Nisargadatta Maharaj: Ignore your thoughts


“It is the mind that tells you that the mind is there. Don’t be deceived. All the endless arguments about the mind are produced by the mind itself, for its own protection, continuation and expansion. It is the blank refusal to consider the convolutions and convulsions of the mind that can take you beyond it.”

Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That

My comments:

The word ‘mind’ in the above quote is synonymous with the false sense of individual separate self. This self, this ‘I’, is just a notion, an idea reinforced by the mind. The ‘I’ is a thought, and it is reinforced by thoughts.

Trying to figure this all out (ie. more thought) is a function of the same mind that is ultimately false, imaginary: it is a fruitless endeavour.

A particularly effective sadhana (spiritual practice) is to ignore the content of thoughts as they appear within our consciousness. The energy of the sense of ‘I’ then begins to loosen and its mechanics are exposed and revealed. We can then start to see things as they actually are.

There are broadly two ways this can be done:

1) by concentrating on something else such as a mantra, the breath, or by chanting, etc – ie. a distraction from thoughts;

2) by allowing thoughts to wash past you like clouds in the sky, and in so doing not paying attention to the content of thoughts, eg. a surrender, acceptance, gratitude or mindfulness practice.

When looking for a sadhana, you will naturally be able to find the one that works for you by looking to see which one gives you greatest sense of peace and relief, and by seeing which practice you are naturally inclined towards.

For more about spiritual practices and how they work click here

9 thoughts on “Nisargadatta Maharaj: Ignore your thoughts

  1. Is there a difference between an unempathetic over-attachment to the ego and a humble sense of one’s own identity? A sense of self may be an illusion but it’s an unavoidable one.


    1. Hi Mark

      Happy New Year to you!

      The message being conveyed here is about completely seeing through the illusion of self and seeing things as they truly are. This is something that many people down the ages, myself included, have testified as being their experiential reality. It is for you to verify this for yourself, if you are interested in doing so. At the end of it all you are still ‘you’, in that I am still ‘Tom’, and I still see things from Tom’s point of view – so in that sense identity could be said to remain when self is seen to be illusory. But the notion of ‘Tom’ being a separate person with autonomy and doership is seen through.

      I think you are talking about various degrees of self-centredness, a sliding scale from very egotistical to almost-no-ego. I am talking about ego itself being an illusion. This is not about improving yourself by increasing humility or being less self-centred, for example. Self-improvement, commendable as it may be, is actually based upon the false and illusory notion of self. It subtlety strengthens the illusion and perpetuates suffering. That is not to say we should not do it.

      However when things are seen as they actually are, ie. no-self, no-doer, then the body and mind naturally starts to function in more sane, less neurotic and more efficient ways, and suffering eases. eg. humility tends to naturally emerge as nothing is seen to be of ‘my doing’. How can we be proud of our actions when there is no doer? It is just our natural way of being, free from illusions of self.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank You
    think you might like this:

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    Thank You


  3. Tom, would you necessarily recommend some very simple “practices” to facilitate stilling the mind/letting thoughts be such as ordinary everyday activities without added distractions. For example, washing the dishes without listening to the radio, eating without reading a book, walking/taking a train without using FB/listening to music etc…
    Or does this just depend on ones own temperament. Thanks.


    1. Yes, simplify your life, remove distractions, throw away the TV and negative media, avoid over-sociaising…Ramana stated that diet is supremely important – small amounts of healthy nutritious vegetarian food (sattvic food)


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