This article details the practice of the Inner Silence (Antar Mouna) meditation practice and discusses the topic of meditation in relation to it. Please skip towards the end to for the actual practice itself if you are not interested in the discussion.
Please note that this article was originally published on 27 Nov 2016 and was updated 23rd April 2018.
Meditation practices that focus on the awareness of thoughts, can be thought of as a time to allow reflection and integration of experiences. I have practiced the Antar Mouna (Inner Silence) meditation daily for many years. Although I practice other meditation practices, Antar Mouna is my daily practice in addition to a Japa (mantra repetition) meditation practice.
Antar Mouna is a practice that deals with thought awareness in one of its stages.
Ultimately meditation can bring ones mind to a clarity and stillness when the space between the thoughts opens up and pure experience occurs, although not always and less so in the beginning.
Meditation can be thought of as a reflection. An opportunity to witness the stuff in the mind which is normally out of sight. Sitting and watching the thoughts, or more importantly the mind space and the activities in that space, provides time for the mind to integrate experiences (impressions). We are shown the nature of the mind and also the content. Greater self-understanding occurs, both the nature of the mind and its content becomes more clearly perceived. In the process we are able to let go of negative impressions, or at least gain the awareness they exist, thereby providing an opportunity that we can work to resolve them.
One outcome of meditation is that, in my experience, is that connections between things become either established or clearer, sometimes during or after practice.
Another outcome is that the instances of insight and wisdom tend to arise more frequently and with profound relevance to our life.
There are of course other effects and benefits of practicing meditation. The others you can learn about for yourself through your own experience as that is the way of yoga and meditation. We learn by doing having learnt just enough to be able to practice it. Meditation is something that should be practiced much more often than it is talked or thought about.
Guidelines for Practice
Please try the following meditation practice. You can set an intent and commit to an initial number of days. You can if you so wish dedicate each days meditation practice to something or one etc. Decide how many days in a row you will practice, make it once a day to start with. For an intention try “I am going to practice meditation for 7 days regardless of how difficult it is. I am capable of success in this endeavour. “, or you can use and intention of your own choosing of course.
As you become more familiar with a meditation practice you may end up practice most days as a regular practice. Don’t force this though. You may also find preceding meditation with other practices can be beneficial.
All negative feelings about the practice including those that relate to your ability to “do meditation” should be ignored without reservation. It is more important to follow the sequence (the mechanics) of the practice than it is the expectations and/or the dialog in your head about it. To quote Yoda (if you’re a Star Wars fan) “do or do not, there is no try”. So just do the meditation and ignore your opinion about it is.
Inner Silence (Antar Mouna) Practice
- Sit comfortably. lengthen the spine to achieve a good upright posture. Use a chair, or whatever, but sit upright.
- Close the eyes and become aware of the physical body.
- Let go of any effort to breath, the body will do that
- Allow the body to settle into physical stillness while you move your awareness around parts of the body like; feet, legs, etc. really feel the body part, place your awareness there, notice the sensations in that part of the body.
- Now place awareness on your breathing – observation only
- After some time (you choose) become aware of the mind space
- Reverse out of the practice when you are ready to finish
- back to the breath for a bit
- back to the body for a bit
- gently start moving the head neck SMALL movements
- gradually take your time to fully externalize and start moving more
- This is no Antar Mouna, it is a stripped-down meditation technique that does work.
Options for Practicing Inner Silence
There are no timings given because you need to feel your way through the practice. However, you can try about 5 minutes in each section of the practice to get you started and tweak the timings for each section as you feel works best for you.
Approaches to use the practice are listed below.
A: Memorize the basic sequence. Use your memory to guide you. Then start at the beginning and follow that instruction until you feel it’s time to move on.
B: Record the practice sequence with your own timings. Smart phones have a voice recorder or buy a dedicated voice recorder. May laptops built-in mike. Suggested timings are 2 minutes each section.
C: Get a friend or family member to guide you through it. Guide each other ????
D: Attend a Satsang evening, or specific class or workshop which includes meditation.
Once you find a meditation practice that works for you, stick with it through thick and thin. Digging many holes gets you nowhere. Dig in the same place and the hole will go deep.
I wish you every success.
All the best
Posted in Contemplations, Raja Yoga (Yoga Sutras)