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Taming the wayward mind!
The silent splendor, Ramana Maharishi!
How to tame the mind?
Until a pot is completely filled with water when immersed in a pond, it makes sounds since the air escapes while water enters. Unless one is completely filled with Wisdom, he will be talking (making noise). In a way, the realized souls maintain silence all through the day. They are aware that talks are futile? A realized soul is mostly absorbed in his own soul or self. One fine example is Ramana Maharishi of Tiruvannamalai, in South India. Many people visited him when he was alive. But they are satisfied to sit in his presence and look at him. This is a kind of silent meditation.
But, some newcomers who are fairly new to the place or the rules that prevail there, usually breaks the silence in the hall and they will ask many questions (doubts) about spirituality and other subjects of metaphysics. Sometimes, Ramana used to reply in one or two words. Otherwise he would keep quiet. After some time, the questioner too lapses into silence understanding that the mind creates the confusion and it is better to sit quiet just watching the pranks of the mind. To an earnest seeker, who is need of urgent guidance, Ramana used to explain peacefully, the nuances of spirituality and the way to quell the thought process?
Many among us may not be aware that the mind is only a conglomeration of thoughts. Bereft of thoughts, there is no mind at all. Hence most of the spiritual practices aim at annihilating the thoughts. The second best option is diversion. When the mind leads us astray by following the senses, we can always divert our attention to some good and noble thoughts. This is possible for all of us. Even when the mind thinks about some distressing events, then also we can divert its attention to some other thoughts. There is one more method for slowing down the thought process. First we must know that the mind is not us. Neither is it our mind. It is just a flow of thoughts, we witness through the conscious. If we develop indifference to the flow of thoughts and not concerned with it, it will cease to affect us. However, the emanation of thoughts cannot be prevented completely since thoughts arise due to food and environment. As long as we are aware of the outer world and our individual body, thoughts will continue. But without involving ourselves in the thought process, we can simply witness it like a mute witness. Just witness the thoughts and do nothing to follow it!
If we start practicing this witness state, in course of time, thoughts will slow down. Stand aloof from your mind and just witness its pranks. Do not unduly concern about the extreme ends it travel. Be in your place and watch. I will give two examples. Many a time, we watch the outer world through the windows in our home. We watch the scenes dispassionately. We just watch the scenes. Likewise we must train ourselves to look at the mind as though it is something external to us. Likewise, we must watch the thoughts as though it is alien to us. These methods are explained in the scriptures and philosophical texts. We have seen children are fed by mothers. The children will be running here and there and the mother will follow it to feed it each morsel of food. As long as the mother follows, the child will run here and there. Once the mother stops and retraces her steps, the child become panicky and start running after the mother. This is how we have to treat our mind. Do not run behind it. Stop and do not follow it. Automatically, it will follow you! This is how the mind has to be tamed!