When one’s mind is caught in desires, the direction that comes out of the heart is not reliable because it could be just to fulfill our desires.
It is very difficult to distinguish whether it is coming from the heart or whether it is coming from our mind which is trying to fulfill our desires and therefore finding excuses. So, the only way you can distinguish is to see if it is really clear-cut in what it is saying; or, is it dependent on some desire which we are trying to fulfill. We have to watch this and if you need help in this then you must always ask your spiritual teacher to find out, because very often, one thinks that this is an inspiration but, in the end, it turns out to be one of our desires.
At times, when you are unable to discriminate and you think you are repeatedly called to do something, it may not always be right. We have to watch very carefully.
Our mind can always cook up various things and pretend that it is coming from a higher source. It may not always be, but it is possible. So, the way to distinguish what is coming from a higher source is this: It will lead you towards the Truth and not towards getting caught up in the untruth.
Secondly, the highest function of the intellect is to understand its limitations, because beyond a certain point, intellect cannot work.
However, intellect is very important because without the intellect, I cannot even speak what I am thinking right now and you cannot ask me the question which you have asked. So, intelligence is not to be abandoned, but in the spiritual search, at some point, one begins to understand that intellect alone cannot take us to the inner centers of consciousness. It has its limitations.
Understanding that, when you sit down to meditate, when you are going into the inner, keep all that aside – away. If you want, you can discuss it later or read about it afterwards.
When you sit down to meditate, try to be free of all wanderings of the intellect, however good they may appear to be, and try to remain, as far as possible, without the usual chain of thoughts which come to us – and that depends on different people.
When we sit down to meditate, usually, thoughts come to the mind. It’s quite possible that at some point, you are thinking, ‘what is this battalion doing there?’ If you are a sadhak then there is less chance; but if you are not a sadhak, invariably, it happens. So then, the intellect is intruding into the inner. In such cases you must keep it away. How do you keep it away? Only through practice — abhyasa is the only way.
Sit down and meditate in your heart center and whenever such thoughts come, which are not related to the inner, try to keep them away. There are other thoughts which can take you to the spiritual. For instance, I am meditating in my heart; I am thinking that ‘there is a light coming’. That is still a thought but that is a constructive thought. It is not a thought that is taking me out of my meditation. ‘I feel that there is a beautiful light coming; I hear the chanting of mantras’ – it is still a thought, but this thought is a constructive thought. It is taking me towards the real; it is not taking me towards the unreal.
Unreal thoughts are thoughts which bring us back from our depths and push us to get caught up in our day-to-day activities and have more identification with the person that we are. Thoughts which are impersonal, lead towards the spiritual; thoughts which are personal lead us to the unreal.
So, intellect is essential but intellect has its limitations — it cannot take us to the inner. When we have to go to the core of our consciousness, we have to keep all these thoughts at bay. Keep them away and go deep within and try to find out. Nothing should be allowed to intrude.
A great master once said, ‘When you leave your shoes out there and come in to meditate, leave your personality outside and come. When you go back, you have to function in the world, so put them back again!’
But remember that if it becomes an obstacle to your inner understanding, you need a teacher’s help to distinguish what is true, because it is not easy to distinguish. Even then, if you are a sadhak and if you are leading a way of life which leads towards Brahman — Brahma vidya, brahmaiva bhavati — then you are acting like a searcher of Brahman, a Brahmin — not otherwise.