"No matter which path you follow for meditation, the first and foremost task is to try to make the mind calm and quiet. "
– Sri Chinmoy 
Beginners to meditation find that when they sit down to meditate their mind is akin to a mad monkey; no matter how hard we try, the power of the mind’s thoughts seem to make meditation most difficult. However, it is possible to have a completely clear mind. It is not easy, but there are various techniques that can be used to quieten the mind. These are some techniques that I recommend.
1. The Source of Thoughts.
Whenever a thought appears in your mind, ask yourself – where did this thought originate from? Try to dive deep into the source of this thought. When you follow the source of your thoughts you realise that our real essence is not mental thoughts; there is something beyond thought. This is a powerful technique for calming our mind because we realise there is a separation between what we are and our thoughts. When we feel thoughts as separate from our identity it is easy to stop them completely.
2. Will Power.
Another technique to stop thoughts is to use the power of our will. Develop the determination to stop all thoughts completely. Feel like you are vigilantly guarding your mind. As soon as a thought appears stop it entering. If you like you can imagine throwing it out of your mind completely. The important thing is to not allow any thought, whether good or bad.
3. The Spiritual Heart
A most effective technique for reducing the power is to move our awareness from the mind to the heart. The mind, by nature, invites thoughts, The heart is the seat of the soul; it is in the heart where we can feel an expansive quality, not limited by the mind.
"The mind has its own power, and right now this power is stronger than your present eagerness and determination to meditate. But if you can get help from your heart, then gradually you will be able to control your mind. The heart, in turn, gets constant assistance from the soul, which is all light and all power."
– Sri Chinmoy 
The nature of the heart is to identify with a meditative consciousness. In the heart thoughts will automatically lose their power. To enter the heart we can listen to the heart beat. We can also imagine a beautiful heart garden. The important thing is to feel our whole sense of awareness leaving our mind and entering into the heart.
Repeating a mantra many times creates a meditative vibration. It focuses the mind in a very direct way; the mind gets used to concentrating on one particular thing at a time. When our mantra ends, our mind will be clearer and more receptive to meditation.
The real secret to a quiet mind is a genuine aspiration to realise the benefits of meditation. If we are satisfied with what we have and what we are, we will not feel the necessity of diving deep within. However, if we feel the necessity of discovering our inner reality, we will have the motivation and enthusiasm for persevering with our meditation. This is important, because, when our aspiration is intense it brings down a grace from above; it is this grace which makes a silent mind much easier to achieve.
 +  The Silent mind by Sri Chinmoy
Photo and article By Tejvan Pettinger.
Oxford Sri Chinmoy Centre