Meditation is sustained concentration, whereby the attention continues to hold or repeat the same object or place. Meditation is a big struggle for many people. The person tries to push away the thoughts appearing on the mind while struggling with the discomfort of the body as a result of sitting still. Essentially, all these actions are the results of loosing the attention. The reason of loosing attention is because the mind has not enough lightness yet to stay on the object. What is this lightness? The mind carries energic (karmic) loads from the past actions. These are the actions to come to life in the future; meaning actions that has not found answers yet. And as long as the mind doesn’t get rid off these loads, they will cover the mind like a fog cloud. Practice like yamas and niyamas exist, so these loads wouldn’t increase. So the power to stay on the object comes in time from practicing the fundamental steps of yoga.
Firstly, it is very normal that thoughts appear during meditation. The mind exists through thinking. The mind cannot leave the action of thinking easily and lapses into silence after all these years of learning to think. Thoughts appearing is not the problem; the problem is not being able to show tolerance to them that results the attention turning to them. As long as you show them tolerance and keep the attention on the object, then there is no problem. The question here is; If these thoughts belong to you then why do you want to push them away? Why seeing them, observing them, to be the observer becomes a problem? Is it because of their contents?
What we want is not to get rid off directly from the thoughts that has occured; to control the mind that creates the thoughts. To push away the appearing thoughts is not to control the mind; the mind can only be controlled by preventing to create thoughts. Doing this requires long and continous practices, therefore first you need to start by changing the quality of the occuring thoughts. Things to say, the kind of music to listen to, the books to read, the words to choose, they all should be refined and purified as much as possible so the mind can have positive modifications (thought patterns). In other words, you manage the content. That way the occuring thoughts would disturb you less and less and you may even to see and observe them may create pleasure in time.
Naturally, many modifications and thought patterns already exist in the mind. And they are in an effort of showing their existence during meditation. To push them away and going back to the object is similar to a person playing with 100 excited and playful dogs in the park and suddenly changing his mind and trying to read a book in a corner by himself. The dogs want to play, and if he pushes one away then the other one comes, if he reads one sentence, he can reach the following sentence after seconds maybe a few minutes. The reason for this is him having playful dogs. And those dogs have expectations from that moment. They want their owner to see them. Pushing the dogs away is not the solution to be able to read the book. The effort of pushing them would create anger as a result. And the anger would move th person away from the object. He needs to wait for the dogs to discharge their energy, meaning he has to fulfill the needs of the dogs to be seen and to find answers. Whenever the dogs don’t need to be seen anymore, then he can consantrate on the book again. The dogs have come by choice. He who has adopted the dogs, in other words created these modifications and thought patterns, is the person himself. Therefore, at this point, trying to push away the things he created by choice, causes chaos. As I mentioned before, this chaos may easily be transformed into energies like anger, hatred in the emotional body, some of my students become angrier when they meditate. The playful dogs come so much during meditation, they become out of the mediation being fed up. This is very normal because their meditation lack understanding (intelligence).
The duration of the meditation is important; whenever the playful dogs find answer and become calm because they have been seen, at that moment the meditation become peaceful. So naturally, for playful dog to have answers, time and understanding is needed during meditation. We don’t meditate to find peace, we meditate to control the mind and to extend it to be capable of seeing the truth. If you seek for peace and relaxing in every sitting, that expectation would create stress. Peace is a product of a controlled mind. And a controlled mind has no expectations. Getting rid off these expectations id what brings the peace…
If I need to explain it with another example; thoughts and modifications are the snow flakes of a shaken snow globe and after minutes the snow flakes settle down so you can be alone with the object in the middle. For a person with advanced meditation practice, this happens around 5 minutes, whereas for someone with beginning practice it may take over an hour. The reason I’ve given the snow globe example is; to have active thoughts is not something negative or disturbing, in contrary just a different state like in the snow globe. The first moment in the meditation when you start concentrating on the object, the snow globe has been shaken. Even for a yogi with advanced meditation practice who can concentrate on the subtle object 4-5 hours, it is the same. And by concentrating on the object adequately and with the right effort, the snow flakes of the globe settle down and the object can bee seen free from the thought patterns. The right effort is very important. Neither more nor less; just as needed. We can compare it to gas, clutch relation in a car. Every person, until he figures out the balance between the gas pedal and the clutch, he either cause the engine roar, or the car to stop or bounce suddenly without control. He learns how much effort to show and how to coordinate, by continious practice. Concentrating on the object during meditation is just like cluth gas relation. What is need is to practice enough, to be with the object.