Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation.
We have spent the last several weeks exploring AUM in some depth. This has not been definitive...it can only become so through making it one's own saadhana.
How, then, to approach OM meditation? This in part is determined by whether one is a complete novice, or truly seeking the ultimate spiritual experience. OM is truly universal. It can be chanted at anytime, in any place. No good being 'precious' about it! A simple, even chanting of OM will yield positivity of feeling, whether or not one has any idea of its inner meanings and attenuations.
Be gentle with yourself. Have no expectations. Remember at the beginning of this teaching there was advice to limit your efforts to not more than half an hour. That still applies. Until you have built up your knowledge and understanding as well as the physical discipline which is required at first (aasana, praana, etc), it is best to keep things simple. Indeed, this can be a motto at all times! By all means, use guided meditations for the practice of stilling the mind and stabilising the body. No error. However, if you truly seek freedom of Self, you must sit OM alone…
At first, then, perhaps a simple, rhythmic repetition is all that will be needed. Take that long and deep, lung-filling breath. Not strained, but complete to the diaphragm. Hold for the briefest moment and as the breath is released in controlled fashion - at a pace which is comfortable, neither rushed or held back - allow the chant to rise.
Feel the vibration of A at the bottom of the larynx; the rising of U in the uvula; the thrust of M upon the lips. Feel it complete and enter silence, breath expended and lung ready to draw inwards once more.
In this first stage thrumming form of meditation, do no overly seek to think on the meanings. Simply let the chant drift through you. Be not surprised if you find that OM becomes your constant companion, ever at the back of thoughts which inevitably tumble back in after a 'session'. This meditative form alone can bring many benefits to daily living; pacifying, steadying, widening…
Having practiced the actual sound of OM, another method is to chant only in the mend, allowing the breath to flow as if chanting. The is good praana practice. It also enhances focus as it is a little more difficult to keep OM at the forefront and all other thought at bay. It requires a degree of synchronization - mind, breath, mantra. On of the things which will happen, both with the first and second method, is that the breathing will improve. It is virtually impossible to practice this way and not find that one's lungs become stronger, can breath deeper and for longer… and it might surprise you to find that your body aches around the chest and back as the forgotten breathing muscles are rediscovered!
It goes without saying that using these methods, very centred on the physical, will also have benefits in terms of the psychological and physiological - not least, reduction of stress response and lowering of blood pressure.
Incorporate these disciplines now. Remember to keep things short and simple at first. Let OM be the only focus of the mind.