It’s all very well to say: “Keep out all thoughts!” This is easier said, than done…

It is wise to know one’s enemy. Thoughts in themselves are not our enemy – it is their hold over us, and our helpless attraction to them, which stand as a ruthless barrier to our meditation and inner peace. In our quest to control thoughts, to keep them at bay, it is well to consider the nature of thoughts, and our obsession with them.

As we require oxygen, so thoughts depend utterly on our attention, for their food and fuel. The more we focus or dwell on a thought, the greater its power and influence. When we ignore a thought completely, it starves and withers, and might as well never have existed for us. It is we who make each thought powerful, or not – indeed, we are the power source for the entire thought industry, a Frankenstein of our own creation.

When we speak of controlling thoughts, it is not thoughts in themselves we seek to control: it is our attention on and attachment to thoughts that we can and must rein in.

As long as we identify ourselves primarily with our thinking minds, we imagine and even believe that we are our thoughts, that without them, we could not exist – when actually it is thoughts which rely on us, not the other way around. If we were only our minds, we might indeed need thoughts – but we are not, and can never be, our mere mind.

Pests only inhabit a welcoming environment. We have gone out of our way to make ourselves an attractive home to thoughts, putting out the ‘Welcome!’ mat and offering free board and lodging.

The first step in pest control, is to clean up our house…