Question: I am constantly bothered by thoughts during my meditation. Is there any way I can punish the mind so that it will behave?

Sri Chinmoy: If the mind becomes restless, that does not mean that we have to punish the mind all the time. What we should do is always be conscious of the mind. If the master of the house comes to learn that his long-time faithful servant has recently formed the habit of stealing, he does not immediately dismiss the servant. The servant's past sincerity and dedication are still fresh in his mind. He waits and observes unnoticed and unconcerned, feeling that his servant will turn over a new leaf. In the meantime, the servant becomes aware that his master has come to know of his conduct. He stops stealing. He goes one step further; to please his master, he works even more sincerely and more devotedly than he did before. Similarly, when we become aware of the mind's restless activities and its tricks, we have to be silent for some time and observe the mind quite unconcerned. Before long, we shall see that our mind, the thief, will feel ashamed of its conduct. We must not forget that during that time we have to think of ourselves as the soul and not as the body, for the soul alone can be the master of the mind. At the appointed hour, the mind will start to listen to the dictates of the soul.