The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Questioner (Q): Acharya Ji, one of the popular beliefs about meditation is that your mind will stop and you will not have any thoughts. A lot of the so-called Gurus say that your mind should be completely blank — no thoughts, and if any thought comes, that means, you are doing it wrong. That does not sound very correct to me. So what exactly is meant when you say stilling the mind or acquiring the mind?
Acharya Prashant (AP): The mind has to value stillness. That is called ‘meditativeness’. Mind, at every point, at every moment, is a choice. The choice on one side is restiveness (lack of rest). Choice, on the other side, is restfulness. Then, what is meditation? — to be in the right choice continuously, 24×7. That is ‘meditation’. You cannot stop the movement of the mind.
The mind is nothing but movement.
You just have to ensure that it moves rightly. That is meditativeness. And meditativeness is that when, just by chance, when there is no need for the mind to move, then you do not become uncomfortable and start forcing it to move. When the mind is moving, it is moving in the right direction. When it is not moving, then it is not moving rightly. Because it is quite possible, be cautious, that there might be a need for the mind to move and yet the mind is so lethargic, so ponderous, that it refuses to move. In fact, such a mind can even use the name of ‘meditation’ to defend its inability or unwillingness to move; even though, movement is the need of the moment.
When it is right, there has to be movement. When there is movement, the movement has to be in the right direction. When it is right, then there can be no movement. None of these is sacred on its own. None of these is a gospel truth on its own. Should the mind keep moving? — not necessarily. Should the mind keep still? — not necessarily. Those, who say that the mind must necessarily be still, are as much in darkness as those, who are compulsive movers of the mind. These are two extremes. On one hand, there are people addicted to mental activity. They become very uncomfortable if somehow the mind pauses even for a while. They cannot tolerate silence. They cannot tolerate rest or stillness. You must have met such people, sometimes in the mirror…