Control the Mind

Swami Sivananda Saraswati

To achieve control of the mind, two things are essential – control of prana, and dissociation with the longing for objects and attachment to them. Pranayama or control of breath checks the velocity of the mind and reduces the quantity of thinking. It removes the rajasic and tamasic dross of the mind.

Dispassion thins out the mind. It is a drastic purgative for the mind. Those who practise intense dispassion are the real controllers of their minds. Have no longing for objects. Avoid them. Slowly and cautiously destroy all the pleasure centres of the mind, such as partaking of dainty dishes frequently, gossiping, sightseeing, worldly music, etc. Keep up the three sattwic pleasures: study of spiritual books, meditation, and service of humanity.

Whatever object the mind likes most and dwells upon constantly should be given up. If you like tea or apples very much, give them up first. You will gain a great deal of peace, willpower and control of mind. After some months, the craving will be attenuated and slowly vanish.

When the mind is transformed, the objects that gave pleasure before will now give pain. If the objects that enchanted you previously now produce disgust, then you know that the mind is being destroyed. Things that used to upset you easily will not affect you now. Occasions that made you irritable will not do so now. You have now gained strength, power of endurance, power of resistance and the ability to deal with troubles. Unkind words that used to torment you will no longer upset you. Even if you become irritable, you will be able to compose yourself quickly. These are all signs of your gaining mental strength and willpower. Meditation brings about all these beneficial results.

Maintain a positive attitude

Try to acquire the power of closing yourself to all detrimental or undesirable influences by making yourself positive. By doing so, you will be receptive to all the higher impulses of the soul within and to all the higher forces and influences from without. Give a suggestion to yourself, ‘I make myself positive to all things below and receptive to all higher influences’. By adopting this kind of attitude consciously now and then, it soon becomes a habit.

In the mind there exist both doubt and reality. When a doubt arises as to whether there is a God or not, whether one will succeed in self realization or not, it should be dispelled by affirmations such as, ‘It is true that I will succeed. There is no doubt about this’. Autosuggestion consists of powerful assertions. The formula, ‘I am becoming better and better every day, in every way’, will confer upon you health and success. Repeat it mentally throughout the day. Dwell on it constantly. You will become as you think. The mind has the capacity of making hell out of heaven and heaven out of hell. It is the cause of both heaven and hell, of liberation and bondage. May God grant you the strength to conquer your mind and enjoy eternal peace and bliss!