Know Thy Master – Sri Aurobindo on controlling one’s thoughts

Q: I succeed for a few minutes in keeping myself attentive, empty of thought — but then the sensations return with a new strength. I do not succeed in turning away from a noise once my attention is caught there, for I have no object of concentration.

A: The first step is not to withdraw from all thought and sensation, but to consider them as outside oneself. There are two regions in the mind, one active, the other calm and attentive, not dragged away by the movements of nature. It is this distinction that you must make. You want to go too fast by suppressing even the thought: `I am not that’. At the moment this thought is your instrument.

Remain the spectator of your thoughts and sensations, recognising that they are outside you and do not affect you. Then the higher consciousness (Purusha consciousness) will descend and take possession of your mind.

But never struggle, for, in the mind, what you reject violently returns with a greater force.

To struggle is to enter into all sorts of difficulties.

Ref: Conversations with Sri Aurobindo by Pavitra