The practice of mind control (Raja Yoga) – renunciation and silence

There are many different types of personalities or temperaments in those who are interested in learning and practicing the ancient techniques of how to control the mind and how to be really peaceful and happy through the path of yoga and meditation.

It doesn’t matter what type of personality that we have, some of us (the mind and the ego) might prefer a passionate outgoing life and like to be active and sociable, some of us might prefer to live a quiet inner life and have less social activities for conserving energy and focus on yoga and meditation practice for Self-realization, and some of us find a balance point between the active sociable outgoing life and the quiet inner life (this exists in those who have self-discipline and self-control).

There is nothing wrong with all these different types of temperaments in different people.

That’s why there are many different paths in yoga to suit all types of temperaments people.

People who are outgoing and like to be active and sociable are suitable for Karma Yoga (the path of selfless action or renounce from the fruit of action) and Bhakti Yoga (the path of devotion).

People who are not outgoing are suitable for Raja Yoga (the path of mind control) and Jnana Yoga (the path of wisdom).

All paths are not separated from each other and will lead to mental peace, contentment and annihilation of the ego (selflessness and compassion) if the practice is being performed with correct attitude and effort. You’ll see Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Raja Yoga in connection with each other. You’ll be practicing all these paths at the same time when you come to the state of purity and selflessness.

But, no matter which type of yoga or what type of path, the practice of non-attachment, dispassion and right discrimination, having intense yearning for liberation and the cultivation of the sixfold paths – tranquility of mind, control of the senses, satiety (renounce from worldly objects, enjoyments and activities), the power of endurance and forbearance, immovable faith (in God for those who believe in God or in Self for those who disbelieve in God, in the teacher, in the teachings), and indifference (balance of mind or equanimity), are the essential basic qualities or cultivation in a Sadhaka or Yogi.

The path of mind control is to turn the outgoing mind inward and make the mind introspective.

In order to achieve this inward state of mind, the observation of Self-restraint (control of our own thoughts, action and speech), morality, silence (Mauna) and celibacy (control of sexual desire), the practice of Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses from the objects of the senses) and one-pointedness of mind (concentration), lessening the number of thoughts, the cultivation of mental non-attachment and reduction of wants and desires, avoid too much talking or walking, avoid too much eating or fasting, avoid too much physical activities, avoid too much mixing with worldly minded people, avoid novel and newspaper-reading, avoid visiting cinemas or movies watching, develop Antarmukha-Vritti (making the outgoing tendency of the mind turn inward upon itself), and etc, all these are the very important practice in the path of yoga and meditation.

These practice are not just to purify and calming the mind, but also to conserve energy and channel the externalizing energy turn inward for spiritual Sadhana to realize the Truth.

All these practice can be performed and should be performed while living in the midst of the distracting world of names and forms. If we only can observe these practice while in an Ashram or in a retreat centre for a short period of time, but once we go back into the worldly life, we cannot or do not follow and continue all these practice, and are constantly being distracted and disturbed by all the names and forms, then whatever practice we perform will not bring us to the real peace (free from doubts, ignorance, fear and worry).

At one moment we might feel peaceful and at some other times, we might feel unpeaceful and restless due to the fluctuation of the mind activities or mental thought-waves (come from all the inputs – perception of names and forms through the senses; and outputs – expression of ideas, thoughts, feelings, emotions and egoism through action and speech, physically and mentally).

Yoga and meditation is to starve the mind or deprive the mind from activities (ideas and thoughts) by Vairagya and Tyaga (renunciation of desires, objects and egoism).

But this type of inner life is being criticized by the passionate worldly people as “anti-social”. But a true Yogi or Sadhaka is not a bit disturbed nor moved by this type of criticism that comes from the worldly minded people, it’s because they cannot understand the importance of the practice of renunciation and silence, and they have not yet experience the eternal and real inner peace that comes from renunciation and silence. Worldly minded passionate people seek after the momentary and conditional satisfaction and happy feelings that come from doing the things and getting the objects that we want and like. There is nothing wrong with this. But when things don’t turn out the way that we want them to be, we’ll get disappointed, frustrated and unhappy, forever restless being influenced and over-powered by all the attachments, and the craving and aversion in our own mind.

When the mind is rendered pure, calm and at peace, undisturbed nor distracted by all the names and forms, then this Yogi or Sadhaka can mix freely in the world to perform selfless service but will not be influenced nor affected by the world and the fruit of action, as he is firmly established in non-attachment and renunciation. He can be truly compassionate when he knows non-attachment and renunciation. He won’t be disturbed nor affected by the result of his compassionate actions. There is no difference between respectful and disrespectful, success and failure, good and bad beings, censure and praise, happiness and suffering. He is unconditioned by all the names and forms of good and bad.

Be free. Be really peaceful and happy.

Om shanti.

When the outgoing tendencies of the mind are arrested, when the mind is restrained within the heart, when all its attention is turned on itself alone, that condition is Antarmukha-Vritti. The Sadhaka can do a lot of Sadhana when he has this inward Vritti. Vairagya and introspection help a lot in the attainment of this mental state.

He who has controlled his mind is really happy and free.

Concentration and Meditation – Swami Sivananda

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