Attaining a deep inner peace in the being is a process that can begin wherever an individual current is in their inner life. For someone just starting out, there is no expectation of some sudden miraculous silencing of the mind (although of course, it is possible). Rather, the initial attempts can be modest, providing a basis and foundation for further steps to follow. Quieting the churning of the mind is an early stage that the seeker can utilize to gain control over other aspects of the being. If we stand back and observe our mental process, we can see that all kinds of sense impressions are captured and examined, jumping from one thing to another. Some of these cause more extended thought, or in cases of things perceived as harmful or negative, worry, fear, frustration or other reactions that cause the mind to continually revolve around the concern or issue and not let it go, in many cases repeating the same thoughts in a cycle without exit. Many times the mind will wind up dwelling on some past circumstance, event or experience, or else, it will focus on some future imagination.

Cultivating the standpoint of the witness observing the action of the mind is a first and important step. There are also a number of recommended methods to bring a measure of quiet to the mind, some of which are set forth by Swami Vivekananda in his lectures on Raja Yoga. He discusses at great length the way sense impressions, thoughts and feelings disturb the quiet of the ‘mind stuff’. Observation without attachment is one method he recommends, so that as the mind runs, the observer remains free and does not grasp onto any of the running thoughts. Another point he provides is the connection of the breath to the thought. By consciously gaining control of the breath, the mind can become quiet. Sometimes a mantra is used to push out all the conflicting thoughts and bring coherence to the mind-stuff. Once the mind is freed of the extraneous disturbances, the mantra is simply released and the mind is quiet.

All of these are preliminary processes of achieving a quiet and attentive status in the mind. Further stages can develop that lead to the silence of the mind, the descent of a deep peace in the mind, etc. The first stage of the calm and quiet mind is an important milestone as one begins the yogic path, as it provides the foundation needed to take further steps and eventually gain mastery over not only the actions of the mind, but also the vital nature and its forms of disturbance.

The Mother observes: “Someone has asked me what I meant by these words: ‘One must be calm.’ It is obvious that when I tell someone, ‘Be calm’, I mean many different things according to the person. But the first indispensable calm is mental quietude, for generally that is the one that’s most lacking. When I tell someone, ‘Be calm’, I mean: Try not to have restless, excited, agitated thoughts; try to quieten your mind and to stop turning around in all your imaginations and observations and mental constructions.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Growing Within: The Psychology of Inner Development, Chapter IV Growth of Consciousness First Steps and Foundation, pp. 75-76

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 17 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.