The Sunlit Path|Jun 14, 2009 2:07 PM| by:

Concentration and the Control of Thoughts

Concentration is a very important part of many spiritual disciplines. One of the elements of concentration is control and mastery over one’s thoughts. However all those who have tried it, find that not only is it very difficult, but all types of thoughts start coming in, even those which were not there earlier. The more one tries, the more one seems to be harassed by unwanted thoughts.

The following question was asked to the Mother:

Question: When one wants to concentrate why do all kinds of thoughts come which never came before?

Here the Mother speaks about the inner contradictions and explains why this happens and why it is so difficult to control one’s thoughts:

Perhaps they came and you did not know it! Perhaps it is because you want to concentrate that you become aware that they are there. It may also happen that there is an element of contradiction in the consciousness and that when you want to be silent, something says, “No, I won’t be silent!”

The Inner Contradictions

I think that many of you have an inner contradiction like this. When you have resolved to be good, there is something which would like to push you into being wicked, and when you want to be quiet, there is something which pushes you into being agitated, and when you want to be silent, immediately thoughts begin to wander. It is a contradiction inherent in man’s nature. It may be this; it may be what I said: that all these thoughts are there but as you were not paying any attention to them, you were not aware of them.

It is quite certain that to create absolute silence is of all things the most difficult, for many things of which one was not aware, become enormous! There were all kinds of suggestions, movements, thoughts, formations which went on as though automatically in the outer consciousness, almost outside the consciousness, on the frontiers of consciousness; and as soon as one wants to be absolutely silent, one becomes aware of all these things which go on moving, moving, moving and make a lot of noise and prevent you from being silent.

How to Create the Silence

That is why it is better to remain very quiet, very calm and at the same time very attentive to something which is above you and to which you aspire, and if there is this kind of noise passing around you, not to pay attention, not to look, not to heed it. If there are thoughts which go round and round and round, which come and go, do not look, do not pay attention, but concentrate upwards in a great aspiration which one may even formulate—because often it helps the concentration—towards the light, the peace, the quietude, towards a kind of inner impassiveness, so that the concentration may be strong enough for you not to attend to all that continues to whirl about all around.

But if suddenly you say, “Ah, there’s some noise! Oh, here is a thought!”, then it is finished. You will never succeed in being quiet. Have you never seen those people who try to stop a quarrel by shouting still louder than the ones who are quarrelling? Well, it is something like that.

The Mother