When you sit down to meditate, maintain an attitude of ease and peace. If you find yourself involved in thoughts, worries, struggle, care or concern, immediately introduce a sense of well-being and follow its course. You will find that in a few minutes, your mind will be settled, and soon it will be absorbed in the deeper state of the unwavering, peaceful Consciousness. You will realize that you are free, just as you were before you became involved in your thoughts.
You only have to respect the thoughts and their background. You did not create them - they appeared uninvited - so they will not expect you to entertain them as a host would, although you can, if you choose, assume the role of a host just because they entered your house of consciousness. In any case, you must continuously remain near your own Self, where you were before any thought arose. Soon, in the same way that the thoughts appeared, they will start to go away, as if towards some other destination. Then please do not interfere with the freedom of their departure. In this way, many thoughts will arise and subside, but you will remain neutral.
Let me give a few examples of thoughts that might occur when you have closed your eyes and you are not seeing any external forms, when you have begun to watch your own Self, Shyam Space, and when images and general thinking have not yet appeared and accumulated. Some thoughts might whisper, "How much movement does my incoming and outgoing breath have at this time? What object, form, or image am I meditating on? What sort of success will I have when I finish my meditation? Am I wasting my time? Will I achieve great power? Will I get happiness, peace, and delight? Will strength increase in my body and clarity in my mind? If I continue meditating for a number of days, months, or years, will I realize the truth of my own existence?" Another kind of thought may suddenly appear that says, "Oh! While I am sitting here, somebody might be taking the things from my cupboard or money from my pocket. And someone might be taking the valuables out of my safe." Sometimes, it may even seem to be useless to continue closing your eyes, trying to follow the instructions that you have read in a book such as this.
You should not be surprised by such thoughts. You are like the sky, which remains forever free, and they are like birds that fly back and forth in the sky but never affect it at all. However, if you get involved in your thoughts, then the condition of doubt, skepticism, and confusion is likely to arise. This will affect your body, and you will have to concern yourself with it.
If you want to remove your doubt by checking whether somebody is actually stealing the things from your safe, then open your eyes, go to the location of the safe, and make sure that it has not been broken into. When the thought comes that your son or daughter, father or mother, sister, wife, or any relative has gone far away to anther country and you begin to wonder whether he or she is all right or not, then again, open your eyes, go there, and come back and meditate.
Let the thoughts come and go, let the doubts arise and subside; but remain the Witness Self, which permeates all your thoughts, doubts, and whatever you might imagine, while remaining completely free from them. Mark this point: Completely free! Your true Self, which you are to meet in meditation, is free.
When you become aware of the consciousness that is like the sky-space, you will realize that there are two powers: one that never minds the thoughts, just as the sky never minds how many birds, airplanes, or kites fly in it, or how many clouds or storms whirl; and another that can manifest in an instant and say, "If I am the pure sky or the Pure Space, why are these birds or thoughts bothering me with their presence?" When you get involved in the phenomena of thought, you must not lose sight of your first power, using which you can choose to remain free and watch every happening pass by.
My advice is that you simply place yourself in the position of a witness as Pure Space, free and uninvolved, and continue watching the thought-waves. Be like a traveler standing on the bank of a river that he has never seen before, looking at the waves without any concern about their rise and fall.
While watching, you may think, "So many thoughts seem to fill my head! I feel that I am becoming involved in them and they are turning into worries. Oh! It seems that these thoughts are unending." The means to bring about immediate freedom is to think that you are a seer, watcher, or knower, a listener or perceiver - a witness. You are not only a passive perceiver - your true nature has an additional quality: it can become an active creator and, simultaneously, a participant in your own creation.
If you feel that you have become too involved in your thoughts, follow this advice: Create the sound Amaram Hum Madhuram Hum, which means "I am free, I am bliss." This sound will immediately be your associate and helper, relieving you of your involvement with the thoughts. Moreover, it will work to carry your attention towards its own source, the eternal, unchanging, indivisible Existence and Consciousness; in other words, you will immediately meet your true Self.
Amaram Hum Madhuram Hum, Amaram Hum Madhuram Hum, "I am immortal, I am blissful, I am immortal, I am blissful." Begin the fresh work of understanding the meaning of the phrase by knowing that it conveys the truth of your own Self.
You not only have to repeat these words inside and know their meaning, but also to feel that you are continuously transcending every level of speaking - as if you are rising higher and higher until the words are not being formed any more at all. Then you do not have to begin the phrase again unless you perceive a flood of thoughts rising from the background of your consciousness.
Every thought has its own level, but by continuously attending the background space of any thought, you will reach the source of all thought. Attend this space while you watch Amaram Hum Madhuram Hum, Amaram Hum Madhuram Hum, "I am immortal, I am blissful, I am immortal, I am blissful." If you follow the thread or channel of this thought, you will touch the hand of the immortal and blissful Being, which is infinity, knowingness, the Pure Consciousness. Your awareness will immediately be filled with the brilliant sense and quality of immortality and bliss. You will develop a great affinity and love for the source of this phrase, because That thou art.
Sometimes you might feel that the phrase is too long. Then reduce it to Amaram Madhuram, Amaram Madhuram. If even these two words seem to be too much, just repeat, "hum hum hum hum." When you perceive that you have gone so deep within that you are not even saying, "mmm mmm mmm," be alert, only aware, and watch the pure, soundless sound, which exists by itself on the deepest level of your being.
You may find that you are in a state of perfect stillness, free from watching, knowing, and repeating any sound at all, yet fully conscious. Then perceive the space and feel at ease, healthy, and alive. Whatever sound you had been repeating will no longer exist as an object of perception, because the knowingness, which had been releasing the forms of the known existence and the knower in relation to each other, is left alone. This knowingness is your own real existence and bliss.
This is the level of consciousness where the mind is unable to function as a mind, because it creates no relationship with any form - no image, object, or thought is here. The Self is left alone and free, formless, nameless, and peaceful. Here the mental levels and thoughts that are experienced in the waking state, the dream state, and even the thought-free state of deep sleep have none of their own influence. This is the existence of the pure, conscious Being, the state of Samaadhi - perfect peace.
Here is a sound clip of Swamiji repeating the Mantra