Sometimes we are assailed by thoughts of past misunderstandings, present desires and fears, or future expectations, and we cannot seem to stop them. This is demonic mind either causing trouble – or blessing us! Even the Buddha* had hallucinations just before enlightenment, so we are not alone.
Sometimes, thoughts are so strong that even being in the present moment doesn’t seem to help; they just pop up.
One thing to remember is that we cannot think of two things at once; different thoughts and images maybe, but not two word-thoughts at the same time.
If the mind is in turmoil, mentally repeating a prayer or mantra cuts out the thoughts! I just say a mantra very fast for a few short moments, and this breaks the pattern of behaviour – and the mind behaves itself!
The prayer or mantra we use is up to us. Try it, and see if it works.
*In Buddhism, Mara is the demon who assaulted Gautama Buddha beneath the bodhi tree, using violence, sensory pleasure and mockery in an attempt to prevent the Buddha from attaining enlightenment.
Mara personifies unskillfulness, the “death” of the spiritual life. He is a tempter, distracting humans from spiritual practice through making the mundane seem alluring, or the negative seem positive. This is a universal theme.
The concept of Mara represents and personifies negative qualities found in the human ego and psyche. The stories associated with Mara remind us that such demonic forces can be tamed by controlling one’s mind, cravings and attachments.