Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation.
How is your meditational and japa practice developing? Is it forming a part of your every day, or is it remaining a thought, a 'something to be done when…….'?
It is accepted that introducing spiritual/devotional disciplines can be every bit as challenging as taking control of diet or exercise! In some ways it is even harder. If we have people around us who are very close and have an 'investment' in who we are, they can be more accepting of a change of lifestyle which shows visible purpose. Meditation and japa are a 'lifestyle' choice also, but one which has much deeper implication and for those who are not this way inclined, it can seem almost selfish.
As we progress inwards, also, we can appear to withdraw from the external. We will begin, naturally, to drop the more frivolous aspects of life, we will be seeking more meaning in every day activity and, perhaps, be hoping that the ones we love will travel with us.
Very often, though, they cannot. Not on this particular journey. The most we can reasonably expect is that those loved ones have the ability to allow us our process, remaining engaged and interested even when they do not understand. We also have to find ways to help that transition. If there are children clamouring for attention, perhaps discuss with them how your "me" time is something similar to their playtime. They can have fun on their own without interference, but knowing you will be there when they are ready to eat or sleep and so on. If it is your partner, you can point to the fact that individual time which improves your own wellbeing can only be beneficial to a relationship. A healthy bond is one which knows how to flex with the different demands placed upon it.
This is brought up here because very often the excuses and justifications for not taking even a half hour a day for oneself relate to 'the other/s'. Take charge of your time. Mark a slot in each day in which external demands are at their lowest and use it well!
The AUM mantra can become your constant companion. Withdrawing for a specific japa and meditational focus is NOT escapism (oh yes you will have that accusation and many others bandied about!) Rather it is of such a vibration that the mind becomes crystal clear in its practice and more able in its response. OM is the very pulse of creation and by allowing it to ring within you, you are aligning yourself with all that is manifest. Make OM your anchor in the buffeting waves of samsaara.
We are going to be studying more on AUM from the first Monday of 2015. Let the reading not be your only part. Resolve to practice. Daily.
"A" of AUM is representative of the waking, conscious state - the one we call awareness. The state in which you are as you read this. It is the state in which we transact with the world. It is body consciousness. It is 'gross'. When we sit and perform japa, as we chant the "A" allow any thoughts to ponder on this only - that throughout our meditation, we remain always conscious, always aware.
As we find our chanting moving into the next letter there is a transitional point - this is called उन्मनी/unmanii, which derives form upa (drawing near [to]) mann (mind/heart).
"U" of AUM is representative of dream state. This is a state of mind where we are aware but that awareness is of total unreality - a non-reality created by our mind. It is 'subtle'. When we sit and perform japa, as we chant the "U" allow any thoughts to ponder on this only - that through meditation we can begin to observe the world and are aware of 'mind' as a concept.
The next transition stage is called अलदनी/aladanii which points to deconstruction of thought; understanding from where our thoughts arise and how they form.
"M" of AUM is representative of deep sleep state. This is where there is no awareness. It is the subconscious mind, that from which all else rises; it is 'causal'. When we sit and perform japa, as we chant the "M" allow any thoughts to ponder on this only - that we are aware because of the causal state; that of which we are aware arises from this base mind and that it too must be transcended.
A third transitional state now comes. It is समाधि/samaadhi - the condition of moving beyond. It is bliss awareness where thoughts no longer have a place.
तुरीय/TURIIYA is the silence beyond AUM. Here we become total observer and "realise" the manufactured state of 'life'. Here we know Consciousness at its universal and unifying level.
As we progress from here, there will be a need to widen your understanding through the other threads of teaching here at Aatmaavrajanam. If you have not done so till now, then please consider going back and reading through all that is available. Going into the deeper and more meaningful aspects of AUM meditation requires a lot of personal commitment, purification and clarification as a process incorporating other parts of saadhana. Meditation, to reach its fullest potential, which is Yoga (union), requires knowledge of its processes and what place everything has in our lives.
It is not that you cannot read what comes. For it to begin to have full meaning, however, it is imperative that there is an established daily practice. This is not an abstract, esoteric ideal; it is a tool of discipline through which almost anything can be achieved.
Be not in a hurry! Setting up the discipline ought to be a considered and concrete thing. There is absolutely nothing wrong in utilising only that which has been learned thus far and making that the saadhana. Aasana, praana, japa are enough to be getting on with! By all means continue reading and taking what you can from it - but just as asking for the recipe of a meal does not mean that you have learned to cook, so it is that knowing all the terms and 'looking the part' does not mean that you are meditating; far less transcending.
We are approaching a time which traditionally brings about 'resolution'… resolve to make saadhana your daily 'must'!