There is a pretty Indian fable to the effect that if it rains when the star Svati is in the ascendant, and a drop of rain falls into an oyster, that drop becomes a pearl. The oysters know this, so they come to the surface when that star shines, and wait to catch the precious raindrop. When a drop falls into them, quickly the oysters close their shells and dive down to the bottom of the sea, there to patiently develop the drop into the pearl.

We should be like that. First hear, then understand, and then, leaving all distractions, shut your minds to outside influences, and devote yourselves to developing the truth within you.

The Greatest Help
The greatest help to spiritual life is meditation. In meditation we divest ourselves of all material conditions and feel our divine nature. We do not depend upon any external help in meditation. The touch of the soul can paint the brightest color even in the dingiest places; it can cast a fragrance over the vilest thing; it can make the wicked divine-and all enmity, all selfishness is effaced.

The less the thought of the body, the better. For it is the body that drags us down. It is attachment, identification, that makes us miserable. That is the secret: To think, “I am the spirit and not the body. The whole of this universe with all its relations, with all its good and all its evil, is but a series of paintings—scenes on a canvas—of which I am the witness.”

The Most Beautiful Rest
Meditation means the mind is turned back upon itself. The mind stops all the thought waves and the world stops. Your consciousness expands. Every time you meditate you will keep your growth. Work a little harder, more and more and meditation comes. You do not feel the body or anything else. When you come out of it, you have had the most beautiful rest you ever had in your life.

That is the only way you ever give rest to your system. Not even the deepest sleep will give you such a rest as that. The mind goes on jumping even in deepest sleep. Just those few minutes in meditation your brain has almost stopped. Just a little vitality is kept tip. You forget the body. You feel such pleasure in it. You become light. This is the perfect rest we will get in meditation.

Power of Meditation
The power of meditation gets us everything. If you want to get power over nature, you can have it through meditation. It is through the power of meditation all scientific facts are discovered. They study the subject and forget everything, their own identity and everything; and then the great fact comes like a flash.

Some people think that is inspiration. There is no inspiration. Whatever passes for inspiration is the result that comes from causes already in the mind. One day, flash comes the result! Their past work was the cause.

Therein also you see the power of meditation—intensity of thought. These people churn up their own souls. Great truths come to the surface and become manifest. Therefore the practice of meditation is the great scientific method of knowledge.

To Reach the Goal
Practice hard. Whether you live or die does not matter. You have to plunge in and work without thinking of the result. If you are brave enough, in six months you will be a perfect Yogi. But those who take up just a bit of it and a little of everything else make no progress. It is of no use simply to take a course of lessons.

To succeed, you must have tremendous perseverance, tremendous will. “I will drink the ocean,” says the persevering soul, “at my will mountains will crumble.” Have that sort of energy, that sort of will, work hard, and you will reach the goal.

Source: Excerpted from:  Meditation and Its Methods by Swami Vivekananda