Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation.
How are you finding the daily OM focus? Noticing the effects of different usage? You have been introduced to straight OM chanting, breath chanting and, last week, to meditation upon OM as the object, that being the Universe. How next can we approach our connection to OM? Through the concept of sound.
Sound is vibration and vibration is ever-present: vibration exists underneath all of the grosser aspects of being. The subtle sound of OM is a constant presence beneath and behind everything, from the rocks to the sea, from the amoeba to thee. It can be heard when truly delving in meditation, ever sounding out mmmmmmm....loud and serene.
OM is the sound of Original Manufacture, the emergence of the objective universe. (It is considered that OM is the basis for 'amen, amin, shalom, hu…' and also for the phrase 'in the beginning was The Word, and The Word was "God"'.) All sound, all objects. recede back into that place of emergence when we meditate appropriately. Eventually, this leads to a deep stillness and silence which, paradoxically, is experienced as the silence from which the sound of OM itself emerged. This silence is described as being the fourth state, turiiya, beyond the three sounds of A, U, and M. Listen to and feel the vibration while remembering OM. Do not be distracted by the swooshing or buzzing heard in your ears - that is more surface level, coming from the body as it functions, like the hum of the engine in a car. All people will hear their body thus - some are afflicted by tinnitus and it can be very bothersome … this practice of listening for OM can actually be a help to calm the distress of that disorder!
Listening carefully for this sound of the universe aids stillness, pure silence, tranquillity beyond sound. Gradually, the deeper meaning of the mantra reveals itself, simply by sitting in its vibration.
It is inevitable that thoughts will rise up during practice. Let them. Then let them recede of their own accord, which they will do willingly as you pay them no attention. That is to say, the listening for OM is not used to suppress thoughts and emotions. Rather, you become the full observer of the thoughts but they cannot cause you any disturbance - you become a neutral witness of the stream of thoughts in the mind. Picture this as an example; you are standing at the shore and see the waves coming one after the other. All you are doing is watching them. Not interacting. The power of the sea sucks the waves back into its being and you are left untouched by them. This is how your thoughts must become as you listen for OM. In this same example, there are the shallower sounds of the wind over the water or across the strand, the sound of the waves themselves as they hit the shore, the deeper sound of the waves as they rise up ready to lunge…. And if you are really communing, you can also hear the deeper sea, the sigh of its depths. This is what you are attempting with OM meditation as sound.
For the next week in this practice, as you internally repeat the sound of OM, imagine that underlying vibration of the universe, as if it were coming from all places and through all things.