8 December 1994 — Stopping the Mind that Wanders

Papaji reads a letter.

Beloved Papaji, I love you so much and know that you love me, so why do I have so much fear and insecurity about being totally naked in front of you? I have this fear that when I come before you in satsang, my satsang friends will see me as somehow naked. How can I have the courage to be natural with you? How can I show my gratitude and respect when insecurity keeps me from doing so?

Your name, Atmananda. means ‘bliss of the Self’. When you have that bliss within yourself, you love your own Self and you love everyone else. If you still have fear, you are not indwelling, you are not turning your mind inward. This is why fear is coming.

There is fear when the mind looks outside at some object from the past. You can discover this for yourself. When you see fear arising in yourself. if you look for the cause, it is always because of something that has happened in the past. If you don’t look into the past, you are living in the here and now, and when you live in the here and now, you dive into the bliss of the Self.

So.when the mind goes back to the past, check it. If you are not successful, again check it and bring it back. Watch what is going on inside you. See how the mind is always drifting around in the past. Mind means thought and any thought you can have belongs to the past. In the present there is no thought, there is only happiness. Just look at the mind and don’t allow it to run off to the past. At the beginning there will be trouble because it is hard to change your habits. But after some time it will happen effortlessly.

Imagine that you are a farmer and that you have a bull which goes out to graze on the pastures of other farmers. The other farmers may beat it, but it won’t understand the reason for the beating because the notion of property rights is alien to it.

After the other farmers come to complain, you have to find some way of making your bull behave. You have to find some way of stopping it from wandering around. So, you tie it in your stable and put a big pile of grass in front of it. At first the bull will ignore it because it wants to go out and roam around. It will get angry and for one or two days it will refuse to eat. Finally, when it realises that it is not going to be let out to roam around and steal other’s grass, it eats the food that is in front of it. After several days of being fed in this way, the bull will suddenly realise that food is always available where it is, and that it doesn’t need to go out looking for it anymore.

It thinks, ‘Why should I go out looking for grass in those fields? Every time I eat there, somebody beats me. Here, I have as much grass as I want.’

Eventually, the farmer unties the bull and the bull stays in its stall. It can go out if it wants to, but it doesn’t because it knows that if it tries to gratify its appetites outside, it will end up being beaten. Knowing that everything it needs is inside, it voluntarily stays  where it is.

This is how to stop the mind from going to the past. Force it to stay at home by not allowing any thought of the past to develop. At first it will fight and struggle, but after a few days, when it discovers  that unlimited peace can be found by not going anywhere, it will relax, calm down and be content with staying where it is. If you do it properly, it’s just a three day affair.