As in the previous example, the mind has no reality of its own. Its reality is formed by its contents. It is like a plastic bag or cellophane that takes the shape of whatever you put into it. If you wrap up something long and slim then it takes that shape. If you wrap up something sound, it assumes that shape. It obtains the shape of its contents.
Thus the mind takes the shape of the thoughts, feelings, desires, needs, habits, expectations which occupy it. When specific thoughts, emotions or desires occupy the mind frequently, or for long periods of time or, in some cases, incessantly, the mind begins to crystallize around those thought forms. It looses its flexibility and becomes almost permanently obsessed, or associated, with a particular subject or concept. In such a case the mind is not free to experience the present. It is not free to think of subjects other than the one with which it is obsessed. It cannot derive joy from what is offered to it because it is stuck in that particular thought-form, which limits its ability to connect with other realities from which it could learn and receive joy.

In many cases, these thought forms around which the mind has crystallized, are negative thoughts and beliefs, such as that we are weak, that we need someone else or something else for our happiness, or fear for ourselves or loved ones. In such cases, these negative thought forms often actually create the negative realities upon which our mind is dwelling.

Meditation is the process through which we temporarily (and, eventually throughout the years, more permanently) empty the mind of these various thought-forms, which have crystallized, and give this inflexible form to the mind. The mind becomes softer but stronger, more responsive to the present moment, experiencing greater unity with all.


We can imagine that a coconut, which is high in the palm tree, is like our spiritual reality, and that its shadow on the ground is the physical reality. Our physical reality with all of its physical objects is actually simply a shadow of the spiritual reality from which this material reality is manifested.

We see the shadow on the ground and seek to grab it, just as we seek to accumulate riches, objects, relationships etc. But the shadow passes through our hands and we are left with the sand on which it was projected. In the same way we are left with nothing after all our efforts to find happiness through the material world.

After a number of years of vainly trying to find happiness, seeking after shadows of these coconuts on the sand, one day it occurs to us to look upward and we notice perhaps for the first time the coconut high up in the tree. We begin to realize that the shadow is the result of the coconut and that, if we can get the coconut, we will also have its shadow. It is not so easy, however, to climb the palm tree. It takes strength, stamina, perseverance and much practice until we are able to reach that height. This is the process of meditation and all spiritual effort. Once we realize that we will have both worlds - spiritual and material - when we obtain the spiritual, then we begin to direct our energies in that direction, withdraw our attention from the shadows and start directing it towards the spiritual realities from which those shadows are created.


Our mind, with its various centers of consciousness, is like an apartment building with seven stories. The view from each story is different. The higher up you are, the more you see, and the clearer you see. You can see the same events and external realities but you see them completely differently, because you have a higher viewpoint. The higher up you are, the more objectively and in their proper perspective you see things.

Meditation is the process of moving up that inner staircase to the higher stories, where all is much clearer and more in perspective. At first you can only temporarily visit these higher stories. Eventually, after many years of meditation, and other spiritual practices, you can begin to reside there permanently.

From the book "The Art of Meditation"
by Robert Elias Najemy

Author's Bio: 

Robert Elias Najemy, a life coach with 30 years of experience, is the author of over 20 books, 600 articles and 400 lectures on Human Harmony. Download wonderful ebooks, 100's of free articles, courses, and mp3 audio lectures at . Find 8 of his books at