To investigate how much control you really have over your choice of the thoughts you think try the following mind experiment. Focus your mind on a particular thought. You could choose to think of an image, a sound, a smell, a taste or even a sensation. It doesn’t matter the kind of thought you choose to think, just try focussing on that single thought for no more than a period of 3 minutes. It might seem like very simple exercise to perform but for most people thinking one thought for more than even one minute is simply not possible.
Don’t take my word for it. Before you continue reading this article, you try it! Sit comfortably in a chair with feet on the ground, back straight and eyes closed. Before you close your eyes take a peek at the clock. Now focus your attention on the air entering and leaving your nose. Focus your mind on the feel of the air entering and leaving the nose and say the word “in” when the air is entering and “out” as it leaves your nose. Whenever you find that your mind has strayed from the task open your eyes and see for yourself how long it took for you to lose control of your attention to your thought.
This is precisely what the wise men of old noticed and they believed that if they could not control their thoughts then the mind was free to reek havoc in their lives. They understood that the thoughts we persistently dwell upon affect how we feel which in turn creates the life we experience. Our feelings attract the people and the experiences in our lives and for this reason they felt it essential to find a way to get the mind to dwell upon thoughts that would create the life they wanted so that they were no longer victims of random thought forms chosen for them by their subconscious. This led to a practice we now know as meditation.
Meditation is a practice that develops our ability to focus the mind on the thoughts that will create the life we want. It does this by training the mind to obey us. If you liken the mind to a monkey that noisily chatters and jumps from branch to branch then training the monkey to serve you is one of the objects of meditation.
With the monkey mind under our control we are then in a position to take the reins, as it were, and create the life we desire.
Rescue from Chaos
In this day and age we nurture chaos by feeding our minds with the kind of stimulation and distraction that is now readily available to all of us. We even pander to the monkey minds of our children in giving them free rein to wander where they will. Rather than teaching our children how to gain control of their minds we encourage them be become victims of their minds which ceaselessly require activity and stimulation. How many times do we hear children say they are bored when not provided with the external stimulation that their minds have grown used to? The mind is a bottomless pit that will eventually devour the people who have never learned to tame it. You need only look around at how dissatisfied people are with their lives to see the evidence of this all about us. The key to our freedom and happiness is in placing a ceiling on our desires, appreciating what we have and dwelling on the thoughts that create inner peace and happiness. Meditation is one a step in the right direction.