Question: Whenever I try to meditate, my mind always seems to come up with excuses not to meditate and I end up getting distracted. I just don’t seem to be able to sit still and meditate. How do I deal with this?
Sadhguru:Your mind does not like meditation. When you want to sit and meditate, the mind will do everything to see that you don’t. First it will say, “Oh, we’ll meditate tomorrow.” “Tomorrow” is the deepest cunning of your mind. The mind will not say, “I won’t do it.” If your mind says, “I won’t do it,” your ego will say, “I will do it.” That is the nature of your ego. If I want to get something done by you, one simple way of getting it done is to say “Please don’t do it. No, you should not do it. Don’t do it.” You will do it because that is the nature of the ego. So the mind will never say, “I will not do it.” It will say, “Let’s do it tomorrow” – and tomorrow never comes.
In the rural areas of South India, there is a belief that evil spirits try to enter your house in the evenings, and because these evil spirits can only see the color red, they go for your blood. So people write “naale baa” in red paint on the front door. “Naale baa” means, “come tomorrow.” Every day, the evil spirit supposedly comes to the doorstep, sees this sign and thinks, “Oh, this house is for tomorrow,” and goes away. Tomorrow never comes, so the evil spirit never enters the house. People have done this to so many things that they should be doing in their life. They have done, “naale baa, naale baa” to their very happiness.
When you sit for meditation, if the mind’s “come tomorrow” tactic fails, if you say, “No, no, I am committed. I must sit for meditation. I’ll just settle down,” the mind will try its next trick. Suddenly, that telephone number that you have been trying to remember for the last one week will flash bright and clear in your mind. If you say “Eureka!”, jump up, and run to the telephone, the meditation is finished.
If you don’t run off, but continue to sit and meditate, in two to three minutes, in half a dozen different places, you will suddenly start to itch. If you don’t meditate, nothing will happen, but if you sit for meditation, so many things will start happening everywhere. This is because the mind knows that if you keep the body still, the mind will also naturally become still. And the mind knows that if it allows this to happen, it will become enslaved. This is why in yoga, so much stress has been laid on asanas, because if you just learn how to keep your body absolutely still, then your mind will also become still.
If you just observe yourself, you will see how many unnecessary movements your body is making when you stand, sit, and speak. If you look at your life and see, you will see that probably more than half the time is taken up in this. There is so much unnecessary thought and activity with the body – things that you yourself do not really care for. But if you keep the body still, slowly the mind will start collapsing.
This is when your mind will play the final trick. It asks the question, “What will I get? What is the takeaway from this meditation?” That is the key to all the activity that is happening in the mind. It is all about “what can I get?” If you drop this calculation, ninety percent of the work is over, spiritually. Another ten percent will happen by itself. You don’t have to get anything. You don’t have to benefit from it. This is not about becoming healthy or becoming enlightened or reaching heaven – this is just wasting time. Just learn to waste some time meditating every day. Nothing needs to happen. If you look for the takeaway, you will only take petty things. The real thing will never come with you. If you want the real thing, you just have to drop this one simple calculation. If you just pull the plug, if you just destroy this one calculation, the very foundations of the mind are taken away. Suddenly it is different, it becomes a wonderful slave.
Right now your mind is the boss, you are the slave. The main aspect of meditation is, as you become more meditative, you become the boss, your mind becomes the slave, and that is how it should always be. The mind is a terrible master. He will put you through all kinds of endless suffering. But the mind is a wonderful slave. If you keep your mind in a certain way, you can do anything you want with it.