Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation.
How did you find Process One in the practice of OM meditation? It is quite a good idea to keep a small notebook to hand for when you emerge from each session. Before rising from aasana, simply write down keywords - whatever the first main thoughts are now battling for your attention. Why do this? It is a measure, a gauge of progress. You may think you will remember, but just as photographs of our youth can jog the memory of how embarrassingly naïve we were, so can this 'snapshot' book! This is a good thing. To be able to say at some stage later "ah the innocence".
Process one itself is very powerful and many folk remain using that technique all their lives. There are other processes which can be utilised though. We shall go through these one at a time, giving you a full week to practice each. In this way you can find which one suits your current state of being. Then you can select and practice only that one until such time as a natural progression brings you to using another of the processes. For some folk, different processes suit different days - this possibility is always there, but generally speaking it is advisable to become adept in one at a time.
Using the breath as the mantra. Still visualise the OM, however, instead of chanting aloud, 'hear' the OM with each out breath. The rhythm of breathing must be maintained just as in process one.
As you do this, you may find automatically that the OM begins to 'chant' on the in breath also! This is fine. Even if it doesn't, you may like to experiment with doing this. OM in both directions of breath. This can bring a different dimension altogether in the understanding of the presence of OM. It is quite profound. The difference in rhythm will begin to manifest more here - a natural slowing and deepening. The cyclical process brings a harmony, a synchronicity, to the BMI and OM.
As before, utilise this in daily practice for the allotted 20 - 30 minutes. The timing is given purely as a guide. What the majority of people experience when beginning these exercises is that there is a natural finish point. It can (though not always) be found to relate to the person's speed and tone. The quicker and higher the chanting (whether aloud or silently), often the shorter the meditation. No thought is involved. It just happens.
It is advisable, of course, to be sure that your session is not being jammed between two important appointments! Remember the suggested optimal time is after morning bathing but before breakfast… this leads one to consider that rising earlier than perhaps has been the case till now is required. This you must determine for yourselves. One can meditate at lunchtime, or after work, but this often comes with 'baggage' of the day. To meditate before entering the fray generally prepares one better and means that the mind is already, usually, in a calmer state.
[Traditionally, ब्रह्म मुहुर्त/Brahma muhurta (God's hour) is used for meditation (and such hatha practices as suryanamaskaar - salute to the sun). It is the period which begins approximately one and a half hours before sunrise. In ashram, the bell would ring at 4am and by 5am chanting would begin…]