How To Gain Control of Your Own Thoughts


Quite often we find ourselves with many negative thoughts going through our mind. These trains of thoughts can become very powerful as we endlessly repeat them in our mind. The problem is that that the more we focus on the thoughts, the more powerful they become. Therefore, it can become very difficult to stop these endless cycles of thoughts.

However, it is definitely possible and these are a few tips to control our thoughts.

1. Make a conscious decision to Stop the thoughts

The problem is that sometimes we attach ourselves to certain ideas and problems, and we subconsciously get a kind of pleasure from going through a certain problem / issue. If we subconsciously keep inviting the thoughts, we will never be able to stop them. Therefore, the first stage is to make a clear and conscious decision to stop the repetition of the thoughts. Be aware of their negative impact and don’t allow them to come any more. This conscious step is an indispensable stage in controlling our thoughts.

2. Look upon the Thoughts as being Outside of yourself.

When we first try to stop the thoughts, it seems very difficult because they feel such a strong part of our mind. Therefore, the second stage is to feel that the thoughts are separate to our self. When a thought appears in your mind, look upon the thought as coming from outside yourself. This is a very powerful way to reduce the impact of thoughts on our mind. Once we realise our thoughts are separate to ourselves it becomes possible to stop them.

3. Who is it who listens to thoughts?

This is a technique to try and discover the origination of your thoughts. Whenever a thought appears, just ask yourself, who is it who is thinking this? What we do is to try and discover the source of thoughts. Through asking this question we realise that there is an “I” which can decide to accept or reject thoughts. By asking this question we will be able to stop the thoughts as soon as they enter. You are not a victim of your own thoughts, it is you who either rejects or gives life to thoughts.

4. Catch thoughts as soon as they appear.

This exercise requires a determined effort on our part. We need to be vigilant and watch every thought that enters our mind. As soon as we see a negative thought enter, we must immediately discard it and refuse to follow it. The more we follow thoughts, the more difficult it becomes to stop them later. Therefore, it is best to catch them as soon as possible.

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Improving your Meditation


1. Music for Meditation.

If music is soulful and peaceful it brings our soul to the fore. When we hear soulful meditative music our inner being begins to aspire for a deeper and more meaningful reality. This aspiration to reach a more fulfilling, expansive consciousness is the real secret of meditation. When we have a burning inner flame then our meditation technique becomes of little importance. When we are inwardly aspiring for peace, light and joy our soul meditates spontaneously on our behalf. Music can definitely awaken our slumbering inner spirit.

“Each time we hear soulful music, we get inspiration and delight. In the twinkling of an eye, music can elevate our consciousness.” (1)

– Sri Chinmoy

Music for meditation can give us real inspiration but we should make sure the music is composed and played in a meditative consciousness. If the music creates restlessness and excitement then this will not help in any way our meditation.

2. Meditate on Nature.

Nature embodies a dynamic peace. The beauty, expanse and scale of nature are very conducive to meditation. The Spiritual Master Sri Ramakrishna told his disciples to always meditate when they came across an expanse of water. Water signifies consciousness and purity; this consciousness and purity are the essence of meditation. If we can meditate at the ocean’s edge we will also feel a sense of infinity and expanse. It is hard for the human mind to conceive of concepts like infinity and immortality, but when we see the ocean stretching into the distance we can definitely be inspired by this concept of infinity.

3. Meditate with an adept of Meditation.

If we can have the opportunity to meditate with a real expert in meditation we will definitely feel something in their meditation. When we meditate in the presence of a real Spiritual Master we can benefit from the peace and light that they bring down. If we do not have the opportunity to meditate in the presence of a living spiritual master we can meditate on the photo of some Teacher, whom we have the utmost faith. If the photo was taken during meditation the picture will embody a meditative consciousness. If we can enter into this meditative consciousness it will bring our own inner meditative power to the fore. This consciousness is the secret of meditation.

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An Introduction to Meditation

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There are many different types of meditation, but ultimately they all share the common goal of quietening the mind and stopping our thoughts. When we meditate we must not allow either good or bad thoughts to enter the mind. No matter how illumining our thoughts are, meditation aims to give us a consciousness far beyond the domain of the intellect and our reasoning mind. By definition, words will always fail to describe the inner experience of meditation. Meditation can never be grasped by the finite intellectual mind; meditation deals with consciousness and a state of being. To understand meditation, we have to practise and experience it for ourselves.

“When we meditate we expand, spreading our wings like a bird, trying to enter consciously into Infinity, Eternity and Immortality, welcoming them into our aspiring consciousness. We see, feel and grow into the entire universe of Light-Delight.

Sri Chinmoy [1]

Why Meditate?

If you feel a sense of dissatisfaction with your ordinary life, and if you wish to enjoy a real and meaningful inner peace, then meditation is the answer. Anybody can meditate, the only requirement is our inner aspiration to concentrate and dive deep within. Nobody can meditate for you, nor can anybody take away the fruits of your meditation. Through meditation we can develop a lasting inner peace and happiness that does not depend on the outer world. Whatever other people do or say, we shall be able to retain a detachment and equanimity from the turmoil’s of life.

How to Meditate.

In the beginning we need to find a suitable quiet environment where we can be undisturbed. If possible, find a quiet corner of a room to dedicate to your meditation. If you decorate the area with flowers and candles, it will add to your inspiration and help to create a meditative vibration. If possible, it is advisable to have a shower and wear clean and light clothes. Also, we should not meditate after eating a heavy meal, because the body will be lethargic from digesting the food.

The first thing we have to do is to sit still, if we cannot keep our body still, we have no hope of keeping our thoughts still. To meditate we should keep a straight spine; we can either sit on the floor or if we prefer meditate in a chair. It is important to find a comfortable position which we can maintain. The next stages is to relax the body. We need to relieve our body of stress and tension. We can do this through practising a very simple breathing exercise. In this exercise, we need to just be conscious of our breathing; our breathing should also be gentle and relaxed. If someone placed a feather in front of our nose, the feather would barely move.

By simply focusing on our breathing we relax the body and also slow down the thought process of the mind.

Concentration and Meditation

The next stage to master is concentration. In meditation, concentration is different to an academic style of concentration. We are not just using the focus of the mind. What we are doing is becoming aware of only one object at a time. This is the real secret of meditation; if we can develop a one-pointed focus and not get distracted by random thoughts or ideas we will be able to make real progress in our meditation.

To develop concentration, you can try focusing on one object. For example, you can put your focus on the tip of a candle flame. The smaller the object the better.

When you have developed the ability to concentrate on only one thing at a time, you can enter the next stage which is silent meditation. With a sense of concentration we repeatedly let go of any thoughts which come into our mind. Eventually we are able to achieve an inner silence. This silence should not be confused with a blank negation. What actually happens is that when we have attained inner silence we feel the dawning of a new consciousness. Unconstrained by the critical and finite nature of the mind, we are able to identify with a boundless consciousness within our own inner self.

[1] Prayer and Meditation. Excerpt from Prayer-World, Mantra-World And Japa-World by Sri Chinmoy.

Meditation – Next Steps

Photo by Unmesh Swanson, Sri Chinmoy Centre galleries

The Benefits of using Mantra in Meditation

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Mantra is the repetition of certain sacred words or phrases. If the mantra is repeated many times we often call it japa. Mantra can be used in many ways, but, one of the most effective ways is to choose a certain word like AUM and repeat it 500 times. The repetition doesn’t have to be long, to repeat it 500 times would otherwise take along time. If we repeat it 500 times per day and then each day increase the number by 100, we will gain greater purity in our mind. Mantra also teaches us concentration and focuses our mind to think of only one thing at a time.

“What benefit do we get from repeating a mantra? The first benefit we get is purity. Purity is of utmost importance in our spiritual life. If there is no purity, there is no certainty in the spiritual life.”

– Sri Chinmoy [1]

A Mantra is not just like an ordinary word. Mantras are chosen because they embody a certain special divine significance. If the word is repeatedly soulfully we make this quality part of ourselves. For example, if we chant the mantra Shanti, we can bring great peace into our body. One of the most effective mantras is using the mantra AUM.  Aum is said to be the seed sound of the universe. Within AUM are all the different aspects of the Supreme. By repeating AUM we can get the benefit of these different aspects. However, if we wish to gain the benefit of divine power, we should chant AUM powerfully. If we wish to bring more peace into our system we can chant AUM, softly and soulfully.

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