We recently read a story about Pete Seeger, the well-known singer and social activist. Many of his songs became themes for social justice, environmental awareness, and non-violence. Here is the wonderful story:
Swami Kriyananda wrote an affirmation for positive thinking: “My outer life is a reflection of my inner thoughts. Filled with the joy of God, I express His joy and harmony in everything I do.” This affirmation is so powerful that Devi and I repeat it daily, and have suggested that others from Ananda use it as a “theme” for the remainder of the year.
Wherever we teach, one of the first questions we are asked is, “How can I control restless thoughts?” This universal problem was even addressed over 2,000 years ago in the Bhagavad Gita, when Arjuna lamented, “Owing to my restlessness, I’ve achieved no lasting results in the attempts You’ve taught me to steady the mind. Verily the mind is restless, tumultuous, madly stubborn! O Krishna, I consider it to be as difficult to master as the wind.” (Chapter 6:33,34)
People can meditate for many months, or even years, with little result, simply because they have ignored the basics, thinking that such elementary practices are only for the merest beginner. Restlessness, especially mental restlessness, is the main impediment to deeper meditation. Our hardest job in meditation is to rid the mind of the static created by thoughts and desires.