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We seem to do many things each day that create our problems. But, we can undo everything in a meditation practice. You just sit. You don’t need to do anything but = be aware of yourself. In meditation you are the witness that sits  behind the body and mind. When you sit for meditation, sometimes the mind says, I’m too tired to concentrate, and then you get up and forget about meditation. Instead, you can tell the mind, Okay, you can run, I will watch.

Sometimes we take the dog for a walk and, at times, it just wants to run. So, you go to the beach, or park, or field, sit on a bench and watch while the dog runs. That’s what we do in meditation. Sit and allow your monkey mind to jump and to play; let it be mischievous. It’s like going to see a movie, but only this inner movie is even better than the one at the theater.

During meditation, sit and close your eyes—because movies are not seen in the daylight. As you move your eyes it becomes like a dark room.  Pictures that you have taken years before, and have forgotten about, may begin to arise. As you watch, you can be curious: Let me see what we have here. Watch the thoughts coming, watch the breath or the heartbeat—that’s all you have to do. Spend a few minutes every day just watching the mind and you can also do this if you need to be lying down.

Just sit still and enjoy the beauty of your own body and mind. Relax, be aware. You must take time for that because otherwise you are constantly running behind the body and mind. Do this for at least ten or fifteen minutes and if  possible for  half an hour.

You will really feel so happy, so peaceful and that way the mind will run for a little while but if it knows you are watching it will calm down. Just like if you know someone is watching you then you behave very well. Let the mind know that you are sitting and watching very closely. Then, slowly, all this monkey business will calm down and the mind will say, Okay, I’ll also take a rest because without you I don’t have any energy to run around to cause mischief.

When you watch your own thoughts you will learn a lot about the mind. You can analyze by asking, Where did this thought come from? Why is it here? As the mind begins to calm down it is during that time that it is also felt in the body. Body and mind, are closely are related. When you are physically tense, you waste your energy. When you relax, you rebuild your energy and the mind is also like that. Then one day, you will feel that your mind is very strong and you are in control of it. With that controlled, disciplined mind and body you can do many, many things in life. You can use the world and its opportunities and energies in many useful ways. Nothing in the world will seem wrong to you, because you will know how to use everything in the right way.

Fears and anxieties, wars and turmoil are present because we are not using the full potential of our minds. Ordinarily, it is the mind that is using us. It is the selfish ego that is using us. If the healthy ego uses the mind, it will use it for the benefit of humanity. You will be able to serve all. So take time to rejuvenate, reform, and correct yourself. Equip yourself to serve and even if you are not given the opportunity to serve others you can serve in your own place just by being peaceful. The place where you are will be full of peace. We are all looking everywhere in the world for peace, forgetting that each of us makes up the whole world. If you find peace within then the part of the world where you are has found peace and that is a big service. Instead of asking everybody else to be peaceful become that yourself.

Suppose  everyone is talking all at once in a big room and there is too much noise. Somebody says, “Let there be silence.” Everybody immediately feels that there should be silence in the hall. You know what will happen? Everybody will then begin saying, “Hey, please be silent, please be quiet.” Everybody wants silence, but everyone makes a lot of noise. While that is happening if one sensible person thinks, What is this? We all want silence but everybody seems to be shouting about silence. We are all disturbing the silence, so at least let me not disturb that silence. I will let the place around me be silent. So that person becomes silent and slowly others notice that and also become silent. Soon the entire room is silent. That is what needs to be done so that the whole world can become peaceful.

If you want something to happen in the world outside let it happen to you first. That is the essential teaching in all the great philosophies, religions, and in Yoga too. Without individual peace, there can be no world peace. There have been so many peace talks over many years. The people who talk of peace, do not seem to have peace within. They go to these peace talks with their restlessness and greed for their own selfish reasons.

There will always be an excuse to fight. Remember that the Paris peace talk where the participants were fighting because of the size and shape of the table? That is because the restless mind wants an excuse to fight. But we can all rise above that. We are all children of the same God. We all have that same divine energy flowing through our veins. So, keep yourself strong, keep your mind peaceful, and be an instrument for peace and joy in the world.

By Sri Swami Satchidananda