In Hindu mythology, there is a story in which gods and demons work together to churn the ocean in hope of getting precious treasures. During churning of oceans, first, poison came out which threatens to contaminate everything. Then Lord Shiva drank that poison and saved them from the disaster.
After the poison came, Lakshmi (Goddess of prosperity and beauty), Goddess of wine, Moon, Rambha the nymph, White Horse, Kaustubha a jewel, Parijata the Celestial tree, Surabhi the cow of plenty, Airavata a white elephant, Dhanus a mighty bow and Sankha a conch shell.
All of these things demons and gods distributed among themselves. But they didn’t stop here to enjoy all these treasures. They went on and on to churn the ocean till divine nectar (Amrit) appears. Whoever drank divine nectar became immortal.
Through this symbolic story sages are teaching a path to enlightenment.
When we start doing meditation, lots of thoughts come and these thoughts trouble us more. As we go deeper into meditation, then all hurtful feelings, anger, hate, jealousy resurface in our mind. This is the poison which came during the churning of the ocean.
After we have accepted all these hurtful feelings and we are calmly progressing in meditation, powers (emotions) arise in the meditator. But a meditator need not get stuck in these emotions and should not act on them. Slowly the energy which has manifested in form of these powerful emotions will also be used in taking us towards our true nature.
The meditator needs to go deeper and deeper in to its own being and at last the nectar comes that is enlightenment. The symbol of the churning of ocean is very meaningful because our unconscious is very deep. Our mind is a vast reservoir of memories and desires. So in meditation we churn our mind to drink divine the nectar of immortality.