There are so many questions which people normally have in Spiritual Life. Most popular one's are "How to stop thinking", "How to achieve No-Mind state"
Let me tell you one thing - Thinking cannot be stopped. When I say this do not think it doesn't stop but all I mean is it cannot be stopped and if it stops then it stops of its own accord. First this is to be understood else you go insane by chasing your mind, running behind your mind. The state of "No-Mind" cannot be attained by stopping to think but when the thinking is no more, "No-Mind" IS. Your every effort to stop will create a resistance, a conflict with yourself and you will be in constant dilemma within. So be sure this is not going to help you. Some might have done the same forcibly for just few moments, few seconds but that’s not real "No-Mind" at all because those moments were the consequence of your own efforts to still the mind. This can be called as Stillness but not Silence which happens naturally. No one can force silence, it’s impossible, it’s a natural phenomenon but when you force stillness it’s not silence at all. In those forced state, deep down in the unconscious layer, the repressed mind goes on working so absolutely there is no way to stop the mind but it doesn't mean that mind cannot stop at all, its stops but of its own accord.
So, what to do now? What is the Technique? Answer is simple. Just watch, do not try to stop, there is no need to do any action against the mind. In the first place, who will do it? Mind fighting against the mind itself. This is a civil war with your own mind. This will be simply absurd. It can drive you crazy. Neither tries to stop the mind or think anything, just watch it, allow it completely to its freedom. Let it go as it wants, let it have its own freedom; let it go as fast as it wants. You just do not control it in anyway, do not even judge it or have prejudice, just allow it. What you need to do is just – Witnessing. You just be a witness. It’s very beautiful. It’s just like going to a theater and watching movie where we just witness the picture on the screen. In the same way just witness your thoughts. Mind is something which is not understood by science even today. It’s so complicated and so tremendously powerful at the same time with so much potential in it. Just watch it, just watch the happening, do not judge, and do not see it like an enemy, just watch that’s all with absolutely no prejudice. If you judge while watching you have drawn a conclusion already. I am stressing on the fact that do not see it as enemy because once you see something as enemy you cannot look deep into it, you can look into something deep only when you look that with great respect, with deep love. Neither mind is wrong nor your thinking is wrong, it’s just like clouds moving on the sky. Let the thoughts also pass on your inner sky. Just be a lover and not a fighter. Just watch the subtle nuances of the mind, the sudden turns, the beautiful turns, the sudden and leaps, the imagination, the memory, million projections that it creates. Watch, not involved but just watching.
The deeper your watchfulness becomes, the deeper your awareness becomes, & gaps start arising, intervals starts arising between the thoughts. One thought goes & another has not come, & there is a gap. One cloud has passed, another is coming & there is a gap. In those gaps, for the first time you will have glimpses of no-mind, you will have the taste of no-mind. Call it taste of Satori, Zen, Yoga or whatever you want to call it as. In those small intervals, suddenly the sky is clear & the sun is shining. Suddenly the world is full of mystery because all barriers are dropped. The screen on your eyes is no more there. Now you will see it clearly, the whole existence will become transparent. These are small moments but will give you glimpse of what Samadhi is, small packets of silence which will come and disappear but at least you will know that you are on the right track, you will start watching again. When a thought passes you watch it, when a interval passes you will watch it, now you will not choose clouds or sunshine as I explained you but will just see the beauty of clouds as well as beauty of sunshine. Now at this stage do not bargain only for “intervals”, this is foolishness because once you become attached to wanting only the intervals then you have decided again against thinking, now those intervals will disappear. They will just happen but cannot be manufactured or bought, you cannot force them. They will happen spontaneously, just go on watching, let thoughts come and go whenever they want to go, just allow it to happen and you just watch it. Let thoughts move in total freedom. And then bigger intervals will be coming. You will be blessed with small satoris. Sometimes minutes will pass & no thought will be there; there will be no traffic, a state of total silence, undisturbed. When the bigger gaps come, you will not only have clarity to see into the world, with the bigger gaps you will have a new clarity arising, you will be able to see into the inner world. With the first gaps you will see into the world. You will be suddenly in the presence of God. Touching you although you cannot grasp it. Within your reach and yet beyond. With the bigger gaps, the same will happen inside. God will not only be outside, you will be suddenly surprised, He is inside also. He is not only in the seen; He is in the seer also -- within and without but don't get attached to that either. Attachment is the food for the mind to continue. Non-attached witnessing is the way to stop it without any effort to stop it. And when you start enjoying those blissful moments, your capacity to retain them for longer periods arises. Finally, eventually, one day, you become master. Then when you want to think, you think; if thought is needed, you use it; if thought is not needed, you allow it to rest. Not that mind is simply any more there: mind is there, but you can use it or not use it. Now it is your decision. Just like your hands, you can use it when you want and when you do not want, you can rest it also. While writing this article, I am using my mind also. During my satsangs or retreats when someone asks me question, I am using my mind also but after that when it’s not needed, it will rest. Sitting at one place quietly is not resting it at all, it becomes mediocre. It goes on and on, day and night. You need to make a note here that mind thinks day & night continuously, for several decades & stores so many data’s. It is truly mysterious that so much can be stored in such a small mind. Whole library is inside it, so much capable it is, so much unlimited it is. Scientist can never make a computer which is similar to mind because mind is like that which can remember everything, store so many things and does no noise. Have you observed that? It’s the only hard disc which makes no sound at all. No one knows what the capacity of the mind is. When you die, everything in your body is ready to die not the mind. That's why in the East we say mind leaves the body and enters another womb, because it is not yet ready to die. The rebirth is of the mind. Once you have attained the State of Samadhi, no-mind, then there will be no rebirth. Then you will simply die. And with your dying, everything will be dissolved that is your body, your mind, only your witnessing soul will remain. That is beyond time and space. Then you become one with existence; then you are no more separate from it. The separation comes from the mind. But there is no way to stop it forcibly. Just watching is enough.
Some people go to any extent to stop the mind. They are in too much hurry. Often I listen to people especially those who went to countries like Peru where drugs are widely used for spiritual practices. They can call it as ritual to gain higher consciousness or whatever but the agenda is the same – to stop the mind. You can force the mind to stop using such drugs or chemicals but again you are violent in the mechanism which is destructive and in this way you are trying to become master of yourself, master of your mind but drugs became your master now not you. You will not become master but the drugs will become because they are the source of your stopping of mind. You simply changed your bosses and changed for the worse by choosing drugs. Now once you take drugs they will boss over you, without that you cannot live. The emphasis of meditation comes into picture here at this stage. Meditation is way of understanding the mind not going against the mind but of course you need to be very patient because your mind has passed through all experiences of that of animals, birds, plants, rocks. So much of experience of humanity you have gone through. You carry the whole experience of existence. In fact, I want to tell you a mysterious phenomenon. In our life we might meet a lot of people but we can somewhat compare so many minds which are alike with others like Person A, Person B, Person C ..... Person Z where Person A and Person X must have made same way of thinking, thoughts & beingness which I call as “collective unconscious” as in this way we can say that we are belong to one another. Bodies are separate but the minds are not. Our minds overlap & our souls are one. Bodies separate, minds overlapping, & souls are one. I don't have a different soul & you don't have a different soul. At the very center of existence we meet & we are one. That's what God is all about, the meeting point of all. Between the God & the world, here the world refers to the bodies, is mind. Mind is a bridge, a bridge between the body & the soul, between the world & God.
Just watch, be alert. And drop this idea of stopping; otherwise it will stop the natural transformation of the mind. Let thoughts pass through your mind, do not get attached to it, just witness and enjoy. No-mind is not against mind; no-mind is beyond mind means you are into the mind anymore. No-mind does not come by killing and destroying the mind: no-mind comes when you have understood the mind so totally that thinking is no longer needed; your understanding has replaced it. As you witness the mind more and more, it will automatically bring you to the state of no-mind.
Love and Bliss to you,
Acharya Shree Shankar