The mind is restless, turbulent, powerful and stubborn. But the mind can be controlled with practice and calmness. Through the control of mind, one can attain illumination. Such a person succeeds, even in adverse circumstances. The person may still face the trails and tribulations of life. But he never lacks the courage and strength to face them. When a person controls his mind, his higher nature asserts itself and his hidden powers are released. Persons without self control will not even retain the prosperity they have. In some situations, we do things knowing fully well that it is not the right thing to do. And there are situations in which we act suddenly without knowing what is right or wrong. Wrong action results in mental turmoil.
What are the difficulties faced while trying to control the mind? Strong likes or dislikes, attachments or aversions, living an immoral life, harming others, taking intoxicants, inquisitiveness about others, finding fault with others, being egocentric, jealous of others prosperity, are the subjects which make controlling the mind difficult. The human mind is like a drunken monkey stung by a scorpion.
Attachments to worldly objects are the most powerful impediments in the task of controlling the mind. When attachments are removed, dislikes and mistaken beliefs also leave us easily. The mind is restless due to the impurities of the mind. Impulses and emotions such as envy, hatred, anger, fear, jealousy, lust, greed, and temptation are the impurities of the mind. When impurities are removed, the mind will be sharp to observe even the faintest of the vibrations.
The mind follows the wandering senses as the wind carries a boat off its course on the waters. Meditation helps to calm down the mind and to control mind. The mind has to be gradually and systematically brought under control.
Mind development can be achieved through meditation. Many scientists are now propagating what our ancient Rishis and Saints practiced and have been saying for thousands of years that meditation and repetition of mantra can help to calm the mind. In the recent study on hypersensitive people by the researchers of Harvard university found that the transcendental meditation can actually reduce stress and help to avoid heart disease.
Swami Vivekanada said before we control the mind, we must study it. We have to seize this unstable mind and drag it from its wanderings and fix it on one idea. Over and over again, this must be done. In the beginning, during the process of controlling the mind, many revolting thoughts will come to our mind. As the practice continues, the turbulence of mind may increase for some time. Gradually the mind’s eccentricities will lose their strength. The link between the sense organs and sense objects is the mind. When the mind is withdrawn from sense objects, the sense organs also withdraw from their objects.
Meditation helps to control the mind. Through the body, we experience the world of objects, through the mind we experience the world of emotions and through the intellect, we experience the world of thoughts.
Controlling thoughts is one steps towards controlling mind. Methodical control of thoughts is a great secret in controlling the mind. In the initial stage, thought control is to entertain good thoughts. In its highest stage thought control means complete cessation of thought. To control thoughts, keep the company of good people with noble thoughts and avoid evil company. Evil company brings the dislikes out to the surface.
To control the mind, two sets of inner disciplines are necessary. When one notices that a big wave of anger is just rising in the mind, one should raise a contrary wave, a wave of love quickly. After the anger has set in, this method will not work. But impress the fact on your mind that anger is self-destructive.
Food habits also play an important role in controlling mind. Train the mind to be simple, intelligent, sensitive and enthusiastic. It is a mind which has value for truthfulness and straightforwardness, rather than deceit and falsehood.