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  Opinion   Oped  02 May 2017  Mystic Mantra: Wandering thoughts

Mystic Mantra: Wandering thoughts

Amrit Sadhana is in the management team of Osho International Meditation Resort, Pune. She facilitates meditation workshops around the country and abroad.
Published : May 2, 2017, 2:02 am IST
Updated : May 2, 2017, 2:02 am IST

The meditators miss a basic point that thoughts are not to be fought with like enemies, they have to be ignored.


Whenever anybody tries to sit silently and meditate, the first block they come across is incessantly running thoughts. It is a great problem because everybody thinks, from the first moment they are going to experience a clean thoughtless sky within. When they find that the thoughts come swarming with double velocity they are very frustrated. The more they try to resist them the more they rush in. Because resistance becomes an invitation to thoughts. The meditators miss a basic point that thoughts are not to be fought with like enemies, they have to be ignored. Fighting with someone is giving attention, and giving attention is giving nourishment. If you don’t give any attention but remain unconcerned, the thoughts start dying on their own.  

Once a Tibetan master used a trick on a disciple to illustrate this point. The disciple wanted the master to teach him a mantra that can silence the mind. The master tried to avoid him because the disciple was not yet ready.

But he persisted and pestered the master. Finally, the master had to give in to his demand so he gave  the disciple a mantra, but also warned him, “While you are chanting don’t think of monkeys.”

The disciple was surprised because he never thought about monkeys, why would he do it now? But it was a trap. As he was going back he could only think of monkeys! He tried to shoo them away but they came back in gangs in his mind. He could not sleep because of it. He dreamt of monkeys. Exhausted he went back to the master who received him with a knowing smile and gave him another clue: Thoughts are like monkeys, just ignore them because they are only in your mind. They will go away.

The question is, how to ignore the thoughts and watch them unattached? Take things easily as Zen master Buko says: “Taking things easily and without forcing, after some time the rush of thought, outward and inward, subsides naturally, and the true face shows itself.”

Osho’s insight is, first try to understand the stuff thoughts are made of. Thoughts are like wandering clouds floating aimlessly in the atmosphere. When you sit silently you tune in to these clouds and kind of invite them in your mental space.

If you let this sink deeply within you will not identify with them. They are guests, and you are the host. So strengthen your host, your watchfulness. The right way is just to stand by the side. The traffic goes on, let it go. Don’t make any judgment of good and bad; don’t appreciate, don’t condemn. That is what is meant by being easy. It is all okay. Ultimately meditation will grow into thoughtlessness but you don’t have to “become” thoughtless. It is the end result of watching silently.

Tags: osho, meditate, mental space