Ways to calm the mind
On suffering from any sort of ailment, apart from taking medication to cure it, one should also try to relax the mind. In recent times, it has been found that a restless mind is the cause of quite a lot of diseases. Restlessness of mind is the root-cause of many ailments (psychosomatic disorders), like nocturnal-emissions, leucorrhoea, irregular menses, uncontrolled blood-pressure, diabetes, asthma, peptic ulcers, indigestion, hyperacidity, diarrhoea, depression, epilepsy, hysteria (madness) and amnesia.
With the increase in Sankalpa (will-thought) and Vikapla (doubt), the mind gets restless, because of which, the rhythm of the Pranas gets disturbed and it becomes arrhythmic. This, verily, is the major cause of our failure in numerous tasks.
The Self-realized, Jivanmukta saints of our country have expounded various measures to calm the mind, of which, the major, the select ones are as under:
(1) Appropriate Food: In order to control and calm the mind, first things first, it is extremely necessary to have control over the diet. Our mentality depends upon food for its formation. Hence, it is essential to take a pure, sattvic diet. Excessive food intake leads to indigestion, which in turn causes the undigested food ‘Aama’ to enter our nadis and thereby increases Sankalpas and vikalpas of the mind. This consequently, increases the restlessness of mind. Hence, eat moderately and eat at the proper time. As far as possible, eat moderately in the evening. One should always avoid heavy, fried food and foods which increase vata. A sadhaka ought to relieve constipation; and thus, keep the digestive system clean and healthy all the time.
(2) Spiritual practice, vairagya (dispassion) and continence: Lord Shri Krishna said in The Gita:
अभ्यासेन तु कौन्तेय वैराग्येण च गृह्यते ।।
O son of Kunti, the mind is brought under control through practice and detachment.
In order to develop intense vairagya one should avoid unnecessary sense indulgence and must refrain from unnecessary watching and hearing. One shouldn’t pay attention to useless things published in newspapers, on the T.V., radio or other unimportant stuff. One must strictly observe Brahmacharya (celibacy) as much as possible.
(3) Asana & Pranayama: The mind is the master of the senses, and the Prana is the master of the mind. The subtler the Prana, the calmer the mind. Practice Asana & Pranayama regularly in order to make the Prana subtler. Regular practice of asanas like: Padmasana (Lotus Posture), Siddhasana (Accomplished Pose), Pada-Pashchimottanasana (Forward Bend Pose), Sarvangasana (Shoulder-stand pose), Mayurasana (Peacock Pose), Tadasana, Vajrasana and other asanas, are helpful & beneficial for health and concentration. Make sure to take any food or drink only after 25-30 minutes of the practice of Asanas & Pranayamas. Practice Asanas & Pranayamas only on an empty stomach or allow at least 3 to 4 hours to elapse before starting the practice. One should practice Pranayamas only under the guidance of a great experienced Yogi.
(Read the book Yogasana available at ashrams and centers of samiti to get more information regarding various asanas with pictures. – Compiler)
(4) Breath-counting: Count your incoming and outgoing breaths while seated in Sukhasana, Padmasana or Siddhasana. For this, you don’t have to inhale deeply, nor do you need to hold the breath. All one needs to do is – count the breaths. Breaths should be counted as under:
Mentally chant ‘Rama…’ while inhaling, and count ‘1’ while exhaling… Then mentally chant ‘Ananda’ (i.e. Bliss) while inhaling…, and count ‘2’ while exhaling…; then mentally chant ‘Shanti’ (i.e. peace) while inhaling, and count ‘3’ while exhaling. The more you count your breaths with a calm and vigilant mind without any movement, the more you will obtain the benefit of concentration, peace, happiness, cheerfulness and health.
(5) Trataka: The next measure for mind control is – Trataka. Increase the practice of looking, with a fixed gaze at the image of your Ishtadeva (i.e. presiding deity), Swastika, Omkar or SatGuru. Then close your eyes, take the awareness to the eyebrow centre or throat centre and visualise the same image there.
(6) Japa-Anushthana: Do japa of the Mantra more and more. Perform 1-2 japa-anushthanas (i.e. japa of a mantra for a fixed number on a daily basis with a fixed purpose and a fixed duration) every year and make sure to stay in a holy ashram or a holy place for a few days (at least).
(7) Apologizing and then calming down: Peace of mind is the fruit of merits accrued over numerous births. Hence, before the picture of SatGuru or any deity or even mentally asking for apology as atonement for sins committed knowingly or unknowingly, and then becoming quiet, is also one of the remedial measures.
(8) Self-contemplation: Keep effacing dehadhyasa (i.e. false identification with the body) by regular self-contemplation. Like, ‘I am Atman myself, I am healthy… and I don’t suffer from any ailment. It’s the body that is sick. Passions such as lust, desire and anger are in the mind. But I am neither body, nor mind; and am a changeless Soul instead. Hari Aum… Ananda (Bliss)… Ananda…’
(9) Cheerfulness: Practice being cheerful every day. In a closed room, practice laughing-out loud (Divine-humane laughter therapy) and even blowing a whistle.
The one, firmly sticking to the aforementioned eight points, certainly gains complete control over the mind. So, you too, wake up in your eternal Self making your mind, happy, joyful, non-attached and one-pointed.