Spiritual Topic: Knowledge That Results in Release > Controlling Thoughts and Emotions

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We should ask ourselves, do we belong to our mind or does the mind belong to us? If mind belongs to us, we should learn to use it rightly. Mind was given to us so that it can help us in attaining freedom, but it is behaving like owner and giving us instructions to do actions. If we want to fully understand our mind, we will have to eliminate our negative assumption that we are only a small and limited creature and that's our extent or limit. Learn to reject those thoughts that are disturbing to us.

Controlling the mind does not mean stopping the thought process. Control of the mind means using it properly, and knowing the method of using the forces of the mind. It is necessary that we learn to observe, understand, and train the functions of mind at the various levels of consciousness (waking, dreaming, and sleep). Then, eventually, we can experience that Truth which is beyond all of the functions of mind and beyond the levels of waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. Mind cannot be understood by mind itself; it is not possible to understand mind through mind. There is something beyond mind. Beyond means inside at a deeper level and not impossible. Mind cannot work beyond, and we have to go beyond, so we have to drop mind whether it‘s pure, impure or disciplined. Impure mind does not allow us to go to that scategorye. Pure mind gets there, cannot go beyond this and does not disturb us.

We cannot change the external world, and we cannot change the nature of the senses. The instant we wake up, our mind employs our senses because they are there, and they are permanently engaged. It is not possible to avoid the situation. If we have never trained our mind in how to deal with the external world, then there is sure to be confusion. The sages teach that we should develop clarity of mind, and learn not to be distracted by the external confusion or stimulation.

e.g [ There was method of drawing water from a kind of well in which a wheel is pulled by horses or bulls, and it brings up the water. Once a horseman came with his horse and wanted his horse to drink water. That horse was thirsty and wanted to drink water, but the noise scared the horse and it would jump. So, the horseman asked the proprietor to the well, "Will you please stop this noise so my horse can drink?" The proprietor replied, "But if this noise stops then the water will also stop." Same way if we expect the whole world to behave nicely, and think that then we will be able to meditate, forget it! Or if w expect that we'll get some extra-time apart from our daily chores, then we're wrong. We should do meditation while doing our duties towards our family. ]

e.g [ Once there was a business man that met with another person. Another person had a Genie which could do anything within moments. Business man requested the other person to give him that Genie. The other person agreed but warned the business man that if Genie is free, he will kill you, genie should always be busy. Businessman was confident that he has enough work that would make genie busy. As genie was very fast, soon businessman finds it difficult to find another work for genie. Now, the businessman went to a sage to ask for solution. Sage offered the solution to businessman, he asked businessman to instruct genie find  a bamboo truck and then whenever he is free, he should ascend and descend that bamboo; as this never going to finish. Same way, our mind is like genie who always wanted to be pre-occupied. ]

All thoughts in sub-conscious are like seeds which have the capacity to germinate. If we water the seed by thinking of the thought it will grow; otherwise if we just observe and let it pass then it means that we have not watered the seed and therefore it will die. If an unpleasant thought comes, let it go. Don’t get disturbed. Otherwise, we will lose the constant battle waged by our thoughts. Be friendly to our mind and don’t create animosity toward it. Never identify ourself with our mind, its objects, thoughts, emotions, speech or actions.

When a thought arises in mind, ask yourself if this thought is good for your growth or not. If not then silently tell yourself: “This is not a good thought, let it pass, just become witness.” Witness is observation with non-attachment. e.g Judge punishes thief but not the witness. In other words, do not follow your thoughts/mind.

Techniques to make Mind one-pointed

  1. Do not try to stop Mind from thinking something. Do not play wrestling with your mind. Just try to see what kind of thoughts mind is thinking and where it is going. Do not give Mind the permission to run, but do not stop it from going there - instead give it full control by saying "Mind if you want to go there, you can go; but I am not coming with you.". After some time, the Mind will become steady and would not run. This is the most commonly used technique.

    During meditation build your determination, and tell your mind, “At this time my mind is only for meditation. I have to meditate and learn to go beyond this mire of delusion and confusion created by my mind. I am not going to identify with the thought patterns going on in my mind. No matter what happens during these moments I will be not disturbed, no matter what happens. Let my preoccupations come forward later. I do not want to be disturbed.” This way, we will build our sankalpa shakti. Sankalpa shakti (determination).

  2. This technique for those who has somewhat better control on their bhuddhi. In this technique, student divides his mind into 2 parts: One the owner, and other the servant. Being the owner of Mind, it instructs the other part (servant) not to run and eventually Mind gets trained.

  3. This technique is for advanced. Under this technique sit down for dhana and stop thinking. Empty your whole mind and watch from where the thoughts are coming. You will notice that thoughts come from outside. Throw these thoughts before entering the mind and destroy the thought.

It would be interesting to know the Mind in terms of Bird. Mind is a bird. Greed and Honor are its 2 wings; Attachment and Hatred are its mouth (chuanj) and it resides on tree named as body. Good (Shubh) and Bad (Ashubh) are its food. The technique to control this mind in terms of Bird: Prepare a cage of Vichar and put this mind inside this cage. (i.e always think about what is not-changable). Cut the wings of greed by using scisor of Veerag and Santokh. Give him the food of rememberance of Atama.

Techniques to control Emotions

If the emotions are not controlled, there is no control at all. Control does not mean suppression of expression; it means regulation and balance within one’s capacity.  When mind is made one-pointed and inward, it becomes lost and finds itself incapable of going more subtle levels of inner life without the help of emotional power. In other words, without the help of emotions buddhi/intellect is like a lame man who is not capable of reaching his destination.

  1. The first and most powerful method for obtaining mastery of the emotions is - as in all that touches consciousness - ­Meditation. Before contact with the world has disturbed the emotions, meditation should be resorted to. Coming back into the body after the period of physical sleep, from a world subtler than the physical, the Ego will find his tenement quiet, and can take possession calmly of the rested brain and nerves. Meditation later in the day, when the emotions have been disturbed, and when they are in full activity, is not as efficacious. The quiet time which is available after sleep is the right season for effective meditation, the desire-body, the emotional nature, being more tranquil than after it has plunged into the bustle of the world.

  2. Another method of curbing the emotions is to think over what is going to be said, before speaking, to put a bridle on the tongue. The man who has learned to control his speech has conquered every­thing, says an ancient eastern law-giver. The person who never speaks a sharp or ill-considered word is well on the way to control emotion. To rule speech is to rule the whole nature. It is a good plan not to speak - to deliberately check speech - until one is clear as to what one is going to say, is sure that the speech is true, that it is adapted to the person to whom it is to be addressed, and that it is such as ought to  be spoken.

  3. A third method of mastering emotion is by refraining from acting on impulse. The hurry to act is characteristic of the modern mind, and is the excess of the promptitude which is its virtue. When we consider life calmly we realise that there is never any need for hurry; there is always time enough, and action, however swift, should be well considered and unhurried. When an impulse comes from some strong emotion, and we spring forward in obedience, without consideration, we act unwisely. If we train ourselves to think, before we act in all ordinary affairs, then if an accident or anything else should happen in which prompt action is necessary, the swift mind will balance up the demands of the moment and direct swift action, but there will be no hurry, no inconsiderate unwise blundering.