Form the habit of deep introspection. Good aspirants who enter into deep meditation also march forward in sleep. Taking food immoderately or at the wrong time will affect your system and render meditation difficult.
Lead a life of self-restraint and back it up with meditation, japa (repetition of God's name), pranayama (yoga breathing) and asanas (postures). Fasting is beneficial. You can meditate well and seriously while fasting. The most significant fast is the fast of the heart - that is, renunciation of desires.
The mind may fall into a state of inactivity and the aspirant thinks he has reached the goal. This is a sad mistake. Divest yourself of anger, greed and attachment to sensual objects and their enjoyments. Be free from `love' and `hate' of others. Divest yourself from all affinities for objects. Follow proper diet, easy posture, purity of mind and body.
If the steps are not steady on the path, do more japa, intensify your vairagya (dispassion) , sit in one place and meditate. Serve. Have unshakable faith in the Lord. Cling to the Lord's divine name.
Surrender to the divine Lord. Pray to him sincerely. The mind will be powerless. Hand over charge of your body to the Lord and cease to think of it. The Lord is everywhere. He controls everything. He will protect you from all danger.
Rely on the Lord alone. If you put into practise one hundredth of what I say to you, you will surely attain God-realisation now and here.
A great emperor purchased a horse for ten thousand rupees. The horse was restless and no one was able to ride it. Then his son Sikandar said, "Beloved father, I can ride this horse." He sat on the horse and rode it in the direction of the sun. The horse galloped.
The emperor was quite astonished. He said, "O Sikandar: How did you manage to ride this horse?" Sikandar replied, "The horse was afraid of his own shadow so I made him run towards the sun." Such is the restless horse-mind also. If you turn it towards atman (self) it will be peaceful. If you turn it towards maya (delusion) it will jump and dance. (Sri Swami Sivananda)
The mind is the all in all. Its mastery leads to the renunciation of all. True renunciation is in the abnegation of the mind. It consists in renouncing all desires and egoism, not world existence. Through such mental abnegation you will be able to free yourself from pain. Then will come immortality in life - the enjoyment of the infinite delight of existence free from ego, founded on the oneness of all in Brahman.
Sanyasa (renunciation) is a mental state only. It is gerua (or colouring) of the heart and not of the cloth alone. He is a sanyasi who is free from passion and egoism, who possesses all the satvic qualities, even though he lives with the family and in the world. If you have a stainless mind you are a sanyasi (a renunciate), whether you live in a forest or in a city, whether you wear white cloth or an orange coloured robe, whether you shave your head or keep a long tuft of hair.
Shave the mind. This consists of getting rid of all attachment, passion, egoism, infatuation, lust, greed, anger, etc. Vedanta does not want you to renounce the world; it wants you to change your mental attitude. It wants you to give up this illusory feeling of `I- ness' and `mine-ness'.
Mind is a mass of objectified desires. Desire in the mind to eat has manifested as the tongue, the teeth and the stomach. Desire in the mind to walk has manifested as legs and feet. Control the mind and you control the desires. Eyes can only see. Ears can only hear.
Tongue can only taste. Nose can only smell. Skin can only touch. The five senses are blended in the mind and the mind directly sees, hears, smells, tastes and feels. It does this quite independent of the senses.
Understand clearly the aim of your life. Chalk out the line of work that is congenial to your aim. Then you should work hard to realise that ideal. Have your ideal ever before you and try, every second, to live up to it.
Develop a strong desire to remove carelessness and forgetfulness from your character. Have confidence in your own powers and faculties. Keep your mental poise in the world, without consideration of failure, without consideration of gain or loss, pleasure or pain.
Have the mind always rooted in God, amidst all the activities of life. (Sri Swami Sivananda)