Whichever method one chooses to begin the practice, eventually the seeker finds that mental control is not going to achieve the result on its own. There comes a time when the recognition comes that active intervention cannot achieve what an opening or receptivity to the higher Force can provide. This makes sense when one reflects on it. The ‘mind-stuff’ (citta) reacts both to inbound perceptions and impulses and to mental process. The goal of bringing the mind-stuff to a state of quiescence, therefore, is in somewhat of a direct conflict with the idea of actively managing, rejecting, directing and controlling the mind. Sri Aurobindo provides insight into the processes involved to achieve the silence of the mind.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “To silence the mind it is not enough to throw back each thought as it comes, that can only be a subordinate movement. One must get back from all thought and be separate from it, a silent consciousness observing the thoughts if they come, but not oneself thinking or identified with the thoughts. Thoughts must be felt as outside things altogether. It is then easier to reject thoughts or let them pass without their disturbing the quietude of the mind.”

“It is not easy to get into the Silence. That is only possible by throwing out all mental-vital activities. It is easier to let the Silence descend into you, i.e., to open yourself and let it descend. The way to do this and the way to call down the higher powers is the same. It is to remain quiet at the time of meditation, not fighting with the mind or making mental efforts to pull down the Power or the Silence but keeping only a silent will and aspiration for them. If the mind is active one has to learn to look at it, drawn back and not giving any sanction from within, until its habitual or mechanical activities begin to fall quiet for want of support from within. If it is too persistent, a steady rejection without strain or struggle is the one thing to be done.”
Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 6, Sadhana Through Work, Meditation and Love and Devotion, Sadhana through Meditation, pp. 146-149

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com He is author of 16 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.