Calming a Busy Mind

JanakiBy Janaki Murray

Shopping, watching TV, even talking and listening a lot in social situations draw my mind outward.  However, I’m also aware that I pursue the opposite these days.  I spend more time in activities that quiet my mind.  They allow me to draw my senses inward more easily.  In our July Contemplation, Delving Inward, Vidyadevi mentions a few: listening to music, being in nature, daydreaming.  Of course, many Svaroopa® yoga practices are included.

I realise my mind is thus becoming more and more inclined towards Consciousness.  These changes have been gradual and incremental.  I don’t even notice them sometimes.  Consequently, the yoga philosophy in our Contemplation Articles is so helpful.  It brings awareness to where I’ve come from, where I am and where I’m headed.


My husband and I are very fond of chocolate (who isn’t?).  A box in our fridge holds a wide variety of chocolate.  We like to choose!  Two or three times a year, I have a chocolate-free month to practice tapas.  It so happens that this July is one.  Last evening, my husband sat next to me munching away.  Yet, I felt no desire for chocolate.  This is the first time I have not had that craving during a chocolate-free month.  This really did give me a sense of freedom, just like Vidyadevi’s experience of losing her desire for an apple fritter and coffee.

My mind was quiet, no longer harassing me with a chocolate craving.  In fact, I didn’t feel the need for anything.  I was content.  What a stark contrast to the effect of “pursuing my senses.” Then my mind is hanging onto a thought or to a desire, not letting go.  It is unsettling, disturbing, even annoying.  I used to live like that all the time.  No wonder I had such a busy mind!

MeditationVidyadevi & Swamiji said, “When a desire arises, don’t indulge it.  Channel that energy into your quest for Consciousness.  Consciousness is reliable.”  I am grateful for this coaching on the practice of pratyahara (withdrawing the senses).  I don’t find it easy, but it helps me deal with desires.  It helps quiet my mind and facilitates my inward journey.

I also find a two-way street in operation here.  It is meditation that really gives me my daily “dip in the ocean” of Consciousness.  That is where I find my own Self.  It is the inner experience of my own Self that flows into my life making all things easier – including the practice of pratyahara.

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