Various methods to control the mind
by Swami Sivananda
1. Τhe mind can be controlled by Abhyasa and Vairagya.
Abhyasa is constant effort to fix the mind on God or Atman.
Vairagya is dispassion or non-attachment to sensual objects.
2. Enquire “Who am I?” Do Vichara.
3. Do mental Japa of Om and meditate on Atman. All thoughts will die by themselves. You will rest in Sat-Chit-Ananda Atman.
Japa of any Mantra and Upasana (worship of God) destroy the impurities of the mind, makes the mind inwards, induce Vairagya, help concentration and eventually lead to control of mind and attainment of God-consciousness.
“In this Kali Yuga the easiest way for controlling the mind and attaining Moksha is Kirtan or singing the Name of the Lord.”
4. Sit alone and watch the thought-waves (Vrittis) of the mind. Be indifferent. Remain as a witness (Sakshi ).
Don’t identify yourself with the thought-waves. The mind will then be under your control.
Don’t wrestle or struggle with the mind.
Be regular in your concentration and meditation.
5. Destroy the fuel of desire(1), and the fire of thought will be extinguished. With the annihilation of Sankalpa, the reality of Brahman will shine.
Destroy the vicious desires(2) through virtuous desires and destroy the virtuous desires also through one strong desire for liberation.
Don’t try to fulfil your desires (3).
Do a thing which the mind does not want to do. Don’t do a thing which the mind wants to do.
6. Cultivate divine qualities such as friendliness, mercy, gladness and indifference towards happiness, pain, virtue and vice. You will get peace of mind. Destroy evil habits by establishing new good habits. Control the lower instinctive mind through the higher Sattvic mind.
7. Live in the solid present. Don’t think of the past. Don’t plan for the future. Don’t allow the mind to build images. Don’t hope. Don’t expect anything.
8. Practice of Pranayama destroys Rajas and Tamas, makes the mind steady and one-pointed.
9. Study of religious books, Tapas, charity and Satsanga with Mahatmas, Sadhus and Sannyasins overhaul worldly vicious Samskaras (latent impressions) and pave a long way in the control of mind.
10. Food has influence over the mind. Sattvic food (milk, fruits, etc.) calms the mind. Rajasic food (meat, alcohol, etc.) excites the mind. Take Sattvic food; have Mitahara (moderation in diet).
11. Constant selfless service with Atma-Bhava is highly efficacious in purifying and controlling the mind.