“Mind is the essence of everything. Due to the mind’s purity, all becomes pure. Due to the mind’s clarity all becomes clear. Due to the mind’s well-being, all becomes well. The essence of everything is one’s own mind.” (Relative World, Ultimate Mind) The above lines are synonymous with Patanjali, the yoga sage who in his Yoga Sutras clearly states “ Yoga chitta vritti nirodha” which means the restraint of the mind.

In my personal yoga learning journey, I have become very interested in the concepts of dharana (mind fit for concentration) and dhyana (meditation). To me thoughts are things, thoughts are forces and thoughts are the building blocks of life. In dharana, I learned that concentrating the mind upon either an external object or an internal idea, it excludes other thoughts but in dhyana, we bring the mind to a certain state that object on which the mind is meditating on and the meditator lose their limited boundaries and merge to become one. With meditation practice I want to be able to quieten and control my mind, or chitta. Due to the ahamkara the mind thinks it’s a real entity and the manas adds to this illusion. The mind exists only by generating thoughts, therefore meditation is a threat to its survival. One has to create a non-hostile environment for the mind where we do not get angry or impatient but rather treat it lovingly and taming it through meditation. Between two thoughts there is nothing-silence and all we need to do it to increase this space. As the ahamkara drops away, the fear of survival also drops away and the manas becomes quiet. Slowly, slowly and slowly the thoughts reduce and slow down, then eventually you will have just the thought of your object of meditation and eventually even that will drop away. From being a player joining the thoughts, we have to move towards being the playmaker and eventually the observer of our thoughts.

The techniques I have applied are as follows: 1)Tratak which is the gently gazing on a particular object. Where the eyes go, the mind will follow. Sitting comfortably with my spine erect and shoulders relaxed, I place my object which is my ceramic shaped “ Om “ at eye level a little distance away. I gaze at the middle of the object without blinking and if they water, I close my eyes and visualise the image of the object in my mind’s eye. If the image of the my “Om” disappears, I open my eyes and continue to gaze at it again. After repeatedly doing this technique, I have developed greater control of my mind such that I no longer need a physical object to gaze at as I can visualise it. This is called the technique of fixed attention to look and continue to look and when the attention wanders gently guide yourself back to looking. I have found to be so rewarding and it has opened up a another level of understanding of my untamed mind. 2) I have also applied Mantra Japa which is the repetition of the Shanti Mantra-Om Asatho Ma Sat Gamaya as well as the Gayatri Mantra. The word Om is the universal sound vibration of the universe and that vibrates in every cell of our body. When repeating my mantra each time, I visualise energy travelling all over my body. Sri Swami Satchidananda so righly said as he described what Shanti is. He says, “Shanti is the nature of God. I see God as Shanti.  He has no form ;no name and he is all peaceful. He is all serentity and when you are at peace, you are in God, You are with God.” Truly speaking, in my moments of anxiety over the weeks, I have practiced this Mantra Japa and it has always flooded my entire system with Peace, Peace and Peace.