I always tell seekers that it is better to meditate in the heart than in the mind. The mind is like Times Square on New Year’s Eve; the heart is like a lonely cave in the Himalayas. If you meditate in the mind, you will be able to meditate for perhaps five minutes; and out of that five minutes, for one minute you may meditate powerfully. After that you will feel your whole head getting tense. First you get joy and satisfaction, then you may feel a barren desert. But if you meditate in the heart, you acquire the capacity to identify yourself with the joy and satisfaction that you get, and then it becomes yours permanently.
If you meditate in the mind, you don’t identify; you try to enter into something. When you want to enter into somebody else’s house to get what that person has, either you have to break down the door or you have to plead with the owner of the house to open the door. When you plead, you feel that you are a stranger and the owner of the house also feels that you are a stranger. Then he thinks, “Oh, a stranger wants to come into my house.” But if you use the heart, immediately the heart’s qualities of softness, sweetness, love and purity come to the fore. When the owner of the house sees that you are all heart, immediately his own heart will become one with yours and he will let you in. He will feel your oneness with him and say, “All right, what do you want from my house? If you need peace, then take it. If you need light, then take it.”
If you meditate in the heart, you are meditating where the soul is. True, the light and consciousness of the soul permeate the whole body, but there is a specific place where the soul resides most of the time, and that is in the heart. If you want illumination, you have to get it from the soul, which is inside the heart. When you know what you want and where to find it, the sensible thing is to go to that place. Otherwise, it is like going to the hardware store to get groceries.
Meditation is like going to the bottom of the sea, where everything is calm and tranquil. On the surface there may be a multitude of waves, but the sea is not affected below. In its deepest depths, the sea is all silence. When we start meditating, first we try to reach our own inner existence — that is to say, the bottom of the sea. Then, when the waves come from the outside world, we are not affected. Fear, doubt, worry and all the earthly turmoils will just wash away, because inside us is solid peace. Thoughts cannot touch us, because our mind is all peace, all silence, all oneness. Like fish in the sea, they jump and swim but leave no mark. So when we are in our highest meditation we feel that we are the sea, and the animals in the sea cannot affect us. We feel that we are the sky, and all the birds flying past cannot affect us. Our mind is the sky and our heart is the infinite sea. This is meditation.
(Sri Chinmoy, A child’s heart and a child’s dream, Aum Publications, 1986)