One way of looking at meditation would be to see it as the practice of taking the backward step to look within. It is said in Zen that in meditation the body, as we sit upright and maintain stillness, becomes a mirror of sorts where the mind can see itself and its many reflections appear and disappear, moment to moment.
The body as an unmoving mirror where mind can contemplate its own fragmented images come and go much like clouds passing over the sky.
We ordinarily think we need to clear the sky of all cloud formations for what is heavy and obscure in them, clouds here representing fluctuations in the mind-field, the vrriti, so that mind becomes perfectly clear like a pristine specksless firmament that nothing distorts, a boundless expanse of open space stretching to the infinite, that nothing limits.
When we think of the relationship between mind and thoughts as a sky obstructed in it original clarity by dense obscuring clouds, we set apart mind and thoughts, sky and clouds, movement and stillness, form and emptiness.
As if there could be sky without clouds, as if there could be mind without thoughts, as if there could be emptiness without form. Or as if, were that to be, it would even be desirable. There is beauty in clouds as there is beauty in thoughts. There is beauty in whatever passes, and everything passes.
Wanting a mind free of thoughts, wanting a sky free of clouds, is itself just another thought, is itself just another drifting cloud in the sky. Only a thought could wish to come to the end of itself.
Vast sky does not mind the coming and going of clouds, vast mind does not mind the coming and going of thoughts. Clouding is part of the function of sky, thinking is part of the function of mind.
Clouds are just as much a part of the sky as thoughts are part of the mind, no need to want to make them disappear. Clouds are what the sky is doing, it is skying, thoughts are what the mind is doing, it is thinking. It Is thinking while it is also thinking beyond thinking.
No need to eliminate thoughts as they are a function of the mind. They are inseparable, mind and thoughts, as all phenomena are inseparable, they co-exist, co-depend, co-arise.
Realizing the inseparability of phenomena is vast mind manifesting its essential ability to be free. Vast sky and vast mind have this in common that they avoid picking and choosing.They let things come, they let things go, they let things arise, they let things fall. Letting thoughts arise and fall without being obstructed by their rising and falling is mind as expression of openness, is openness as expression of mind.
Avoiding picking and choosing is the recognition that the path, the way. the tao, is originally unobstructed, easy and joyful to tread upon.
" The great way is not difficult, for those who have no preferences.
Without love and hate, everything becomes clear and undistinguished.
Make one small distinction, however,
and heaven and hell are infinitely apart."
Shin Jin Mei, poem of faith in mind, oldest existing Chan/Zen text.
We do not need to employ great effort to manifest wisdom, all we need to do is to get out of our own way long enough for the wisdom that is within us to shine through.
Our confusion is about our attachment to our views, to our preferences, wisdom is about embracing the don't know mind, the mind that has no longer any ideas to pick and chose from.
No matter how overcast the sky, the radiance of the sun will shine through for the sky is not obstructed by erring clouds.
When we cease desiring light, when we cease wanting to dispel darkness, we realize that whatever is in this universe is not just part of the universe but is itself the universe for the whole and the part are inseparable, indivisible.
And that, in the words of William Blake, could be the meaning of the marriage of heaven and hell. What is sacred is that things are, that we are, beyond definitions, beyond what is graspable by the mind, beyond what it separates.
Ungarspability as the nature of what is: what is life is always whole and expression of wholeness, it cannot be segmented into notions, definitions and categories.
Groundless and ungraspable; galaxies err, stars err, skies err, clouds err, and so with mind, and so with thoughts, and so with us, we err, as birth errs, as death errs for, in the words of Rilke:
Bleiben ist nirgends
dwelling is nowhere
demeruer est nulle part!
'The blossoms of the apricot blow from the east to the west,
And I have tried to keep them from falling.'
(Ezra Pound - Canto XIII)