I have been practising meditation for 15 days, but my mind wanders. How can I get rid of unwanted thoughts? — Ashish Sharma, 20 years, Delhi ■
■ When we sit in meditation, our mind stops us from experiencing stillness. It throws different thoughts at us at lightning speed and we get distracted by them. We try and fight them but to no avail. This hyper mental activity results from rajo guna. An essential component of dhyana is to completely exhaust rajo guna; if we don’t do that, rajo guna will continue to give momentum to our thoughts. The practice of asanas and pranayama before dhyana helps in easing rajo guna and makes us calmer. According to Maharishi Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga, one is able to concentrate better in dhyana after practising asana and pranayama.
Our mind is always active and some or the other thought is always flitting through our mind — it’s been like that since our previous lives. We have to understand the mind, figure out why it is so restless and then calm it down with jnana. If you look closely, you find that the mind is stuck either in memory or imagination.
When the mind gets stuck in the past, then our deeper memories surface, and when the mind is rife with imagination, then we worry about the future.
In either state, past or future, it loses sight of the present. Jnana Yoga helps us deal with such situations. Through Jnana Yoga, we focus on the bhava that whatever has happened cannot be undone. We have to tell ourselves that the past is dead too, so there is no point dwelling on it. If you feel compelled to explore the past, focus on what is important and drop everything irrelevant. Similarly, do not think excessively about your future, and when you do, stay rooted in the present. Being in the present moment helps us stay focussed in meditation.
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