door, we may let in an undivine thought. In a fleeting second this undivine thought can steal away all the good feelings that we had been cherishing for the past fifteen or twenty minutes.

So it is best not to open the door under any circumstances. Then, after some time, all the bad thoughts will leave us of their own accord. If the thoughts are undivine, they will have all undivine qualities. They will not have the patience to wait for us to open the door. After waiting outside for a few minutes, these thoughts will say, "It is beneath our dignity to keep on waiting here. If he does not want to see us, we will knock at somebody else's door and bother somebody else."

If it is a good thought, a real and genuine friend of ours, this thought will say, "Oh, perhaps my friend is very busy or doing something special. Otherwise, definitely he would have opened the door. I shall continue to wait patiently." We are forcing that good thought to wait outside for fifteen or thirty minutes. After we have observed our peaceful silence for half an hour or so, we will say, "Now let us see who has come to the door." At that time we will find only our very dear friends waiting for us. These friends are our divine, energising and fulfilling thoughts.

In this way, if we can keep our mind completely silent for fifteen minutes or half an hour, then the dark, unaspiring forces will not be there at the end of our meditation to enter into us. This is how we can have only good thoughts from our meditation. First, we have to block the mind completely and allow no thoughts whatsoever to enter into us. Then, after we have gone deep within and entered into the sea of peace, when we open our mind's door we will find waiting for us only good, divine thoughts.