Why is it important to control or to still your mind?
Yoga means to put together and is used in Indian scriptures as to describe (a) the state of being the Ocean of Bliss as well as to describe (b) practices to attain mastery and to become aware of your own being as the Divine.
If you have a look at the picture of this article you see the chariot from the Indian epic “The Bhagavad Gita”. It is guided by Krishna and the horses drag the chariot. The driver stands for your mind, the chariot for your body and the horses for your senses.
You want to have a mind, which is functional. This means, it drives into the right direction.
You want to have a body, which is healthy, doesn’t break down and acts in this world as the Divinity Within you dictates it to act.
You want to have senses, which are helping you to navigate in the world. They shall not be over stimulated all the times: then the horses would just get wild and bring you nowhere.
The perfect mind is a still mind which only engages if a task initiated by the Divinity Within is to be carried out.
Control your mind
The practice is simple and everyone can do it: The moment you see the chatter of your mind you switch to repeat internally the name of your chosen form of God.
If you have difficulties with the term “God” take the term, which feels the most comfortable for you. It could be also “the Universe” or whatever makes you feel good and goes beyond mostly ego-centric consciousness and means a higher super consciousness to you.
Sathya Sai Baba, an Indian spiritual teacher says, it doesn’t matter which form of God we choose, because God (not in a religious sense) is formless (the Divinity within everything and everyone and also sustaining everything and everyone) and has many forms.
Choose the form of God that is the dearest one to you and repeat internally His name constantly.
When you die eventually this will help you also greatly. In the moment you die you don’t cling to the world but you can hold onto reciting the name of your dearest form of God and look out for Him. This is the habit that you can develop already now and will help you in your transition.
If this notion of the word “God” is strange to you you can also choose a Divine Quality like Peace, Unconditional Love etc. and repeat that. But if you choose the name of a form of God you leave it to God Himself which quality is needed right now.
We eventually become of what we think of.
Still your mind
This takes more effort than the first practice and I can give you here only a hint into the direction. There are many practices that you can do. All involve a change of habit and honesty and a loving attitude with yourself.
1. Set the goal right
According to the Bhagavad Gita all attachments other to God and all desires are giving endless reasons for the mind to think. The cure is to eliminate all desires and only to keep only the desire for Self-Realization.
Self-Realization is the realization that you are the Divinity Within you. This Divinity is the same in everybody else and that even the separateness is an illusion and that we are all the very source of Bliss itself.
By doing self-inquiry you are able to track down the source of every thought in your mind and dissolve it. Thus, your mind becomes calmer and calmer and still eventually. Here some ideas for inquiring about the roots of your most prevailing thought habits:
- Investigate your thoughts and get to the root desire. See which Divine Quality in yourself can give you that desire that you are searching in vain in the outside world.
- Investigate in painful past events and search for the learning in them. Make the learnings of painful past events your treasure and your light.
- Investigate in fears of the future and surrender trustfully to the Divinity Within Yourself. Your Higher Self always knows the next step, and it knows it in the PRESENT.
- Investigate in false concepts of the world and false concepts you have about yourself. Which concepts are you comparing yourself against? Give unconditional love for yourself and others. Take out the judgment and guilt. They lead to nowhere. Trust that your inner voice will prompt you to do the most beneficial actions for all and lead you on the perfect path for you.
3. Become the watcher of your mind
Another possibility is to watch your thoughts. Know that you are different from your thoughts. That they are only temporary and your essence is not your thoughts.
This means: Your mind is still running and doing its thing. But you are not really interested in it. You let it run and you don’t judge yourself for having thoughts.
To watch your thoughts may be difficult in the beginning and repeating the name of your chosen form of God could be much easier at the beginning. Start practicing to watch your thoughts in a meditation and later it will be a practice which you can do in any situation, in fact, it will be second nature to you.
And after all – who is the one in you who watches your thoughts?
If you are able to control your mind and to even still it, you will not be prompted to act in this world for the sake of fulfilling your egoistic desires and attachments.
By differentiating between the prompts of your monkey mind and the action itself you will eventually be able to transform your not-serving habits to life-supporting habits.
Note: The picture of this article is from the cover of the book “Bhagavad Gita” with comments from Sathya Sai Baba and collected by Camilla Svensson.