When you first try silent meditation, it can feel rather difficult or even uncomfortable to sit still and stay focused. The mind is constantly prowling and analyzing. Even if you close your eyes, your other senses – like smell, touch, hearing and taste – start feeding your brain subtle bits of information that tempt you to pay attention to the outer world. And when you’re thinking or processing sensory impressions, you can’t possibly connect with the silence and beauty of the inner landscape.
Frater Perdurabo, one of the first Europeans to study meditation in the 19th century, described the deeper levels of meditation – which enlightened sages and saints have experienced – by using the metaphor of a high-altitude lake:
Think of a lake into which five glaciers move. These glaciers are the senses. While ice (the impressions) is breaking off constantly into the lake, the waters are troubled. If the glaciers are stopped the surface becomes calm; and then, and only then, can it reflect unbroken the disk of the sum. This sun is the “soul” or “God.”
It’s no simple task to calm the senses and make the “waters of the mind” smooth, but it gets much easier with regular practice.
image credit: Vambo25