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Knowledge for Freedom >>> How to Control Mind

We should ask ourselves, do we belong to our mind, or does the mind belong to us? If the mind belongs to us, we should learn to use it rightly. Mind was given to us to help us attain freedom, but it behaves like an owner and gives us instructions to do actions. If we want to understand our mind, we must eliminate our negative assumption that we are only a tiny 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. We must learn to observe, understand, and train the functions of the mind at the various levels of consciousness (waking, dreaming, and sleep). Then, eventually, we can experience that Truth beyond all of the functions of the mind and beyond the levels of waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. The mind itself cannot understand the mind. There is something beyond the mind. Beyond means inside at a deeper level and not impossible. We must drop the mind, whether pure, impure, or disciplined if we want to go beyond.

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 minds in dealing with the external world, there will surely be confusion. The sages teach that we should develop clarity of mind and learn not to be distracted by external chaos or stimulation.

e.g. [There was a method of drawing water from a kind of well in which bulls pull a wheel, 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 it, and it would jump. So, the horseman asked the proprietor of the well, "Will you please stop this noise so my horse can drink?" The proprietor replied, "But if this noise stops, the water will also stop." In the same way, if we expect the whole world to behave nicely and think that, we will be able to meditate; forget it! Or if we hope to 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 businessman that met with a magician. The magician had a Genie who could do anything within moments. The businessman requested the magician to give him that Genie. The magician agreed but warned the businessman that if Genie was free, he would kill him, and the genie should always be busy. The businessman was confident that he had enough work to keep genie busy. As the genie was very fast, the businessman soon found it difficult to find another job for the genie. Now, the businessman is scared for his life and goes to a sage to ask for a solution. Sage offered the answer to the businessman, he asked the businessman to instruct the genie to find a bamboo stick, and then whenever he is free, he should ascend and descend that bamboo stick, as this is never going to finish. Similarly, our mind is like a genie who always wants to be preoccupied.]

All thoughts in the subconscious are like seeds that can germinate. If we get engaged with a thought, it's like watering the thought seed; it will grow. Otherwise, if we observe and let it pass, we have not watered the seed, and 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 the mind, and do not create hatred toward it. Never identify ourselves with our mind, its objects, thoughts, emotions, speech, or actions.

When a thought arises in our mind, ask ourselves if this thought is good for our growth. If not, then silently tell yourself: "This is not a good thought; let it pass; just become a witness." Becoming a witness means observing but with non-attachment.

Techniques to make Mind one-pointed

  1. Do not try to stop the Mind from thinking something. Do not play wrestling with your mind. Just try to see what kind of thoughts the mind is thinking and where it is going. Do not give Mind permission to run, but do not stop it from going there - instead, give it complete 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 will not run. This is the most commonly used technique.
  2. This technique is for those with better intellectual control. In this technique, the student divides his mind into two parts: The owner and the servant. Being Mind's owner, it instructs the other part (servant) not to run, and eventually, Mind gets trained.
  3. This technique is advanced. Under this technique, sit down for meditation and stop thinking. Empty your whole mind and watch where the thoughts are coming from. You will notice that ideas come from outside of the conscious mind. Throw these thoughts before entering the conscious mind and destroy the thought.

Mind is like a bird. Greed and Honor are its two wings; Attachment and Hatred are its mouths and reside on a tree named the body. Good and Bad are its food. The technique to control this mind in terms of a Bird: Prepare a cage of Contemplation and put the mind inside this cage. Cut the wings of greed using the scissors of Deattachment (Vairagya) and Contentment (Santokh). Give him the food of remembrance of Soul (Atma).

Techniques to control Emotions

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

  1. Meditation is the first and most powerful method for obtaining mastery of emotions. The best time for meditation is the early ambrosial hours when our mind is quiet without worldly distractions. Meditation later in the day is not as effective when the emotions have been disturbed and are in total activity. The quiet time available after sleep is the right time for effective meditation, the desire-body, the emotional nature, being more tranquil than after it has plunged into the world's bustle.
  2. Another method of curbing emotions is to think over what will be said before speaking by putting a harness 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 controlling emotion. To rule speech is to lead the whole of 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 refraining from acting on impulse. The hurry to act is characteristic of the modern mind. When we consider life calmly, we realize there is never any need for haste; 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. Suppose we train ourselves to think before we act in all ordinary affairs. In that case, 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 quick, direct action. Still, there will be no hurry, no inconsiderate unwise blundering.

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