(Residing in fire)
1. You must have a pure mind if you want to realize the Self. Unless the mind is set free and casts away all desires, cravings, worries, delusion, pride, lust, attachment, likes and dislikes, it cannot enter into the domain of Supreme Peace and un-alloyed felicity of the Immortal Abode.
2. The mind can compared to a garden. Just as you can cultivate good flowers and fruits in a garden by ploughing and manuring the land and removing the weeds and thorns and watering the plants and trees, so also you can cultivate the flower of devotion in the garden of your mind by removing the impurities of the mind such as lust, anger, greed, delusion, pride, etc., and watering it with Divine thoughts. Weeds and thorns grow in the rainy season, disappear in summer; but their seeds remain underneath the ground. As soon as there is a shower, the seeds again germinate and sprout out. Even so the Vrittis or modifications of the mind manifest on the surface of the conscious mind, then disappear and assume a subtle seed-state, the form of Samskaras or impressions. The Samskaras again become Vrittis either through internal or external stimulus. When the garden is clean, when there are no weeds and thorns you can get good fruits. So also, when the mind is pure, when the mind is free from lust, anger, etc., you can have the fruit of good deep meditation. Therefore cleanse the mind of its impurities first. Then the current of meditation will flow by itself.
(Jewel in lotus)
3. If you want to always keep your garden clean, you will have to remove not only the weeds and thorns and other small plants but also the seeds that lie underneath the ground which will germinate during any rainy season. Thus, you will have to destroy not only the big waves or Vrittis of the mind, but also the Samskaras which are the seeds for births and deaths, which germinate the Vrittis again and again, if you want to enter into Samadhi and attain liberation or perfect freedom.
4. If you apply fire to green wood it will not burn, but if you apply fire to a piece of dried wood it will catch fire and burn at once. Even so, those who have not purified their minds, will not be able to start the fire of meditation. They will be sleeping or dreaming or will be building castles in the air if they sit for meditation. But those who have removed the impurities of their minds by Japa, service, charity, Pranayama, etc., will enter into deep meditation as soon as they sit down for it. The pure ripe mind will burn at once with the fire of meditation.
5. If you do not clean or polish a plate daily, it will lose its lustre. It is the same with the mind. The mind becomes impure if it is not kept clean by the regular practice of meditation. Meditation removes the dross of the mind in an effective manner. Therefore, regularly practice meditation, preferably early in the morning.
(The messenger of Shiva)
6. Do not cause pain or suffering to any living being from greed, selfishness, irritability or annoyance. Give up anger or ill-will. Give up the spirit of fighting and heated debates. Do not argue. If you quarrel with somebody or if you have a heated debate with anybody, you cannot meditate properly for 3 or 4 days. Your balance of mind will be upset. Much energy will be wasted in useless channels. Your blood will become hot. Your nerves will be shattered. You must try your best to keep a serene mind. A serene mind is a valuable spiritual asset for you.
7. You must practice austerity of speech if you really want to attain quick progress in meditation. You must always speak sweet and loving words. You must speak only the truth at any cost, or you must not speak at all. You must not speak any harsh word or any indecent word that is calculated to hurt the feelings of others. You should weigh your words carefully before they are spoken. You must speak a few words only. This is austerity of speech or Vak – Tapas that will conserve energy and give you peace of mind and inner strength.
8. Examine your character. Pick up the defects in it. Find out its opposite. Let us say that you suffer from irritability. The opposite of irritability is patience. Try to develop this virtue by meditating on the abstract virtue of patience. Regularly, every morning sit down at 4 a.m. in Padma or Siddha Asana in a solitary room for half an hour, and begin to think on patience, its value, its practice under provocation, taking one point one day, another on another day, and thinking as steadily as you can, recalling the mind when it wanders. Think of yourself as perfectly patient, a model of patience and end it with a vow: This patience which is my true Self, I will feel and show today and always.
(The one who responds quickly)
9. For a few days there probably won’t be a change. You will still feel and show irritability. However, you must go on practicing steadily every morning. If you see an irritable thing, the thought of: I should have been patient. will flash into your mind. Continue practicing. Soon the thought of patience will arise with the irritable impulse and the outer manifestation will be checked. Continue practicing. The irritable impulse will grow feebler and feebler until you find that irritability has disappeared and that patience has become your normal attitude towards annoyances. In this manner you can develop various virtues such as sympathy, self-restraint, purity, humility, benevolence, nobility, generosity, etc.
10. It is the actions of the mind that are truly termed Karmas. True liberation results from the disenthralment of the mind. Those who have freed themselves from the fluctuation of their minds come in possession of the supreme Nishtha (meditation). Should the mind be purged of all its impurities, then it will become very calm and all the Samsaric delusions attendant with its births and deaths will be soon destroyed.
11. Concentration of the mind on God after purification can give you real happiness and knowledge. You are born for this purpose only. You are carried away to external objects through Raga and Moha. You must dive deeper. The Divine Flame, the Light of lights is burning there. Plunge deep. Merge within.
By Swami Sivananda – “Easy Steps on Yoga “