We always begin meditation with half a minute of feeling the silence within, we identify with that silence then we start the mantra and let it go. We witness the conscious thinking mind from this deep inner silence as it thinks the mantra. Our experience is true effortless thinking of the mantra, just like it takes zero effort to observe the engine of the car as it runs, it takes zero effort to observe the conscious thinking mind as it thinks the mantra. When we can maintain our awareness in the silent mind, which is our subtle mind and our direct connection with Krishna, as the conscious thinking mind is performing Dharana (thinking the mantra), we have progressed to the second level of meditation called Dhyana.
It is our objective to maintain this witnessing quality throughout meditation and Samyama. If we can do this, the meditation time passes quickly and effortlessly and blissfully! It is truely a delight to spend these moments in meditation. On the other hand, if we are unable to separate our mind into these two levels, conscious thinking mind and silent witnessing mind, and cannot witness the conscious thinking mind from the silent witnessing mind throughout meditation, then our experience of meditation is far less charming. We feel bored, uneasy and time moves very slowly, with many thoughts of “is it over yet?” as we may frequently check the time. If this is your experience, then you are not “effortlessly thinking the mantra” by detaching from your conscious thinking mind and witnessing from the subtle mind.