Question: I am 58 years old retired soldier. I am suffering from a peculiar syndrome. When I go to temple or sit for prayers I get all imaginary fearful and negative thoughts. I always feel guilty as if I have asked God all bad things for me or my near and dear ones. How to get rid of this feeling? How to control the thoughts and bring the mind to peace? Kindly bless me.
Swamiji: In the background of 56 years of addressing devotees and seekers, what I have to tell you is: Do not ever wrestle or fight with any kind of undesirable imaginations or thoughts. Understand that your mind or mind-substance is far ‘subtler’ and permeating than ‘space’. Even in the sea, a number of waves, breakers, bubbles etc. arise. Though they arise, emerge and subside ceaselessly, the sea is not the least affected.
My dear son, your mind is a much subtler sea. Let any imagination, fearful or negative, arise there. As they arise, they will also subside. Understand that they emerge only to subside, and by emergence or subsidence they cannot do anything to the mind-substance.
Will you take to this message and see that your fearful and negative thoughts have no effect on you? If they come up only to subside, why should you take note of them? Can you extract any thought or imagination and then say “here it is”? In as much as they are not extractable, they only emerge to subside. Why are you worried about this occurrence?
To the mind-substance, this emergence and the subsequent subsidence have no effect at all. As I explain, you should understand it and the understanding should become a ground for you to treat your fearfulness and bring it to a state of extinction. This is certainly possible. Try and let me know.