Controlling the Mind
The mind is like a wheel which revolves endlessly with tremendous velocity. It generates new thoughts with every revolution. This wheel is set in motion by the vibration of psychic Prana or subtle Prana. The practice of Pranayama and Meditation lessens the speed of the mind and slows down the wheel gradually. Perfect control of Prana will bring the wheel to a standstill.
Alcohol, meat, Rajasic foods, cinema, novel-reading, obscene songs, obscene sights, evil company, obscene talks will make the wheel of mind revolve very rapidly whereas fruits, Sattvic food, company of Mahatmas, study of religious books, solitude, Japa, Kirtan, concentration, meditation, enquiry of ‘Who am I?’ will slow down the wheel and eventually bring it down to a standstill. Identify yourself with the Immortal Self. Enquire ‘Who am I?’ whenever thoughts arise in your mind. All the thoughts will gradually die. Fewer the desires, lesser the thoughts. Become absolutely desire less.
You must have a pure mind if you want to realize the Self. Unless the mind is set free and casts away all desires, cravings, worries, delusion, pride, lust, attachment, likes and dislikes, it cannot enter into the domain of Supreme Peace and unalloyed felicity of the Immortal Abode.
The wheel will stop entirely. If you reduce your wants, if you do not try to fulfill your desires, if you try to eradicate your desires one by one, your thoughts will diminish in frequency and length. The number of thoughts per minute will also decrease. Fewer the thoughts, greater the peace. Remember this always. A wealthy man who does speculation in a big city and who has a large number of thoughts has a restless mind, in spite of his comforts, whereas, a Sadhu who lives in the cave of Himalayas and who is practicing thought-control is very happy in spite of his poverty.
Concentration will increase by lessening the number of thoughts. Certainly it is an uphill task to reduce the number of thoughts. In the beginning it will be bothering you much. The task will be very unpleasant. But later on you will enjoy as you will get immense strength of mind and internal peace by reduction of thoughts. With the patience, perseverance, vigilance, fiery determination and iron will, you can crush the thoughts easily just as you crush a lemon or an orange with ease. After crushing, it will be easy for you to root them out. Mere crushing or suppression will not suffice. There may be again resurrection of thoughts. They should be totally eradicated just as a small plant is uprooted from the wet loose soil.When you give a blow on the head of a snake with a stick and crush its head, it remains absolutely motionless for some time. You think it is dead. All of a sudden it raise its head and runs swiftly. Even so the thoughts that were once crushed and suppressed by you regain strength and raise up their heads. They must be destroyed totally beyond resurrection.
It is very difficult to fix the mind on one thought in the beginning. Diminish the number of thoughts. Try to have thoughts on one subject. If you think of a rose you can have all sorts of thoughts connected with rose only. You can think of different kinds of roses that are grown in different parts of the world. You can think of the various preparations that are made out of roses and their uses. You can allow even thoughts of other kinds of flowers to enter; but do not entertain thoughts of fruits and vegetables. Check the aimless wandering of the mind. Do not have thoughts at random when you think of a rose. Gradually you can fix the mind on one thought. You will have to discipline the mind daily. Eternal vigilance is needed in thought-control. Fewer the thoughts, greater the mental strength and concentration. Suppose the average number of thoughts that pass through your brain within one hour is one hundred. If you succeed in reducing them by constant practice of concentration and meditation to ninety you have gained ten per cent of power of concentration of mind. Every thought that is reduced adds strength and peace to the mind. Reduction of even one thought will give you mental strength and peace of mind.
You may not be able to feel this in the beginning as you do not possess a subtle intellect; but there is a spiritual thermometer inside to register the reduction of even a single thought. If you reduce one thought the mental strength that you have gained by this reduction will help you to reduce the second thought easily. There is no vitality in them. Just as the drowning man tries to catch anything to save himself, so also these lifeless thoughts try their level best to come back to their previous state of life and vigor. If you go on with your daily practice of concentration and meditation regularly, they will die by themselves like a gheeless lamp.
In the beginning of your practice of thought-control you will experience great difficulty. You will have to wage war with them. They will have to struggle their level best for their own existence. They will say: “We have every right to remain in this place of mind. We have a sole monopoly from time immemorial to occupy this area. Why should we vacate our dominion now? We will fight for our birthright till the end.” They will pounce upon you with great ferocity. When you sit for meditation only all sorts of evil thoughts will crop up. As you attempt to suppress them they want to attack you with redoubled force and vigor. But positive always overcomes the negative. Just as darkness cannot stand before the sun, just as a leopard cannot stand before the lion so also all these dark, negative thoughts, these invisible intruders, enemies of peace, cannot stand before the sublime divine thoughts.
They must die by themselves. Just as the warrior chops off the heads of his enemies one by one, when they come of a fortress through a trap door, so also chop the thoughts one by one when they emerge out through the trap door to the surface of the mind.
The substitution method is very easy and effective in the destruction of evil thoughts. Cultivate positive virtuous thoughts of mercy, love, purity, forgiveness, integrity, generosity, humility, etc., in the garden of your mind. The negative vicious thoughts of hatred, lust, anger, greed, pride, etc., will die by themselves. It is difficult to destroy the evil thoughts by attacking them directly. You will have to tax your will and waste your energy.
Suppose the evil thoughts stay in your mind for twelve hours and recur every third day. If you can make them stay for ten hours and recur once in a week by daily practice of concentration and meditation that is a decided improvement. If you continue your practice, the period of stay and recurrence will be gradually lessened. Eventually they will disappear altogether. Compare your present state of mind with that of last year or year before last. You will be able to find out your progress. The progress will be very slow in the beginning. It will be difficult for you to gauge your growth and progress.
Thoughts gain strength by repetition. If you entertain an evil thought or a good thought once, this evil thought or good thought has a tendency to recur again. Thoughts crowd together. Just as the birds of the same feather flock together, so also if you entertain one evil thought all sorts of evil thoughts join together and attack you. If you entertain any good thought, all good thoughts join together. Like attracts like. If you entertain evil thought that thought attracts all sorts of evil thoughts from others. You pass on that thought to others also. Thought moves. Thought is a living dynamic force. Thought is a thing. If you allow your mind to dwell on a sublime thought, this thought will attract good thoughts from others. You pass on good thoughts to others. You pollute the world with your bad thoughts. You help the world with your good thoughts.