"Meditation is the way par excellence to handle distractions because the purpose of the one word, the mantra, is simply to bring your mind to peace, silence, and concentration. Not to bring it to rest with holy thoughts alone but to transcend what we know as thought altogether. And the mantra serving this end is like a plough that goes through your mind pushing everything else aside — 'making the rough places plain.' Cassian spoke of its "casting off and rejecting the rich and ample matter of the manner of thoughts." It is because the mind is 'light and wandering,' as susceptible to thoughts and images as a feather to the slightest breeze, that Cassian enjoins the mantra as the way to transcend distraction and attain stability.

"The essence, the art of saying the mantra, is to say it, sound it, listen to it, and just ignore the distractions. Give primacy to the mantra above all else. Gradually, as you persevere in saying the mantra, distractions do become less and less of a reality. My teacher used to say that the first three aims that you have when you begin to meditate are these: first of all, just to say the mantra for the full period of your meditation. That's your first goal and that might take a year; it might take ten years. The second goal is to say your mantra and be perfectly calm in the face of all distractions that come. And the third preliminary aim is to say the mantra for the full time of your meditation with no distractions."