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.


It chatters 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.


Thought-Control Exercises
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 OUT breath.

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.


This 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 unnaturally quiet.


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 doing.

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 through practice.

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 mind.


If that surface mind is held clear and silent through disciplined mental effort, there is no place left for spirits to hide.


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 projection-related techniques.

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.


The more often these are done, the faster concentration and mental focus will improve.

Single-Object Awareness
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 any fantasy.


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.

Spot Focus
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.

Afterimage Retention
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.)


Gaze gently 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.


Manipulating 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 an object.


After memorizing the texture, hold the after-feel perception in mind for as long as you can, holding your mind clear with breath awareness.


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 effortless.

Color Breathing
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 can.

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.


The 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 images.

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 patterns.


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.


  1. 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 two.


  2. 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.


  3. 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.


  4. 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 mental exercises.

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 conflicts.


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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