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Chapter 4: Understanding the Mind

Your mind should not be like a guesthouse. If your mind is like a guesthouse, if it is not well protected, then it will be difficult for you to become free of impure thoughts. You should consciously watch over your mind.

The second step towards achieving purity of thought is the need to watch your thoughts. There should be a certain watchfulness. You should be constantly watching what is happening inside you and rejecting whatsoever is useless.

Recently, I was traveling. There were two of us in the train compartment, another man and myself. He wanted to chat with me. As soon as I sat down in my seat he offered me a cigarette. I said, “I am sorry, but I don’t smoke.”

He put the cigarette back. A little while later he took out a betel leaf and offered it to me: “Please accept it.”

I said, “I am sorry, but I don’t want it.”

Again he put it away and sat down. Then he picked up his newspaper and asked me, “Would you like to read it?”

I said, “I don’t want to read.”

Then he said to me, “It is so difficult - you refuse to accept whatever I offer you.”

I said, “A person who simply accepts everything is a fool. And with what you are offering me I would also try to keep away from you. I will not take it, but I also wish it were taken away from you.”

If you have nothing to do, what do you do? You will pick up the newspaper and start reading it because you have nothing to do. It would be better to simply sit and do nothing than to collect all that junk. There is nothing wrong with doing nothing, but there are some fools who say that it is better to do anything rather than to do nothing. This is not true. It is always better to do nothing than to do something harmful, because at least in those moments you are not losing anything and you are not collecting any rubbish.

So be aware about this. If you watch the movement of thoughts inside you it is not difficult to keep your thoughts pure. And it is not difficult to recognize impure thoughts: thoughts that create a kind of restlessness inside you are impure thoughts and thoughts that create a flow of peace inside you are pure thoughts. Thoughts that bring joy to you are pure and thoughts that create any kind of disturbance are impure thoughts. You have to avoid such thoughts. And if you constantly watch your mind, your thoughts will become more and more pure.

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