The work of meditation culminates in seeing, directly, the substance of our thoughts, this experience being sometimes referred to as kensho. Seeing this substance, however, is somewhat different than suppressing thoughts as if we are trying to calm them down after some unexpected crisis (imagine that you recently lost your job). Directly seeing this substance is final insofar as we are no longer clueless as to what it was—now we see it. It is unmistakable. It is important to remember that seeing the substance of our thoughts and calming them down are very different.
Ultimately, strange as it might seem to the conventional mind, the external world is outwardized thought, the substance of which is also the substance of our thoughts. If the external world were not just thought in an outward form then seeing and personally realizing the substance of our thoughts would still find us in opposition with the outward world.
The mysterious event of awakening or being enlightened is that thought both inward, as mentation, and outward, as the shape of the world, are transcended such that the totality of the one substance is revealed for the first time. This substance is what Chan master Huangbo was referring to when his said: “This Mind, which is without beginning, is unborn and indestructible” and Huineng before him who said: “True Reality is the substance of thoughts.”
When the Zen adept awakens to the substance of his or her thoughts they do not understand, completely, that their world is also thought. This insight follows later in which there is a profound, magnificent illumination. One, so to speak, is immersed in a mystical light which both engulfs all possible forms of mentation and also the external world. This light is what brings calmness to the inward world with its anxieties, frustrations, and fears. Also, the external world loses it power over us. Every place is the place of enlightenment (bodhimaṇḍa). Keeping this in mind if there is a secret mission of Buddhism it is to make this light manifest throughout the world which would cause real changes. Unfortunately, everyone gets the cart before the horse setting their mind on wishing for this light in the form of Maitreya. It will never happen. All are called upon to first begin from within with the realization of the substance of thought.