When you are listening to somebody speaking, the speaker’s very first sentence triggers off some conversation within you. You are constantly agreeing or disagreeing with the speaker. Have you ever wondered whether you can listen without any thoughts or preconceived notions in your mind?
Students listening to an hour-long lecture in a class are able to grasp only a part of it. Many youngsters now suffer from attention deficiency syndrome. Only if there is alertness and presence of mind in the entire society, the nation will prosper. Alertness and creativity come out of rest, not through effort.
Rest is possible only when you have stopped all other voluntary activities. In sleep, you are left with only involuntary activities like breathing, heartbeat, food digestion, blood circulation etc. But this is not “total rest”. When the mind settles down, only then “total rest” or meditation happens. Mind that has come back home, to the source, is meditation. Mind that becomes ‘‘no mind’’ is meditation.
As long as some desires linger in your mind, you cannot be at total rest. Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita, “You cannot get into Yoga unless you drop the desires”. As long as you hold onto some planning, your mind does not settle. Every desire is like a sand particle in the eyes! You cannot see with a sand particle inside.
Dispassion is removing this particle of dust or sand from the eye so that you can open freely and shut them freely! The other way is to extend your desire or make it so big, then also it won’t bother you. It is a tiny sand particle that irritates your eyes, a rock can never get into your eyes!
See from your own experience. If you go to bed with some desire, you will not get deep sleep. On the surface level, it appears to be not there for a little while, but those plans are still there in the mind. Very ambitious people cannot have deep sleep because the mind inside is not free. The more you are anxious about doing something, the more difficult it becomes to sleep.
Before going to sleep, if you simply let go of everything, only then you will be able to rest. Why not do the same thing moment by moment? When you want to sit for meditation, let go of everything. The best way to do this is to feel, “the world is dissolving…I am dead!” Unless you are dead, you cannot meditate! For many, the mind doesn't settle even after death. Wise are those who can settle their minds while alive!