People often say that even after living a spiritual life for years, they do not perceive any substantial change in themselves. Now when you say you want to change yourself, you must first ask what is it that you want to change. If you go on cutting a pair of trousers, it will turn into shorts. If there is something you do not like, if you do not want to become something, then what is it that you want to become? What should a human being be like?
The nature of the mind is uniform in every age, the only difference is some people get affected by it and some dont. For example, a person may be prone to anger, he is aware of this and also that there is no cure for his anger. He gets affected by that and feels guilty. This is one state. The other is, he gets angry, and is aware that he got angry, but says it is all right. He leaves it behind the way a car leaves milestones behind. Some people are able to leave thoughts behind, but there are many who continue to carry the thoughts. However, the thoughts are uniform among all people because thoughts are a product of the bodys chemistry. So there is no need to philosophize too much on this.
The higher thoughts that appear in the state of turiya are a different subject matter, but the thoughts that appear in the jagrita, waking, swapna, dreaming, and sushupti, sleep, states are a product of the chemical laboratory of the body. These are lower experiences of the consciousness. These three states are called bhu loka, bhuvah loka and swah loka in the Gayatri mantra. Higher than these are maha loka, janah loka and tapo loka. These are the three kinds of thoughts that appear during dhyana. The last state is satya loka, this is the last thought.
Consciousness has three grades. The highest grade is satyata, the state of truth, and the three experiences of jagrita, swapna and sushupti are material experiences produced from the chemical laboratory in the body. Thoughts of lust, anger and greed are products of these processes. If you take a little marijuana, your thoughts will change because it will influence the chemicals in the body. Take a sleeping pill and it will immediately enter your chemical laboratory and make you sleepy. If you eat dhatura (thorn-apple) you will have strange experiences. When the chemicals in these things enter the body, they encounter the juices of the body and according to the age of the person, create an effect. This is external influence.
There is also internal influence brought about by hormones which change according to age. Their activity produces emotions such as restlessness, anxiety, excitement, lust, anger, greed, envy, dislike, cruelty, compassion, kindness and love. The thoughts of inferiority, egoism, superiority, lust or anger do not come from somewhere outside; they are attached to your body. These are experiences that are produced from the chemical laboratory of the body. This is why yoga says keep the food, air, water and internal activity unadulterated. The hormones can be controlled through the yogic practices of asana, pranayama, bandha, mudra, meditation, etc. These practices reduce the influence of the chemicals to an extent, though they dont stop them entirely. Kabir says:
Nabhee kamala se surataa chaalee, sulataa dama ulataayaa,
Trikuti mahala kee khabara paree jaba, aasana adhara jamaayaa.
Jaagrata svapna sushuptee jaanee, turiyaa taara milaayaa,
Antara anubhava taalee laagee, shoonya mandala mein samaayaa.
Chaalee surataa charee gagana para, anahada naada bajaayaa,
Ruma-jhuma, ruma-jhuma ho ranakaaraa, vaa mein surata samaayaa.
Devee deva vahaan kachhu naaheen, naheen dhoopa nahin chhaayaa.
My awareness flowed up from the lotus of the navel, and then reversed itself.
The palace of trikuti was realized, and my asana established in space.
The states of jagrata, swapna and sushupti became known, and the wire of turiya connected.
The inner experience opened up; I was immersed in the circle of void.
Higher in the sky the consciousness rose, and the anahad nada was heard.
In that celestial music my consciousness lost itself,
No gods and goddesses existed in that space; there was neither sunshine nor shade.
All saints say this. Therefore do not pay attention to any of the thoughts arising in the mind. Today you are getting thoughts of greed, tomorrow of envy; it is natural for the thoughts to come. And they come uniformly to everyone, the same thoughts that come to you come to me also. There is no difference in human thoughts. The only difference is, you become disturbed by your thoughts and when the same thoughts come to me, I know the way out. You have been carrying your thoughts on your shoulders and I leave them behind.
The mind is restless like a river. The water that is here right now moves to another place seconds later, and then flows away. In the same way, in the river-like mind thoughts are a flow. Dont follow them, dont get influenced by the thoughts of despair or joy. No thought stays in the mind forever. If a thought becomes stable, it means that the mind has become still.