Concentration and the way to control the mind

B.K. Mohan Singhal

It is said that the quality of our life is determined by our mind. It is also said that it is difficult to focus or control the mind. The scriptures tell us that capitulation to the mind brings defeat and mastery over the mind brings victory. One who conquers the mind can conquer the world, they say.

The mind has been made out to be such a strong force that people believe it is very difficult to control it. But thinking like this is not the way to master the mind. We cannot just say that the mind is mercurial and leave it to its own devices.

The first step to controlling the mind is to understand that I, the soul, am the master and the mind is my servant and it has to function according to my directions.

To control the mind, we need to pay attention to the quantity, quality and direction of our thoughts.

Scientific research has found that a person has, on average, one thought every two seconds, or 30-35 thoughts in a minute. This speed increases considerably when we are under stress, whether it is because of a tough situation, a difficult relationship, or our own desires.

The mind then repeatedly thinks of whatever is causing the stress. The high volume of thoughts has an effect on the body, increasing our heart rate and blood pressure. Over time, this can result in serious ailments.

When the quantity of thoughts shoots up, we need to raise the quality of our thinking to calm the mind. For that we first need to imbibe quality information and knowledge that is uplifting, especially spiritual knowledge, which helps me to know myself and my relationship with God.

That knowledge provides the raw material for creating positive, elevated thoughts, and when the quality of our thinking improves, the number of thoughts arising in the mind begins to drop. The higher the quality of my thinking, the fewer thoughts I will have.

The third factor is the direction of our thoughts. Our mind is attracted by what we are attached to, be it our family, work, or possessions. The more the mind is scattered among these, the weaker our thoughts become, as our mental energy is diverted to many different channels.

The moment we find our mind going off in a new direction, we need to stop that thought and focus again on one thing. When the mind is stable in one thought, all our mental energy goes into that thought, making it powerful, and the power of that thought sets in motion the process of creating a new reality for us.