By Dr. Krishna Bhatta
Meditation is a journey from thoughts to no-thoughts. There are no thoughts, no waves and no mind-noises. There is just pure existence. Yet, when realized people have to communicate, they also have to use the same mind and thoughts that we do. But, they use mind & thoughts as and when they need to, rather than be bombarded by thoughts even when they do not want them.
Buddha said, “You are what you think.” This has been quoted ever since he said these words all around the world. However, this is an incomplete statement. There is a second part of this statement that Buddha worked all his life to give to us. The complete statement should be like this, “You are what you think, but you are not your thoughts.” There is a distinction between thoughts and you.
One of the most difficult aspects of any meditation technique is managing thoughts. Thoughts keep coming. That is the reason these exercises were developed for thought management. Once you get to know how to do thought management, it becomes easier to go into any meditative technique.
Exercise 1 – Knowing the Mind
This is to know what kind of traffic goes through your mind. This exercise is very individual. Honesty is the best policy here. Just watch what kind of thoughts your mind allows. You may be a gateway for negative thoughts. You may be a positive person. No explanation or judgment is needed. A pure screening of who you are is the purpose.
Awareness of thoughts is important. Thoughts often flow like waves, uninterrupted and abundant. Eyes closed and in meditative pose, watch the thoughts travel through your mind.
Attempt this exercise for at least half an hour each day in the first week that you practice it. You have to make sure that you do not get attached to any thought. Also, don’t stop or interrupt any thought. Let them run through your mind. The mind has a tendency to get attached to some kind of thought – good or bad, try to remain neutral through this exercise. If you find yourself getting attached to any one thought, start afresh. The mind may get bored and you’ll be tempted to abandon the exercise, but stay with it. Set the time as half an hour and persist with getting to know your mind.
Exercise 2 -Dropping All Thoughts
The next step is Mind Control. This technique is going to be a hallmark of all future techniques. So, it needs to be practiced as much as possible in your life. The idea is to drop any and all thoughts that come through. You don’t have to be discriminating in this – any and all thoughts should be dropped.
Some thoughts may reappear repeatedly. You need to drop them as many times as they appear. Just the fact that you can drop any thought at will gets you one step closer to controlling your mind. Indiscriminate dropping of thoughts is vital. This exercise is also meant as a half hour to one hour session at the most.
Exercise 3 – Processing of Thoughts
The third step of this meditation technique is probably the most advanced – it takes perseverance and persistence. This exercise is going to give us the tool to identify and deal with one thought at a time. This exercise is not about prioritization. It is not giving advice about which thoughts to choose. It is about choice.
Step 1: Pick Up a Thought
Thoughts are traversing as usual in your mind. The idea is to pick up a random thought and then stay with it for five to ten minutes. The important part is the randomness of choice. You just pick up any thought that comes to mind. Then start dropping all other thoughts. Just play with the one thought you have chosen.
Step 2: Non-Attachment
It is important to understand the fact that you are just picking up the thought randomly and providing energy to the thought for processing purposes. You are not allowing the thought to get attached to you. You will go through all the “ifs” and “buts,” but you are going to maintain a distance between the “you” (self ) and the thoughts.
Also important is the fact that no thought is processed for more than 10 minutes. If you are keeping a thought for over 10 minutes, it may mean that you are getting close to getting attached to that thought.
Step 3: Process the Thought with Positive Energy
This exercise is about processing any thought. You need to be able to process all kinds of thoughts, good or bad, right or wrong. Once you are able to thought is not allowed to attach to you.
Positive energy is what you need to use in processing these thoughts in these exercises. Since these exercises are meditative exercises, there may be inadvertent materialization of your thought processes. Therefore it is important that you do not provide negative energy to any thoughts during these exercises
Step 4: Dropping of the Thought
At the end of this period the processed thought has to be dropped. The drop should be complete. It is as if the processing never happened. If it tries to come back, it has to be dropped again and again. This thought is not picked up again during this half-hour block and preferably never again in future exercises.
Positive energy helps you become a complete person. You have found your happy point. There still may be a problem with your spouse. You may not be talking to your son. But, it is okay. Once the negativity is out, you will be fulfilled as you are. Fulfillment on the outside just follows. Life outside is a reflection of the state of existence inside. Once everything is at peace inside, you become peaceful outside. Thought management is not really enough to bring about these changes.
You are now dipping into what Aurobindo has called the “Super-mind.” You are one with this Super-mind. Now you are able to process the thoughts at a different levels. Meditation works much better. Meditation also helps generate energy which then can be conserved in the form of a positive energy state. Positive thinking then comes naturally to you.