Imagine your mind is like a glass of Coke (stay with me here). There's the foamy head with all those millions of bubbles—analogous to the surface of the mind. It's that frothy layer of useless, distracted thinking where we're trying to pay attention to too many things and doing a bad job in the process.
Settle just below that foamy head and the difference is striking. The foam has become dark, brown liquid. But guess what? There are still lots and lots of bubbles. Settle a little deeper in the glass and you still have lots of bubbles but they start to become fewer and bigger. Settle deeper and you find still fewer and bigger bubbles. And when you get all the way to the bottom of the glass, you find those big, fat, juicy bubbles as they begin to coalesce and rise up from the bottom. There are bubbles all the way down.
And so it is with your mind. There are thoughts all the way down. Because as it turns out, your mind is for thinking thoughts. That is the nature of the mind. Vedic meditation, the practice I teach, is not the process for running around on the surface of the mind trying to pop all the bubbles.
We sit, close our eyes, and begin to think our mantra, and the mind begins to settle beneath of the frothy surface. We quickly get to a place where we can actually witness how many thoughts we have. (When you're lost in the froth, you can't even do that!) Then we come back to the mantra and settle a bit more. And so on. Sometimes we can settle so far that we get beyond the mind itself to touch that space between or beneath the thoughts. We transcend the mind itself.
But we never reach that space in consciousness simply because we tried to (in the same way that we don’t become the best listeners by trying to listen so hard our ears fall off). We get there because we allow it to happen. And we find that when we simply open ourselves up to whatever is happening in meditation—without wishing we had fewer thoughts, without worrying that we're not doing it right—we settle much faster. It's an easy, effortless practice. And the only thing we need to do to be doing it "right" is to do as little as possible.
It’s a much easier way to meditate. And it works better, too.