The mind is not a prison and no one should confine themselves within their own thoughts. The biggest drawbacks of intelligence is memory and thinking. Like a recorded video which plays without being requested, these thoughts have a disastrous affect on a person’s health. Most recurring thoughts are usually those associated with a bad past or about an uncertain future. It is hence very essential to keep the mind distracted from the thoughts it keeps thinking of. The idea is to focus the mind on the “present”.mind-meditate
Although there are various methods for the same, the most effective is meditation. Even in the realm of meditation, we must understand that the idea is to break away from recurring thoughts. Hence we must avoid getting addicted to mantras or chanting. People may argue that is better to be addicted to something good rather than being tortured by random pointless thoughts, but that is not the case.
Addiction and attachment
Since our very early years, addiction to something or the other has been the natural way of things. Over the years, the mind generates a sense of attachment which it refuses to let go. Interference of any kind towards these attachments causes a tsunami of emotions in the mind. It doesn’t like this at all. These things bother it causing it to ponder over why and how? Such a mind, attached to a way of life, which seeks comfort in its made up world, is an over-thinking mind.
The goal here is detachment and that can only be achieved by not attaching it to some new ritual even if that ritual is considered a positive one.
Mantras and Chanting
Mantras and chanting have their own unique power and purpose and in no way are they to be discredited. They are known to bring a calming effect on the mind almost immediately although it may vary from person to person. However, once we train our mind to believe that peace can only be obtained through a certain mantra or by a certain chant, we end up burdening it. Our belief in that external factor will increase and thereby will undermine our own internal strengths. This in turn gives rise to another attachment which at this stage is definitely not needed. Attachment to mantras and chants may also give rise to superstitions. A person may start attributing his successes and failures to the mantras and chants he/she does regularly.
Writing down the issues bothering the mind
Writing down the a bothering thought has been suggested as an easy way to unburden the mind although it doesn’t sound like an ideal long term solution. By writing down the thoughts which bothers us, we are buying nothing but a cushion space; a temporary solution, thereby giving the mind a green signal to continue what it had been doing for years. As long as the mind is not trained to relax, new thoughts and new issues will keep on arising.
What should we do?
In-order to obtain maximum peace, the mind needs to be trained to distract itself. Distraction doesn’t mean that we take the focus out from one issue and then refocus it on another one. Here, we will concentrate on the naturally occurring breathing for just 10 minutes everyday.
This method does 4 things:
Helps in relaxing the mind,
Takes away the focus from irrelevant subjects,
Makes the mind sharp and vigilant and
Connects the conscious and subconscious mind.
Sit in a quite and preferably dark room
Bring the entire focus of the mind to the entrance of the nostrils
Just observe the breathing process: acknowledge the inhaling and exhaling as it happens naturally
When the mind starts pondering over any thought (it will and its natural), don’t get disheartened. Do not get angry. Gently tell your mind that it got distracted and you will see that it has got back to observing the breathing process.
Every time your mind wanders away, gently bring it back. Don’t get frustrated and never lose hope.
Do not do an exercise of breathing i.e no counting or saying “in” and “out” while you inhale and exhale etc. Just observe the natural flow of air as it gets in and as it goes out.
This method is called ‘Anapana’, an ancient Indian technique which has been proved effective over thousands of years. This form of meditation trains the mind to focus on what’s happening now instead of what had happened in the past or what will happen in the future. Anapana is also the first step towards an advanced form of meditation called ‘Vipassana’.
The benefits of Anapana meditation is immeasurable and will certainly help any person who does is persistently.