The mind has such an effect on us that all our actions are guided by our mind. We arrange for many worldly possessions to please our mind. But worldly possessions alone do not give us the real peace. The more we possess the more our mind demands. Whole our life passes in pursuit of happiness through possessions but the real happiness continues to evade us.
One who has no control over his mind cannot have peace of mind. We cannot expect happiness unless we have peace of mind. We may turn obstinate and irrational as victims of passions, emotion and tension. On the other hand one can succeed even in adverse circumstances through control of mind.
The worldly possessions alone cannot give us the happiness we are trying to seek. The happiness comes through control of mind. But controlling the mind appears difficult . However, difficult though, it is possible to control the mind to a great extent with strong will, by knowing nature of mind and following certain techniques to control the mind.. We cannot control our mind without renouncing pleasure. It however dose not mean that we renounce joy (bliss). Total control is possible only through pursuit of spiritual life. In order to control our mind we need to understand its basic nature.
Mind is a finer body within the gross body. It is distinct from organ of the body. Behind mind is Atma.The matter is convertible into mind. Mind, even though has no form is part of the body. One affects the other. Mind in its basic form is pure and transparent like pure water, it is a reflection of our inner Spirit, `Atman`. We fail to feel the true nature of our mind because of impurities around it. These impurities are `The three Gunas` i.e.Tamas, Rajas and Sattava. The constitution of individual mind is determined by various combinations and permutation of these Gunas Once these impurities of minds are removed control of mind becomes easier.
Some of the difficulties which come in our way of control of our mind are :-
Strong likes and dislikes
Unbalanced life e.g. Eat,drink, talk, work or sleep too little or too much.
Feeling of guilt ie. lack of faith in one self
In order to build up favorable inner climate we need to understand certain inevitable in life like old age, disease, death, separation and loss of worldly possessions.
The impurities of mind can be gradually removed by changing its constitution. First the Sattava must predominate over the other two Gunas. Finally, it is true, Sattava has to be transcended; but first it has to predominate. In order to purify our mind we need to know the causes of impurities of our mind. The list is long, starting from Pralabhd to our present day environment. Since we have no control on our past except for praying forgiveness, we need to pay attention to our food and environment in which we live. (Here food means all intakes through our sense organs), affecting our mind. Food should be light (Alap Ahar-Guru Gobind Singh) and the type which does not lead our mind to Tamas Guna, ie. inertia. The company we keep has great affect on our mind. So has the environment which includes place, time, and cleanliness (swaschhatha).
Having attended to the food we need to pay attention to its restlessness. In Raj Yoga Swami Vivekananda describes the restlessness of mind:
`How hard it is to control the mind! Well it has been compared to the maddened monkey? There was a monkey, restless by his own nature, as all monkeys are. As if that were not enough some one made him drink freely of wine, so that he became still more restless. Then a scorpion stung him. To complete his misery a demon entered into him. What language can describe the uncontrollable restlessness of that monkey? Human mind is like that monkey, incessantly active by its own nature; then it becomes drunk with wine of desire, thus increasing its turbulence. After desire takes possession comes sting of scorpion of jealousy of the success of others, and the last of demon of pride enters the mind, making it think itself of all importance. How hard to control such a mind? `
Having purified our mind we make an effort to deal with its restlessness nature The mind is initially in scattered form. The next stage is darkening then gathering followed by concentration and finally one pointed. While Gathering and concentration stages can be achieved through practice (Abhyas) and dispassion (Vairagya), one pointed concentration is not possible without spiritual pursuit ie., meditation.
Last aspect about the mind is its nature to be under the mistaken impression (Bharam) that we are different from all pervading limitless Him (whatever name we give) ie. false identification of one's real Self with the non-self , giving rise to the idea of `me and mine` Effective practice of positive thought can overcome this Bharam. This aspect is basically spiritual and can be pursued through spiritual exercise.