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


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Hari Om
Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation

These articles first appeared on Yamini-amma's personal blog. They were designed to promote deeper thinking on values, personal growth, Vedantic understanding - and to prompt conversation. Use them for contemplation either before or after your regular meditative practice. 

Mauna - silence.

Put your hands up (okay hit some keys in the comments box) all those who have experienced true silence.

Before you are too quick to come forward, perhaps you'll allow me to expand. Almost without fail, all of you would have cast your minds around to recall when you last were somewhere that you felt was silent. It would most likely have been an environmental situation that came together for you to think, 'oh how quiet it is here'.

In having that thought, you broke mauna. Oh yes, dear readers, the outside can be as silent as the vacuum of the cosmos, but the noise continues to rage within you!

Now, let's try that again. Put your hands up…

That monkey mind ensures we know not the silence of the Spirit. It rages at us as we sit in contemplation, as we watch the sunset, as we try to sleep. We are a veritable cacophony within our bodies, minds and spirits. A large part of Eastern spiritual practice is based on attempts at connecting the jiiva with the Aatman, transcending the body and mind. It is one practice which has spread around the globe… more on the actual subject of meditation on Monday. Today, though, let us focus on the practice of silence.

To bring the mind into readiness for meditation-proper, it is necessary to exercise in the discipline expected of it. This is achieved by setting a daily saadhana, a period of time in which there will be no speaking and one minimises the noise input also. Mostly it is best to be undertaken on rising. Having completed morning prayers and devotions or exercises, resolve to not speak until you arrive at work, or by a specific time on the clock (9 am, say). In that time, it is not only about not speaking, but it is also about keeping the thoughts as quiet as possible. Thoughts rage most when there is stimulation for them such as radio, family, birds… you name it, the monkey will find some distraction and start raising a ruckus!

For the majority of us, it is virtually impossible to achieve environmental silence. Even if we live in the countryside, there will be weather creating whispers, the birds start to yell, the insects will rustle! The trick is to then draw within oneself and place all that is external at a distance and shut it off with the mind. Keep the mind busy on silencing the exterior, and it starts to forget making its own noise.

Concentrate on the noises within the body. Don't hear them? Listen again. There… Hear it? The rush of pressure in the ears, the gurgle of digestion, the throb of the blood in your veins, the air in the lungs. Listen for these things. Focus on quietening these sounds now.

If you do this much exercise in mauna, you will already feel the benefit of inner balance. There is a tranquillity in ordering the world to be quiet, in settling down the movements of the body.

Keep at it. Prepare. Listen. Listen. Listen… Become ready...

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Hari OM
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