16. Taming the Mind
The surface mind is always active while you are awake. It can be
likened to a huge message and reminder pad. Its function is to keep
you aware of everything that is going on around you.
away constantly, reminding you of everything, constantly stating and
restating the obvious; playfully making witty comments about
everything while making sure you know exactly what is happening in
the world around you at all times.
"Is that a car in my drive? Milk,
I've got to get milk! Damn, my car's well overdue for a service! Why
did she say that last night - what did she mean by that look she
gave me?" Et cetera.
This is what is called internal dialogue, or monkey mind, using the
more Eastern term.
We don't really notice these thoughts and images
as they constantly flutter through our minds, and they do serve a
useful purpose in our daily lives. These are, however, absolute
nuisances when you are trying to clear, relax, and focus your mind.
It's like having someone inside your head constantly chattering away
at you while you are trying to do serious work. You cannot
concentrate fully unless you have a little mental peace and quiet in
which to do it.
This is part of the reason why many people can concentrate better
while listening to music. Music occupies the surface mind and slows
internal dialogue, thus allowing deeper levels of thinking and
concentration. Most teenagers can work and study perfectly well with
loud music blaring. They cannot, however, do the same in total peace
and quiet because of the incessant internal dialogue.
While music can help silence internal dialogue, with regard to
mental training it is best considered an artificial prop. I do not
advise it be used unless absolutely necessary. To deeply relax the
mind and attain the trance state, where you can work with a deeper
and more powerful level of mind, it is necessary to silence the
constant chattering of internal dialogue.
Surface thoughts also
create inner tensions that reflect into the physical body as
physical tension, making projection more difficult.
Breathing Thoughts Away: Center your attention on the process of
breathing, using this to hold your mind totally clear. Feel each
breath entering your body and filling your lungs, then feel it
leaving your body.
Follow the breathing process with your mind, but
do not think about it. Feel it, be aware of it, let the feeling of
breathing occupy your entire mind. This exercise is enough to occupy
the surface mind and to keep its rambling thoughts at bay.
If you need more than this, count your breaths. Count up to ten
breaths, then start over again. Mentally counting is not a breach of
thought-control discipline. When you count each number, drag out the
mental word over the whole of each breath. For example, follow the
IN breath carefully and then count (mentally) "Onneeeee" (one) for
the entire OUT breath. Hold your mind clear during the next IN
breath and count (mentally) "Twwooooo" (two) for the whole of the
While you are holding your mind clear, surface thoughts will attempt
to creep back into your mind. When this begins to happen (and it
always will in the early stages) quickly and firmly push them away
before they have a chance to take hold and complete their message.
You will get progressively better at this with a little practice.
You will soon be able to detect thought pressure alone, and thus
stop thoughts before they have the chance to form into actual mental
words inside your surface mind.
When you get to the stage where you can sense the pressure of
thoughts as they are about to start, you are really getting
somewhere. You can then begin pushing thought pressures away before
they can form into actual thoughts. Eventually, with a little
practice, you will be able to hold your surface mind totally clear,
like a blank slate. The pressure of thoughts wanting to start will
stay with you for some time, even after you master them.
pressure will, however, progressively ease with regular practice.
Thought-control and concentration exercises should be done daily for
at least five minutes in total, and for longer if possible. This is
best spread out over the day and made into several smaller
exercises. (Waiting and traveling time can be put to good use.)
Although this can be difficult and frustrating in the early stages,
with a little regular practice the surface mind can be held clear
with very little effort for extended periods of time.
The Deeper Mind
Once the surface mind gives in and the internal dialogue is
silenced, you will experience a profound silence inside your mind
that may feel a little strange at first, a bit like sitting alone in
the middle of a quickly emptying sports stadium after a big game and
listening as it falls slowly into total silence as everyone leaves.
You miss all the activity, and it suddenly feels strange and
This is because you are stilling surface thoughts
that have been chattering away unnoticed in your mental background
for your whole life. You have created a kind of forced, hollow
feeling, a forced mental silence inside your mind. Holding this
takes effort and concentration, which adds to the forced-silence
kind of feeling.
It will take some time for your deeper mind to get used to this
mental silence and begin relaxing and expanding, so be patient. You
will grow used to this and one day will learn to love it more than
anything else. Once you have attained inner silence, you can think
more profoundly and focus your mind completely on whatever you are
The criticism by religious groups of the practice of meditation and
of clearing the mind stems, I believe, from people jumping to
conclusions when they hear terms like emptiness, emptying the mind,
inner silence, or entering the silence. Some religious people claim
it is not safe to empty the mind, as tile devil or some evil entity
may then try to enter and inhabit it. If, however, you take into
account how difficult it is to empty die mind and hold it clear for
any length of time, it becomes evident that this emptiness only
comes through disciplined mental effort.
You are blocking your own
thoughts, and are thereby also blocking any other thoughts from
entering your mind. In a way, meditators fill their minds with
silent mental static and use this to suppress all thought. The clear
mind, or empty mind, associated with meditation can more accurately
be thought of as forced mental silence that has become easier
I have found that the practice of holding the mind forcibly clear
can be an effective countermeasure against intrusive energies and
thoughts, regardless of their nature or origin. A spirit entity that
wanted to invade or mentally interfere with someone would find it
much easier to slide in among that person's internal mental
dialogue, and hide among the meaningless chatter of an undisciplined
If that surface mind is held clear and silent through
disciplined mental effort, there is no place left for spirits to
Relaxation and Concentration
Great mental effort can generate great physical tension. The
physical body is intimately connected with all its mental processes;
whatever affects the mind affects the physical body to some extent.
Learning how to concentrate and relax at the same time teaches how
to divorce mental and body-awareness actions from physical actions.
Being able to separate these different types of actions is extremely
important for all trance, energetic, body-awareness, and
The following three exercises are designed to improve concentration
and mental focus. They can be done any time and any place during the
day. Take advantage of travel time to and from work, waiting time,
traffic jams, and any other free moments during the day when you are
required to do nothing. Just take a deep breath, relax a little, and
begin, standing or sitting. At least one of these exercises should
be done for a couple of minutes, several times each day.
often these are done, the faster concentration and mental focus will
Pick out an object - tree, chair, picture, cloud, cat (any-thing) -
and stare gently but fixedly at it. Do not focus on any part, but
let your eyes gently gaze upon the whole of it. Use breath awareness
to hold your mind clear while you do this, breathing your thoughts
away. Hold this object in view as long as you can without shifting
your gaze or allowing any thoughts to start up.
Focus on this object
to the total exclusion of everything else. Feel the whole of the
object and feel the image of it growing inside your mind as you gaze
at it. Do not allow your eyes or forehead to tense up. Continue this
for three minutes, or for as long as you can.
When you end this exercise, close your eyes and cover them quickly
with the palms of your hands, shutting out all light. Try to hold
and follow the afterimage of the object in your mind's eye for as
long as you can. Try to make this afterimage grow stronger. As the
afterimage fades, hold the memory of it in your mind's eye,
imagining the details in the same way as you would build and hold
As an alternative, or if you are non-sighted, hold an
object in both hands and feel it. Feel its shape and texture and
fill your mind with the perception image this generates, feeling
this to the exclusion of all else.
Any object will do.
Pick a small speck or mark on a wall and focus gently but fixedly
upon it. Hold your mind clear of all thoughts. Use breath awareness
to help hold your surface mind clear. If you concentrate and stare
hard, an optical effect will occasionally cause your vision to
darken. Your view will go dark around the edges, getting darker and
closing in until you temporarily lose your sight. Ignore this, or
just blink it away without breaking concentration.
Your vision will
return to normal as soon as you stop concentrating. Keep your eyes
and forehead relaxed and this will not happen as often. Continue for
three minutes, or for as long as you can. As an alternative, hold
the tip of a pencil to your finger and press gently until you can
feel a tiny point of pressure. Move your finger very slightly to
make this small point of pressure continue to be felt.
Focus on this
point of pressure to the exclusion of all else, using breath
awareness to hold your mind clear of all thoughts.
Relax, calm your mind, and stare fixedly at any gentle light source:
the moon, a candle, a low-wattage light bulb, an open window, etc.
(Of course, do not look at the sun or any light source bright enough
to damage eyes. And note that these exercises, if overdone, can
cause eye strain or a tension headache. If this happens, treat it as
you would any normal eye strain or tension headache.)
but fixedly at the light source for thirty seconds or so without
shifting your gaze or changing your focus. Don't focus directly on
it, just gaze at it. Use breath awareness to hold your surface mind
clear while you do this.
Then close your eyes and quickly cover them with the palms of your
hands, shutting out all light. Hold and follow the glowing
afterimage that has been generated in your mind's eye. Keep sight of
this for as long as you can. Try to make it grow and last longer
every time. If you use an open window, try to also retain the
afterimage of the scenario seen through the window and not just the
light, using your imagination to re-create and hold it.
the focus of your eyes behind your closed eyelids will affect this
afterimage. Play with this focus until you find what helps retain
afterimages the longest. As an alternative, focus on the texture of
After memorizing the texture, hold the after-feel
perception in mind for as long as you can, holding your mind clear
with breath awareness.
Please pay particular attention to this exercise, as the breath
awareness technique is used extensively throughout this book.
Just as we did earlier, breathe slowly, deeply, and regularly, in
through your nose and out through your mouth. Focus your entire
awareness on the action of breathing. Feel your breath entering and
leaving your body. Feel the leading edge of the air entering your
nose, moving in through your nasal passages, down your throat, and
filling the inside of your lungs.
Follow and sense and feel the air
passing through the inner parts of your body. Hold your mind totally
clear of all surface thoughts while doing this. Your mind must be
held as a blank slate. Do not allow any surface thoughts to start
up. Do not count your breaths or imagine anything with this
exercise. Focus your entire attention solely on the flow of air into
and out of your body.
Time yourself and see how long you can keep this up without thinking
any thoughts at all. Keep note of how long you can do this, as this
will indicate how you are progressing with these exercises. Continue
this exercise for three minutes, or for as long as you can. Once you
reach the three-minute mark, you will be able to hold your mind
totally clear for an indefinite period of time.
The effort of doing
this will progressively ease with regular practice until it becomes
Start breath awareness, as above. Imagine your favorite bright color
(anything but black, brown, or gray) entering your body with the
leading edge of the air moving through your nose as you breathe IN.
Imagine this color (in your mind's eye) as if the air you are
breathing IN were a cloud of sparkling, colored vapor, full of life
and energy. Imagine a murky cloud of discolored air leaving your
body with the leading edge of your OUT breath as you breathe OUT -
this being tension and waste energy. Concentrate solely on this and
hold your mind totally clear of all thoughts.
This particular exercise has the added advantage of causing a flow
of atmospheric energy into the body and through the lungs, which is
invigorating and invaluable for building both physical and mental
vitality. Continue this for three minutes, or for as long as you
As an alternative, or if you cannot imagine color, imagine your
favorite scent instead, or use a real scent to focus on. Follow the
leading edge of this scent as it is inhaled and exhaled.
Silencing the surface mind may sound very easy, but it is definitely
not an easy thing to learn. It takes time and practice, but this is
an absolute necessity for any kind of serious development. In the
early stages of mental training, if you can silence your surface
mind for more than ten seconds you are doing very well indeed.
ability to clear the surface mind is very progressive, however, and
regular practice pays big dividends. Keep working on this ability
regularly and your original ten seconds of mental silence will
quickly grow into twenty, then thirty, then a minute, then two
minutes, then more and more, getting easier all the time.
Please, do not be discouraged if some of the exercises in this book
seem difficult when you first try them. Learning anything new can be
difficult, but everything gets easier with a Hide regular practice.
Working on these skills individually will save you a great deal of
time and effort in the long run. Remember, anything skipped or
poorly done during the early stages of development will one day stop
all forward progress. This will necessitate a return to basics in
order to redo what has been skipped. Just do the very best you can
with these exercises and practice regularly.
You will soon find
yourself making steady progress.
Self-Repeating Thought Patterns
Self-repeating thought pattern problems occasionally arise during or
as a result of mental development exercises.
This problem can happen
to anyone at any time and for no apparent reason. What happens is
this: A line from a song, an advertising ditty, a poem, a snatch of
dialogue, worries and upsets, or anything similar will suddenly
appear in the surface mind, for no apparent reason. It will begin
repeating itself over and over and over, ad nauseam. To a lesser
extent, this problem can also take the form of fantasy or memory
This can be a serious, infuriating, and frustrating problem. It
makes any kind of serious mental work, or even sleep, virtually
impossible. This is no laughing matter. I have seen people lose days
of sleep over this. I have seen grown men and women streaming tears
of frustration. I have also seen children banging their heads
against doors and walls trying to silence self-repeating thought
This may never happen to you or anyone you know, and
hopefully it never will, but in case it does, there is a solution,
in four stages.
Stage One: Clear your mind through sheer force of will, blank slate
it, silencing the repetition and brutally holding it clear, while
taking deep, powerful breaths, for as long as you can, gritting your
mental and physical teeth if necessary. Whip and cudgel your mind
into temporary obedience. Physical relaxation is not required for
any of this. Put everything you have into this and be prepared to
shed some honest mental sweat over it. Use breath awareness to help
with this as needed. This first step is designed to highlight the
problem thought pattern, as well as being a brutal but excellent
thought-control exercise. If this fixes the problem, fine, but if
the rogue thought pattern persists or resumes, continue with stage
Stage Two: Replace the rogue thought pattern as soon as possible
after it begins repeating, before it grows any stronger. Do not
allow it to continue! Replace it with a simple but slightly longer
thought pattern and deliberately and strongly repeat this in your
mind, over and over. Say this new one aloud a few times, or sing it,
as this will help to strengthen it. Concentrate on repeating the
replacement until you sense the pressure coming from the original
thought pattern weakening. The replacement used can be absolutely
anything, a snatch of song, a verse, a ditty, a jingle, a prayer, an
affirmation, etc. Something that flows easily or rhymes will work
better. Once the original problem begins to weaken, change the
replacement thought pattern again. Use anything but the original
thought pattern for this purpose. Repeat the new repetition until
the first replacement weakens. If this solves the problem, fine, but
if not, proceed to stage three.
Stage Three: If the original problem returns, repeat stages one and
two, but double or even triple the number of replacements used.
Shorten these slightly and use more enthusiasm and mental volume.
Take a shower and sing loudly! Try to make the last few replacements
in the set tail off, using progressively shorter phrases. If any of
the replacement lines begin repeating, repeat this entire process
using the new rogue thought pattern as the base. This will also help
to bury the original problem. Avoid the original problem thought
pattern: never use it as a replacement.
Stage Four: Clear the surface mind through sheer force of will and
breath awareness, silencing the final repetition used. Hold the mind
clear, well away from any repeating thought patterns, even
replacements. Finally, relax and allow your mind to return to normal
thought activity. If the surface mind behaves itself, you can stop
fighting and return to what you were originally doing, or go back to
sleep. But stay alert for problem thought patterns in the future and
deal with them quickly as they appear.
Repeat these steps as often as necessary to control the problem.
As a last resort, use headphones and play music, as loud as
necessary, to drown out the repeating thought pattern. This will
occupy the surface mind and encourage silence. Continue for as long
as necessary to overcome the repeating thought pattern. Sleep with
the headphones on. Have the music on continual play or on a timer,
as necessary, but do not allow the problem to continue untreated.
This last method is best used for children who cannot do the above
If the process fails and you are still plagued with self-repeating
thoughts, you most likely will not succeed with any serious mental
development work at this time. I suggest you give up on it and try
to get some sleep, watch TV, or get some work done to take your mind
off it, whichever is most appropriate.
If you can not overcome this
problem, it will usually also interfere with your ability to fall
asleep. If this happens, please treat it as you would normally treat
insomnia, and please see your family medical doctor for advice if
this problem persists.
The most common cause of repeating patterns, especially those
containing tormenting dialogue and painful real-life images from the
past, is stress and anxiety generated by unresolved internal life
Your subconscious mind is simply throwing up what it
considers to be serious problems, and is demanding they be dealt
with immediately. Handle these problems intelligently and the
thought pattern repetition will usually disappear.
If you cannot
deal with this alone, though, please do not hesitate to seek
professional medical advice and treatment.
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