- Get Over Gloomy Thoughts
- Victory Over Intrusive Thoughts
- Drive Away Obnoxious Thoughts
- Master Worldly Thoughts
- Conquer Impure Thoughts
- Subdue Negative Thoughts
- Overcome Habitual Thoughts
- Triumph Over Unimportant Thoughts
- Transform Instinctive Thoughts
- Lessen the Number of Habitual Thoughts
- Gather Inspirational Thoughts
- Reflect Over Illuminating Thoughts
- Right Thoughts for Wrong Thoughts
- The Gamut of Thoughts
- Mean Thoughts and Moral Development
Get Over Gloomy Thoughts
Very carefully watch all your thoughts. Suppose you are assailed by gloomy thoughts. You experience depression. Take a small cup of milk or tea. Sit calmly. Close your eyes. Find out the cause for the depression and try to remove the cause.
The best method to overcome the gloomy thoughts and the consequent depression, is to think of inspiring thoughts and inspiring things. Remember again, positive overcomes negative. This is a grand effective law of nature.
Now think strongly of the opposite thoughts, the opposite of gloom. Think of those things that elevate your mind; think of cheerfulness. Imagine the advantage of cheerfulness. Feel that you are in actual possession of this quality.
Again and again repeat the formula: OM CHEERFULNES, mentally. Feel, “I am very cheerful.” Begin to smile and laugh several times.
Sing: sometimes this can elevate you quickly. Singing is very beneficial to drive off gloom. Chant OM loudly several times. Run in the open air. The depression will vanish soon. This is the Pratipaksha Bhavana method of Raja Yogins. This is the easiest method.
The method of driving gloom by force—by willing, by assertions, by command—taxes the ‘will’ very much although it is the most efficient. It demands great strength of will. Ordinary people will not succeed. The method of displacing or dislocating the negative feeling by substituting the opposite, positive feeling, is very easy. Within a very short time, the undesirable feeling vanishes. Practice this and feel. Even if you fail several times, continue. You will be successful after some sittings and some practice.
You can treat in the same manner other negative thoughts and feelings as well. If there is the feeling of anger think of love. If there are thoughts of jealousy, think of the advantages of charitableness and magnanimity. If there are thoughts of gloom, then think of some inspiring scenery that you saw sometime ago, or recall to mind some inspiring passage.
If there is harshness of heart, think of mercy. If there is lust, think of the advantage of celibacy. If there is dishonesty, think of honesty, integrity. If there is miserliness, think of generosity and generous persons.
If there is infatuation or Moha, think of discrimination and Atmic Vichara; if there is pride, think of humility. If there is hypocrisy, think of frankness and its invaluable advantages. If there is jealousy, think of nobility and magnanimity. If there is timidity, think of courage, and so on.
You will drive off the negative thoughts and feelings and will be established in a positive state. Practice of a continued type is essential. Be careful in the selection of your companions. Talk very little and that, too, on useful matters.
Victory Over Intrusive Thoughts
In the beginning of your practice of thought-control you will experience great difficulty. You will have to wage war with them. They will struggle their level best for their own existence. They will say, “We have every right to remain in this palace 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 vigour. But positive always overcomes the negative.
Just as darkness cannot stand before the sun, just as the 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.
Drive Away Obnoxious Thoughts
Drive away from your mind all unnecessary, useless and obnoxious thoughts. Useless thoughts impede your spiritual growth; obnoxious thoughts are stumbling blocks to spiritual advancement.
You are away from God when you entertain useless thoughts. Substitute thoughts of God. Entertain only thoughts that are helpful and useful. Useful thoughts are the stepping-stones to spiritual growth and progress.
Do not allow the mind to run into the old grooves and to have its own ways and habits. Be on the careful watch.
If a pebble in our boot torments us, we expel it. We take off the boot and shake it out. Once the matter is fairly understood, it is just as easy to expel an intruding and obnoxious thought from the mind. About this there ought to be no doubt, no two opinions. The thing is obvious, clear and unmistakable.
It should be as easy to expel an obnoxious thought from your mind as it is to shake a stone out of your shoe; and, till a man can do that, it is just nonsense to talk about his ascendancy and conquest over nature. He is a mere slave and prey to the bat-winged phantoms that flit through the corridor of his brain.
Master Worldly Thoughts
Worldly thoughts will trouble you a lot in the beginning of your new life of thought-culture. They trouble you, also when you take to the practice of meditation and spiritual life. But, if you are regular in your cultivation of spiritual thoughts and in your meditation, these worldly thoughts will gradually die by themselves.
Meditation is a fire to burn these thoughts. Do not try to drive all worldly thoughts. Entertain positive thoughts concerning the object of your meditation. Positively think of the lofty things.
Watch your mind always very carefully. Be vigilant. Be on the alert. Do not allow waves of irritability, jealousy, anger, hatred, lust, to rise from the mind. These dark waves and worldly thoughts are enemies of meditation, peace and wisdom.
Conquer them immediately by entertaining sublime divine thoughts. Worldly thoughts that have arisen may be destroyed by originating good thoughts and maintaining them by repeating any Mantra or the Name of the Lord, by thinking on any form of the Lord, by practice of Pranayama, by singing the Name of the Lord, by doing good actions, by thinking on the misery that arises from the worldly thoughts.
When you attain a state of purity, no worldly thoughts will take their rise in your mind. Just as it is easy to check the intruder or enemy at the gate, so also it is easy to overcome a worldly thought as soon as it rises. Nip it in the bud. Do not allow it to strike a deep root.
Conquer Impure Thoughts
When you are very busy in your daily work, you may not harbour any impure thought; but when you take rest and leave the mind blank, the impure thoughts will try to enter insidiously. You must be careful when the mind is relaxed.
Thoughts gain strength by repetition. If you entertain an impure thought or good thought once, this impure 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 impure thought all sorts of impure thoughts join together and attack you. If you entertain any good thought, all good thoughts join together to help you.
Subdue Negative Thoughts
Learn to subdue, to purify, to order all your thoughts. Fight against all negative thoughts and doubts. Let sublime divine thoughts come to you from every side.
Thoughts of depression, failure, weakness, darkness, doubts, fear, etc., are negative thoughts. Cultivate positive thoughts of strength, confidence, courage, cheerfulness. The negative thoughts will disappear.
Fill the mind with divine thoughts, by Japa, Prayer, Dhyana and study of holy books. Be indifferent to all negative and undivine thoughts. They will pass away. Do not struggle with them. Pray to God for strength. Read the lives of saints. Study the Bhagavata and the Ramayana. All devotees have passed through similar ordeals. So, take heart.
Overcome Habitual Thoughts
All sorts of habitual thoughts, concerning the body, the dress, the food, and so on, must be overcome through the Atma-Chintana, or reflection on the Nature of the divine Self within one’s own Heart. This is an uphill work. It demands patient, incessant practice and inner spiritual strength.
Srutis emphatically declare: “This Atman cannot be obtained by weak persons.” Sincere aspirants dedicate their whole being to contemplation of the Eternal, having withdrawn their affection from the world of sense-objects.
Those who have destroyed the Vasanas and host of habitual thoughts will enjoy their final beatitude in the Brahmic seat, replete with trust, quiescence and equality. They will have equal vision over all. This mischievous and powerful mind generates all pains and all fears, all sorts of diversities, heterogeneity, distinctions and dualities and destroys all noble, spiritual wealth. Slay this troublesome mind.
When the seen and the sight merge into one another in the seer, then is the experience of Ananda (bliss). This is Turiya state. Then one sees the illimitable Jnana, Atman only everywhere. All sorts of distinctions and dualities vanish now entirely.
Thoughts of attraction, and thoughts of repulsion, likes and dislikes, Raga-Dvesha are annihilated in toto. Then the sage will not be conscious of the existence of the body, though working in it. He will never lose his control even amidst the many illusions of the world, like a woman who performs her household duties whilst her mind is engrossed in her paramour at a distance. The sage will always centre his mind on Brahman.
May you always be performing only those virtuous actions that will help you in the attainment of Jnana, without any thought of worldly prosperity in the future. May you live drowned in the ocean of Brahmic Delight, in a state of full illumination, having destroyed all dualities, distinctions and differences!
Triumph Over Unimportant Thoughts
Do not try to drive away the unimportant and irrelevant thoughts. The more you try, the more they will return, the more they will gain strength. You will tax your energy and will.
Become indifferent. Fill the mind with divine thoughts. They will gradually vanish. Get yourself established in Nirvikalpa Samadhi through constant meditation.
Removal of tension in the muscles of the body brings repose and calmness to the mind. By relaxation you give rest to the mind, tired nerves and the overworked muscles. You will get immense peace of mind, strength and vigour. When you practice relaxation of either body or mind, the brain should not be occupied with various sorts of loose extraneous thoughts. Anger, disappointment, failure, indisposition, misery, sorrow, quarrels cause internal mental strain. Expel them.
Transform Instinctive Thoughts
Thinking is of four kinds, viz., symbolic thinking, instinctive thinking, impulsive thinking and habitual thinking.
Thinking through words is symbolic thinking. Instincts are more powerful than impulses. Thoughts of body, food, drink, bath, etc., are habitual thinking.
You can stop easily symbolic thinking. It is difficult to stop instinctive and impulsive thinking.
Mental poise and calmness may be brought about by the eradication of worry and anger. Fear really underlies both worry and anger. Be careful and thoughtful. All unnecessary worries should be avoided. Think of courage, joy, bliss, peace and cheerfulness. Sit for fifteen minutes in a relaxed state in an easy comfortable position.
You can lie on an easy-chair. Close your eyes. Withdraw the mind from outside objects. Still the mind. Silence the bubbling thoughts.
Lessen the Number of Habitual Thoughts
Generally, in untrained persons, four or five kinds of thoughts occupy the mind at a time. Household thoughts, business thoughts, thoughts of office, thoughts of body, thoughts of food and drink, hope and anticipation, some kind of planning to get money, some kind of thoughts of revenge, some habitual thoughts of answering calls of nature, bathing, etc., occupy the mind at a time.
When you are studying a book with interest at 3.30 p.m. the idea of pleasure of witnessing a cricket match at 4 p.m. disturbs your study every now and then. It is only a Yogi with one-pointed mind, who can have only one thought at a time and can keep it as long as he likes.
If you watch the mind carefully, you will find that many thoughts are inconsistent. The mind wanders at random aimlessly. There will be some thoughts of the body and its wants, some thoughts of friends, some thoughts of acquiring money, some thoughts of eating and drinking, some thoughts of your boyhood, etc.
If you can study the mind and if you have consistent thoughts of one subject or one kind only to the exclusion of all other thoughts, this itself is a very great achievement, is a great step in advancement in thought-control. Do not be discouraged.
Gather Inspirational Thoughts
The goal of life is the attainment of divine consciousness. This goal is the realization that you are neither this perishable body nor that changing and finite mind, but you are all-pure, ever-free Atman.
Remember always this inspiring thought—Ajo-Nityah Sasvatoyam Purano: Unborn, Eternal, Permanent is this Ancient One. This is your real nature. You are not this little passing personality hooked on to a name and form. You are not Ramaswamy or Mukherji or Mehta or Matthew or Garde or Apte. You have only fallen into this little delusion by an accident through some passing cloud of ignorance. Awake and realize that you are Pure Atman.
There is another wonderful Upanishadic inspirational thought. It is Isavasyamidam Sarvam: every content of the universe is throbbing with the Life of the Lord. Smile with the flowers and the green grass. Smile with the shrubs, ferns and twigs. Develop friendship with all neighbours, dogs, cats, cows, human beings, trees, in fact, with all nature’s creations. You will have a perfect and rich life.
Reflect Over Illuminating Thoughts
If you want to develop your thought power, if you want to build up your personality and become great, always keep with you some books of inspiring and illuminating thoughts. Read them over and over again, until they become part of your daily action and living.
Here is a list of some illuminating thoughts, for reflection:
- A clean conscience makes a stout heart and a strong mind.
- Poverty is the elder brother of laziness.
- Knowledge of the Self is the greatest treasure. Meditation is the key to knowledge.
Right Thoughts for Wrong Thoughts
Thoughts of passion and lust, should be conquered by an earnest practice of Brahmacharya, by intense aspiration to realize the Truth, to know God, by meditating on the great advantages of purity.
Thoughts of hatred and anger should be controlled by generating thoughts of love, forgiveness, mercy, friendliness, peace, patience and non-violence.
Pride and thoughts connected with pride must be controlled by a systematic mental examination of the value of cultivating humility.
Thoughts of greed, grabbing and possessiveness should be dispelled by pursuit of honesty, disinterestedness, generosity, contentment and non-covetousness.
Nobility and magnanimity, complacency and greatness of heart, will help you get over all thoughts of narrowness, jealousy, meanness.
Delusion and infatuation are best conquered by the development of discrimination. Vanity is overcome by a many-sided simplicity, arrogance by politeness.
The Gamut of Thoughts
There are various kinds of thoughts. There are instinctive thoughts. There are visual thoughts. There are auditory thoughts (thinking in terms of hearing). There are symbolic thoughts (thinking in terms of symbols). Some thoughts are habitual.
There are kinesthetic thoughts (thinking in terms of movement, as in playing a game). There are emotional thoughts. Thoughts change from the visual stage to auditory stage and from auditory to kinesthetic.
There is intimate connection between thinking and respiration as there is close relation between mind and Prana. When the mind is concentrated, breathing becomes slow. If one thinks fast the respiration also becomes fast. There is a thought-reading machine known as psychograph which registers correctly the type of thoughts.
Mean Thoughts and Moral Development
Uncontrolled thoughts are the roots of all evils. Each thought by itself is extremely weak, because the mind is generally distracted by countless and ever-varying thoughts.
The more the thoughts are restrained, the more is the mind concentrated, and consequently the more does it gain in strength and power.
It demands patient work to destroy mean and base thoughts; but the entertainment of sublime thoughts is the easiest and rapid method of destroying base thoughts. Ignorant of the laws of thoughts, the worldly-minded individual falls a prey to all sorts of thoughts—thoughts of hatred, anger, revenge, lust—and grows weak-willed, deficient in powers of discernment, and slave of the adverse subtle workings of the mind.
The best method of gaining mental power is by entertaining sublime, noble and good thoughts and through their aid controlling the dissipative, distractive, diversifying, worldly and base thoughts.
When all evil thought harasses the mind, the best method of conquering it is by ignoring it. How can we ignore an evil thought? By forgetting it. How can we forget? By not indulging in it again, and also by not brooding over it.
How can we prevent the mind from indulging in it again or brooding over it? By thinking of something very interesting, something sublime and inspiring. Ignore, forget, think of something inspiring; these three constitute the great Sadhana for establishing mastery over evil thoughts.