Through repeated attempts, Megha Bajaj learns how to quieten the mind and discover the silence that we truly are
I was attending a satsang by my guru, when a young seeker got up and asked him, “Every time I sit down to meditate, I feel my mind is flooded by hundreds of thoughts. How do I silence my mind?” My guru smiled and said, “The hundreds of thoughts were already there. It is just that now that you are sitting in meditation, you are aware that these thoughts are there. Meditation does not bring thoughts; rather, it quietens you and makes you aware of your inner noise.”
Inner noise. We all know of it. It is very pronounced when we are high on emotions. So, for example, if you are very angry, you can clearly hear all the screaming of your mind: “How dare he?” “Why is she treating me like this?” “This is absolutely unfair!” Or, conversely, if you are ecstatic about something the thoughts may be along these lines: “What a day, I just know everything will go my way!” “So is this love? It makes me so excited!” “What a view!” However, even when we are not emotional, the thoughts just keep running; sometimes, about a task at hand, othertimes, about inane things. The truth is, the mind is never quiet.
If this isn’t enough, what we experience is just 1/8th of
our mind—the conscious mind. Within the layers, there exists the other 7/8th—the subconscious mind, which is constantly abuzz with thoughts, emotions unexpressed, and desires entertained but not completed. All in all, our internal system is churning, burning, and yearning in ways which we can probably never comprehend.
If sleeplessness, tiredness, aches, and pains are a normal part of your day, you may start looking for the cause in the body. However, it is usually the mind where the root lies. It is likely that the mind is overworking and consuming so much energy that the vital organs are deprived of what they need. Not just the body symptoms but even mind issues like anger, extreme emotions, and imbalanced perceptions are all caused by a mind that is not at rest.
The answer, then, is simple enough, right? Rest the mind!
And yet, as easy as it sounds, tough it is. If only the mind was a switch that you could flick on or off, how simple would everything be! But that is not how it works.
Taming of the mind, I have realised is a practice. Just the way we would go to a gymnasium to work on our bodies, the mind too must be trained. Peace— something that sounds so esoteric is actually a result of mastery over the mind. I love the simple way in which my guru explains it: “The more your mind is with your body, the more in the moment you are. The more in the moment you are, the more peace you experience over a period of time.”
Year after year, I have been training my mind. Tools like chanting the same mantra, focusing on my breathing, losing myself to a music piece, and Sufi whirling—I have tried them all. Even after doing so much, the mind had a mind of its own. And yet, as time passed by, I have noticed an incredible slowdown of my mind.
I notice long periods with no thoughts. The agitation and chaos within is void. The focus is increasingly on the present moment, and unless I will it, the mind is not travelling to the past or future. With these little shifts, the overall quality of my life has improved significantly.
Silence is not a luxury. It is our nature. Let’s gift ourselves with it this New Year. It’s probably the best thing we will ever do! What say?
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