A huge truck, like a concrete mixer, pull up outside your house filled with blueberry pancake batter. The valve opens and pancake batter begins to pour out onto your front lawn (you love pancakes). As it continues to pump pancake batter, there is so much that it creeps across the lawn and eventually floods the front lawn. When it reaches the front door, and if the door is open, blueberry pancake batter enters and begins to flow into the front hall and if the truck is not empty and still pumping it out, it begin to creep down the hall toward the kitchen. Now containing grass, sticks, and dirt it arrives to the floor in front of stove. Now is the exciting time because we are really getting hungry and love pancakes! However, it is still on the floor, how will we get it into the frying pan so we can enjoy!
It is like that; the outer practices such as reciting mantras, visiting holy places and doing ritual are trying to go inside for transformation. However, the actual practice comes from interior through living transmission and inner meditation that is clean and free from debris of contaminated outer energies. The debris of ordinary thinking, unaccomplished karma, desires, aversions, and perceptions interfere with the actual meditation. The important purpose of the outer activities is to facilitate and encourage the inner meditation. Reducing fascination by making behavioral changes and learning high thinking, to provide high nutrition is a more correct relationship to the inner process.
Beyond that, if there is no authentic transmission to begin the inner meditation there is no inner actual practice. Therefore, seek authentic transmission as though your life depended on it. This is how the sages behave.