Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation.
Continuing researches on OM as focus of meditation.
As we saw, between A and U came unmanii. Likewise between U and M must come a transition. This is called अलाद्नी/alaadanii. Here, as taijasa moves into prajna, there is again a suspension; a point at which one is neither in dreaming nor in deep sleep but balanced delicately between the two. In meditational terms this of course refers to a further shift in consciousness/awareness. It is, in practical terms, the same as unmanii insofar as it is a transition. Unlike umanii, however, the experience is exponentially more subtle and is, actually, not an 'experience' at all. Simply a shift. This is where things become truly esoteric.
For novices, the transitional condition of unmanii can seem either euphoric or horrific (depending on the overall condition of the mind), but virtually all who undertake serious meditational practice will experience this transitional stage. Considerably fewer numbers will truly attain the alaadanii shift. As with Vedanta as a whole, it takes determination and trust that there is something more to keep working for.
This is not to put you off! It is to highlight the fact that if you feel you are having 'experience' in meditation, then you are still only going through the unmanii stage. To 'remember experience' and to have description for it, is wonderful and fulfilling enough. ...but do not stop for it is not the end!!!
So why attempt description of a state indescribable? It is, in fact, for encouragement. Those who would be professionals at anything always require the 'carrot' dangled, the signs that they are improving and indications of what can still be attained. Many amateurs become professionals once they have had a taste of whatever it is that they are studying. Hobbyists have been known to switch to professional status when their work becomes all-absorbing and brings rewards.
Those who would climb the highest mountain, require the guidance and the experience of those who have gone before. Many a mountaineer has been lured by the false summit.
Alaadanii is to perceive, at the subtlest of levels, the root of our thoughts, the germination of our karma (actions). In unmanii we see thoughts rise and fall and understand their grossness. In alaadanii this is another dimension and is not at all gross. Here we encounter साक्षि-भाव/saakshi-bhava, the absolute observer, of our samskaara-s. We begin to appreciate how we can be in the world but not of it. Take care, however. There is still room for delusion, misconception. The very base of things now begins to move and mutate as we start to understand all the connections. We are not yet free of our ego beings and if due care is not taken, we can become part of the smoke and miss seeing the mirror… (some will by now be wondering at the similarity with the name 'Aladdin' - an exploration of this will take place on Story-day very soon!)
As with unmanii, the transitional stage is a mere glimpsing, not at all long-lasting. It can colour the experience on either side of it however. In unmanii, if we have not made appropriate preparation, purifying and clarifying our mind, we can take extraneous impressions into our meditations and these affect our 'visitation' of U. Conversely, those impressions from U are brought back through unmanii and colour our waking experience.
How much more true this is of alaadanii. Do not mistake; it is possible to meditate to high levels without having correctly purified and clarified and this will have lasting and deep effects which act as deflectors; as high as we may think we have climbed, we cannot sustain the gain in waking life. It is at this level that the lack of appropriate knowledge can undo us. Without appropriate understanding of what is being observed, our judgement becomes clouded, false even, and there is an inherent danger of bringing forth latent values and traits which then colour our vaishvanara. Vulnerabilities may arise, prejudices flood forth, or disillusionment twist us away from the journey.
It is essential that at each stage, the sadhak keeps focus, takes charge of the ego and sits in simple observation. Anything which takes form of judgement, reaction, sensation of any sort must be quelled. They are false and are distractions to the meditator.
These are 'high' things to ponder. Always go back to basics. Aasana, praana, emptying… constantly review your technique. Being aware, reading these things, working on Vedanta, add to the knowledge. Daily practice is purification, shravanam and mananam build on clarification. Do not forget these things as you work upwards...inwards!... in meditation.