When doing japa, I find my mind wondering. How can I overcome this?

In the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita it is said:
“Chanchalam hi manah krishna pramathi balavaddridham” (6:34)

The mind is wanders by nature.  The ability of the mind to think about things without having to be in a place physically is a faculty of the mind.  The problem arises when the mind roams of its own accord and does not focus where we want it to.

The mind is notorious for wandering off on its own accord.  The mind is like a flowing river.  It will flow continuously in many directions.  What we need to do is to create a path for it, in which it will remain and flow within defined limits.  This way the mind will only move within territories that we want it to.

The way we can do this is by continuously directing our mind through this path frequently, so that our mind becomes familiar with this path.  In this way it will become more accustomed to remaining within the limits defined by us. In the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita this is described as follows:

Abhyasen thu kaunteya vairāgyena cha grihyate” (6:35)

There are many ways of trying to focus on the mind such as yam (restraints), niyam (disciplines), āsan (sitting positions), prānāyām (control of breathing) etc.  It takes constant practice to be successful in controlling the mind.

Another important factor in controlling the mind is renunciation, which means giving up less important things for more important things.  We need to prioritise things that are important and start letting go of immaterial things.  Our main priority in life should be achieving God, and therefore, slowly we should start leaving other things aside and concentrate only on God.  Of course, it is important to work and make a living.  We must however, remember that our priority in life is to find God.  We should work, eat and earn as much as is necessary to survive, but our focus and priority must always be God.

So in summary, by practise we can learn to limit the wandering of the mind and progressively develop increased focus on God.

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