Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


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Layer Awareness

Hari OM

Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation.

We are exploring different ways of using OM to focus our minds and enter higher meditation.  There are two more methodologies. Each of them is a variation on last week's, as they dwell upon the structure of OM.. That is to say, using the AUM+turiiya as a scaffold upon which to hang our contemplation.  Today we look at this from the point of view of levels of awareness.
The four parts of AUM have been likened to material, subtle, causal worlds and the silence beneath them. AUM can also refer to the levels of waking, dreaming and deep sleep. The "A" sound refers to the waking state of consciousness. The "U" part refers to the dreaming state of consciousness. The "M" refers to the deep sleep state of consciousness. The Silence after these three, refers to the witness consciousness (sakshi) which is the observer of the other three states of consciousness.

Why would the sadhak concern his or herself with whether or not we are sleeping, waking or somewhere between? Each state has a function in our awareness of the absolute reality. Also, it is said that the states of deep sleep, samaadhi and death (which we currently see as distinct and separate states) are very close together and that they function at similar levels. By contemplating the effects of each state, then, the sadhak can become more attuned as to which state they are actually in! If you have been following AUM-day fully, you will understand this, as samaadhi is the desirable state of the sadhak, not sleep. As well, for one who attains 'realisation', death is merely another state of being, holding no fear.

How to apply this to AUM? As with the practice given last week, it is easiest to begin by remembering the mantra very slowly, allowing yourself time to be aware of each of the levels. Steady and regular practice will bring things more readily to you and there will be less of actual 'method' and more of actual 'oh yes I see that!'

  • Beginning with "A", be aware of the waking state of consciousness. This simply means being aware of being awake. It is not the observation of the material world, as in the last method, but more about the awareness of how and who you are within that level. 'Oh yes, hello world, this is me seeing you!' rather than 'I seeeee yoouuuuu….'

  • Moving on to "U", be aware of the dreaming state of consciousness. This is the place where all sorts of weird and wonderful images may arise, profound insights can occur and so on. In this awareness meditation however, simply note the state of awareness which permits such randomness. Here you can glimpse the you who dreams, without being involved in the dreams.

  • Next comes the "M". Now be aware of the deep sleep state of consciousness. In meditation we can do this where as, whilst actually in sleep, we are completely unaware of this state.  We know it after we wake up but not whilst we are in it. Here in meditation we can become aware of how the mind is in complete rest in deep sleep. There is no activity.  No thought process, no imagery, no words... All are at rest and we begin to understand that there is something we might refer to as the formless form.

  • Coming into the silence (turiiya) we find the level of the consciousness which pervades all of the other three states. We come to appreciate the absolute formless consciousness which is present in all forms. This is where the universe can open itself up to us. It is where we can leave the universe behind...

The key difference between this and the previous method is that of internal as opposed to external. Last time you were doing the observing. This time you are becoming the observer.

...actually each of these posts is a saadhana, meditation is saadhana. Saadhana is daily practice. To borrow a phrase… just do it!

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Hari OM
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