There was a question from someone, he was quite agitated because he was unable to focus when he was doing his spiritual practice. Random thoughts were popping up in his mind, then his mind was following these thoughts. Soham, focus at the 3rd eye chakra and the awareness of the breath was all lost.
First, always remember, you are not the mind/ Manas. You are the Soul, Awareness, Consciousness, Eternal, Parabrahma, Advaita. The mind is simply one of the 24 tattvas of creation in the dominion of Prakruti. You and me are far far above the reach of Prakruti, but right now we are unaware of our own Reality. This entire exercise, spiritual practice, is to increase our awareness level to the subtlest possible. When you sit for meditation, Dhyan, also called Sushumna Yog, the Prakruti will test you. This test is the flightiness of the Mind/ Manas. This Manas will jump around like a monkey. And it will happen. You have to continue your Dhyan with these flights of the mind in the background.
Try to understand this so that you can resolve this and reach the Unmani avastha, ‘absence of mind’. Using simplistic examples so that it is quite clear,
The first way of looking at this,
Imagine you are sitting crosslegged on a mountain top and your 3yr old child is sitting in your lap. The top is a small area, say 5mX5m. Beyond this, all around you, is a sheer drop. You are sitting still, you want to enjoy the experience. And you are expecting that your child also remains still. If your child runs about, he will disturb your experience or even fall down the mountain. And your child is unwilling to sit still, he wriggles, tries to jump out from your lap. A couple of times he does manage to run out from your lap. But you are very alert, you grab him before he gets near the edge and make him sit still with you again. Your child wriggles but you hold him firmly. Ultimately he gets tired and stops moving. Then you show him the views from the mountain-top and then the child too enjoys the experience. Now onwards he is still.
This child is your mind. You are sitting for your Sadhana, your Dhyan, it is a very delicate balance, your position is precarious. You have to understand the seriousness of your practice and keep your mind in control. You are very alert about your child, if your own baby would fall down the mountain, it would be horrible. You are doing everything possible to avoid this disaster. You grab your child and keep it firmly in your lap again and again. So in the same way, you should, with the same terrible intensity, hold your mind in. Know that if you let your mind loose it can fall again to the depths and cause you pain. If it tries to run away, bring it back by force and make it sit still. There will always be attempts by the mind to run away. And it is possible that a few times it may totally fall down the mountain. But every experience is a learning. The mind will learn with time that falling down the mountain is painful. And you too will learn to keep your mind more firmly under control. Eventually there comes a point in Dhyan where your mind starts ‘enjoying the view’, ie starts supporting you in your practice. This is the annihilation of the mind, the Unmani avastha.
The secret is daily regular practice, you must give yourself these 30mins. As you get more deeply with yourself, these 30mins will expand to maybe 1hr and then perhaps to twice a day sessions. Then it will convert into a continuous process which will happen throughout the day/ night. This regular practice is called ‘Abhyas’ in Sanskrit. अभ्यास is – use, drill, addition, repetition, exercise, effort, multiplication, study, discipline etc. It is a very intensive thing that you do, when you sit for these 30mins daily. The toughest thing. But you start slowly and buildup, add-on, multiply, pyramiding the energies generated. It will take time, a few years, till you reach your destination, but you will reach, provided you do your exercise regularly.
Now another way of looking at it.
Suppose your brother has a bad habit, eg he smokes in the garage, You do not like this, you try to reason with him, try to make him understand that it is harmful but he does not listen. So one day you put in a camera in the garage and secretly record him smoking. Then play the clip in front of the family. Everyone, from your grand dad to your sister, stare at him in shock. He feels conscious that his bad habit was observed, ashamed even. He apologises and stops smoking.
So what you have to do is, simply observe the mind. It is beyond reasoning, it wants to behave irresponsibly. So let it smoke or do whatever it wants, you just keep on observing it, dispassionately. You are not your mind, you are the Soul. Let it behave like the fool it is. Dhyan is a very serious activity. While in meditation, is it proper to misbehave? Let the mind do whatever it wants, you just observe it. Soon it will become conscious, perhaps ‘ashamed’ and slowly but surely, it will stop its antics. The Mind becomes silent, serious and cooperates with you. This is again the unmani avastha, mind-less-ness.
Train yourself consciously to be an observer. You are the pivot around which creation dances. Bring your Self out of the whirling creation and remain at the unmoving center. Whatever happens around you, let it, you remain still.
There is yet another way of looking at this. This thought process will also destroy the mind’s movement completely.
Suppose you are in a party, there is dancing and you are the DJ. Your job is to play the music here and you are quite good at this. A pretty girl tries to attract you. She deliberately comes in front of you, dances seductively, looks at you, smiles suggestively. She does this again and again. You are attracted at first, you want to respond, go and dance with her, enjoy. But if you do so, the music will stop and you might lose your job. So wiser sense prevails. Your life’s objective flashes before your eyes, it is very clear, you are to focus on your job, you are the DJ. And you focus completely on the music you are playing. She tries a few more times, dancing even more beautifully. But you are so much into your music, your life purpose, that her presence is irrelevant. She vanishes.
When you do your Dhyan, focus on what you are supposed to do. Soham Mantra, awareness of breath and focus at the 3rd eye-chakra. This is your music, focus on this exclusively. Let the Mind/ Manas perform its dance of the seven veils around you. Why should you even bother about it? Let it jump around. This is just the background noise of Prakruti, the illusion of creation, ignore it. Focus on what you want. If you are clear on what you want, there is no fight, no struggle. Ignoring everything else but what you really want is actually very easy. Just that there should be clarity of the concept within you. In other words maintain your focus on your objective always. Everything else is essentially meaningless.
Initially it is possible that you ignore the seductive Mind for a just few seconds. This is simply great, one has to start somewhere! A few minutes, a few hours and finally you will be able to ignore the Illusion around you always. This is the annihilation of the Mind, unmani avastha.
Unmani avastha is absence of Mind. The Mind is the tattva which creates the illusion of creation, frantically working to hide the gaps (do read this post). The Mind is convinced that the world is real and tries to convince you too. As long as you remain convinced by the illusions your Mind weaves around you, you are trapped. Once the Mind is still, you realise that the world around you is Unreal. Once you understand that something is a mirage, you cannot believe that lie anymore.
(A Sat-guru will exist in this “Sahaj avastha’ or Jivan-Mukti or Sadyo-Mukti, self-realization always. The Sat-Guru is the Advaita, The Beyond. ‘Dhyan’ is considered a lower medium level ‘madhyama avastha’. The worship of moorthis/ yantra is even lower down. And the lowest form of spiritual practice is going for pilgrimages. “उत्तमा सहजावस्था मध्यमा ध्यानधारणा । अधमा मूर्तिपूजा च तीर्थयात्राSधमाSधमा ।” But we all have to start somewhere, so start with pilgrimages, do pujas of Moorti/ Yantra/ Mantra etc, later do Dhyan, evolve. You will reach Mukti eventually. In the highest Moksh, Sadhana, Dhyan, puja, mantra etc all vanish as these are parts of the creation. You cannot expect that you will get Moksh the first day or even the first year of your spiritual practice. It is a gradual process, just do it regularly.)
And finally, should you desire Moksh? If desire has to be uprooted, should one even desire Self-realization? This too was a burning doubt from someone. Apparently he was thinking that one should not desire anything, not even self-realization!
There is one only one Desire of the soul, to realise itself. This is the deepest innermost Desire of every jiv-atma. Every soul linked residing in this 5-layered body Desires just this only one thing. This singular Desire is the real Kaam काम. When sages talk about “uprooting desires” they refer to the superficial desires of the created worlds. Only when the material illusory desires are uprooted does the innermost Desire become evident. Kaam काम means wish, desire, Will, longing, radiance, glory, love, object of desire etc.
Another simplistic example.
Suppose you are a 3yr old playing with your toys. Your Dad is sitting in the same room doing some work. And you do have a lot of toys to play with, fluffy bears, trains, cars, cute stuff and you are quite occupied. You are not paying attention to your Dad. Your Dad does have an eye on you, but as long as you are playing with your toys, he is not bothered. Suddenly you feel bored with your toys. You feel that what you really want is to be picked up and cuddled. So you call out to your Dad. Your Dad is doing his work so rather than picking you up, he gives you some new shiny crayons. You again get distracted with the crayons, till you again realise that you really wanted to be cuddled. So you cry again. Again your Dad tries to distract you by pulling out another new toy. But you are not interested in toys anymore. You cry louder. Your Dad is really into his work and tries to ignore you for a bit. But now you have lost all patience and you want the cuddles now! You wail incessantly. Now Dad has no option but to pick you up and give you what you really want, cuddles.
This is the same thing in spiritual practice.
You are playing with the illusions of creation. The Eternal is observing you play. You are so engrossed with your material toys that you ignore the Advaita which exists at the root of your consciousness. Sometimes you do feel that you want to realise yourself, but another toy pops up and diverts your Will. Your this deepest Desire recedes to the background again and again. You amuse yourself with these illusory stuff till once day you get absolutely bored. The limit is crossed. Now you start your spiritual practice. You pray with all your heart that your deepest Desire, your essential Desire be granted. You ‘cry’ for the ‘cuddles’ of Self-realisation, you desperately long for Moksh. You are in unbearable turmoil, a fish out of water. You are desperate for complete self-realization. This Desire is so intense, you actually burn with its intensity. You have to Desire Moksh with all the intensity you can. Only then will the Advaita pick you up.
What does your Soul Desire? What is your Will? I wish to Love my own Self, I am my own object of Desire. Express this wish, again and again, intensely. You cannot be really satisfied till you get this Desire. Intend it, reach for it, Practice!