Meditation & Thoughts

During meditation you may often find the mind goes very deep into itself, but then something brings it out. Thoughts come, and the depth is lost. However, with practice and consistency over time, you find that this changes. 

Thoughts arise in so many ways and take you for a ride. They may be desires, ambitions, expectations, doubts, unpleasant memories, feverishness, worries, or other concerns.

Worries and concerns

You are bothered if you have things that you wanted, and you are bothered if you don't have them. For example, if you have money there is a concern. You are worried, thinking about what you should do with this money and whether to invest it or not.

If you invest, you are worried about whether it is growing or not or you feel anxious about the fluctuations in the stock market.

If you don't have money, you are also concerned.

“'Liberation” is that total freedom wherein you are not bothered or concerned when things are there and you are not bothered even if they are not there.

Look back at the times when you worried. Just imagine how you were five years ago on a particular day:

  • “Will I get the job?”

  • “Will I get well?”

  • “Will I be humiliated in class for not doing the assignment?”


It was a big deal at the time but now you really don't remember your past worries. Every time you worry, you think it is fresh and new. Just as all those previous worries are now stale and have passed, you will find that this present worry is also stale. What makes a worry stay with you is your illusion that you are going to live forever.


Desire simply means that the present moment is not right. This causes tension in the mind. Every desire causes feverishness. In this state, meditation is far away from happening. You may sit with your eyes closed, but desires and thoughts keep arising, and you fool yourself that you are meditating, but actually, you are daydreaming!

As long as some desires linger in your mind, you cannot be at total rest.

“You cannot get into yoga (union with the Self) unless you drop the desires or hankerings within” - Bhagavad Gita

Every desire or ambition is like a particle of sand in your eyes. You can neither shut your eyes nor keep them open with a sand particle inside—it is uncomfortable either way.

Dispassion is removing this particle of sand so that you can freely open and shut your eyes. Another approach is to expand your desire, and then also it won’t bother you. Only a tiny sand particle irritates your eye—a big stone or a rock can never get into your eyes.

You have no control over your desires. 

Even if you say, "Oh, desire is the cause of misery. I shouldn't have desires. When will I be free of desires?" that itself is another desire! So as they come up, recognize them and let go. This process is called Sanyas (renunciation).

When you observe all desires as they arise in you and are centered, then nothing can shake you or take you away from your center.


As long as you hold onto some kind of plan, your mind does not settle.

Have you noticed that when you go to bed feeling restless, agitated, or with desires, you do not sleep deeply? Very ambitious people cannot have deep sleep because their minds are not free. Though plans or ambitions do not appear to be there for a while in the mind as you go to sleep, they are actually still there.

You will be able to rest if before going to sleep you simply let go of everything. Similarly, when you want to sit for meditation, let go of everything.


Have you noticed doubts are always about something positive?

  • When you are happy you doubt “Am I really happy?”

  • If someone tells you they love you you say “Really? Are you sure?”


We never doubt anything negative in life. You never doubt someone else's anger or your own. If someone tells you they hate you, you don't doubt it

But if you can doubt the negativity of people, you come close to reality.

With this awareness, when you increase the energy level of your body, you will see that doubts disappear. Your mind is clearer. You feel less confused. 

Meditation is the only way you can transcend negative thoughts. Then positive thoughts will come spontaneously and automatically.

Unpleasant memories

Your memory can make you either sad or enlightened.

Your mind is churning so often with unpleasant memories. 

"He said this and that". "She was so arrogant". "They did this to me".

Meditation can bring that shift in your memory—to let go of the trivial and to recognize your infinite nature.

Let go of thoughts and desires

Streams of thoughts are always passing through your mind. But you catch hold of the thoughts and do not allow them to go easily, like a record needle getting stuck in one groove. Let the thoughts go. Feel that they are not yours. Sorrow comes from getting stuck in one thought or desire. Meditation happens when thoughts subside.

You meditate and calm your mind and then go on with other activities. It's not easy to keep yourself undisturbed but it'll happen as you keep doing the practices regularly. Then it'll become easy. Let go of all the effort to stop thoughts, or concentrate, or contemplate.

Transcend your thoughts with meditation

Meditation is letting go of anger and events of the past, and all the planning for the future. Meditation is accepting this moment and living every moment with total depth and presence.

Just this understanding and a few days of continuous meditation practice can change the quality of your life.

The rest in meditation is deeper than the deepest sleep because in meditation you transcend all thoughts and desires. This brings such coolness to the brain and it is like overhauling the whole body-mind complex.


Editor’s note

SKY Breath Meditation

Millions around the world have benefitted from SKY Breath Meditation, a program created by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, which improves physical and mental health. SKY practitioners have reported more optimism, joy, and life satisfaction while experiencing less stress, better sleep, healthier blood pressure, and improved immunity. Researchers have also found SKY reduces both clinical and non-clinical depression and anxiety, as well as helps overcome trauma and addictive behaviors. 

Click on the image below to attend a free introduction to SKY Breath Meditation, and learn why millions worldwide use SKY for their mediation practice!

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder, Art of Living, is a world-renowned spiritual leader, peacemaker, and master of meditation. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

ART OF LIVING PART I COURSE Discover Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s ancient secret to modern well-being

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