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Lesson 195 - Mantra, Thoughts, and Attention  (Audio)

From: Yogani
Date: Thu May 20, 2004 0:33pm

New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why This Discussion?"

Q1: Along the 13 years, I have done japa of a few mantras several hundred thousand times. One such specific mantra is "Om Namo Naaraayanaaya" - you may know this as the mantra directed towards Lord Vishnu. Due to the constant practise of mantra chanting, I find a particular problem in the I AM meditation: The moment I start I AM, my mind which is used to chanting something always, picks up the I AM and continues with it. However my mind also wanders into other thoughts, "even without giving up the "I AM". Now, should I consider that my mind is with I AM because it is chanting it (or) should I consider that my mind is off I AM since it is into other thoughts? If I should consider that my mind is off I AM and therefore I should bring it back, what should my mind think of? You have said that I should not think on the meaning of I AM. What else is there to think on, since my mind is already chanting I AM? What do you mean exactly when you say "meditate on the sound I AM"?

A1: The mantra and thoughts can be in the mind together. The mantra can be going on even while we are thinking about something else. If we have the mantra going on in the background while we are sorting out our grocery list, is this meditation? Not if we are consciously favoring the groceries over the mantra. Having the mantra going like a motor in the mind without favoring it with our attention is not deep meditation. Meditation is about favoring the mantra with our attention, not about having the mantra going on automatically while we are focusing on other things. What we want to make automatic is bringing the attention easily back to the mantra when we realize attention is off the mantra. So, if we have thoughts and mantra going on at the same time, meditation is determined not by the presence of the mantra, but by our favoring it with attention. Other thoughts may still be there as we favor the mantra. It doesn't matter. It is attention that determines the process. It we have the habit of favoring the mantra with our attention when we realize we have not been, that is right meditation.

This should answer your question about what to be thinking about while "chanting" the mantra inside. It does not matter how many times we repeat the mantra inside. Deep meditation is not mental chanting. It is a process of using attention and the mantra together to create a condition in the mind that enables it to go to stillness. Just habitually chanting the mantra in the background inside while going about all sorts of other mental business with the attention is not deep meditation. In deep meditation, the attention is for favoring the mantra. By doing this as a procedure for our allotted time of meditation, the mantra will fade and become very refined over and over again. At whatever level we find ourselves in the mind we come back with attention and favor the mantra in that fuzzy refining journey. Before we know it, our attention is without objects, not even the mantra. It is a pleasurable feeling. This is samadhi, the eighth limb of yoga. As this happens the breath refines, the metabolism slows down, and obstructions throughout our nervous system are dissolved from the inside. It is inner silence (pure bliss consciousness) we are going to in deep meditation. All the good results come from that, and it comes through a process of managing our attention easily and rightly in meditation.

Q2: I have a doubt: You have mentioned in your lessons that the mere sound I AM removes the obstructions in the nervous system. In later lessons, you have also elaborated that the sound I AM starts from the third eye and goes all the way down to the perineum thru' the spine. Such being the case, as long as the sound I AM is there in the mind, the cleansing should take place with or without the attention, isn't it? Over and above the cleansing done by the sound itself, is there additional cleansing done by the "attention" part?

A2: Consider the mantra to be a tool. If we have a hammer and keep it with us at all times, will it build a house for us? Of course not. Something more is needed. We need to apply the hammer with some skill. A mantra is nothing if not applied with some skill.

I know that may go against the background of many, where mantras are said to have magical powers and all that. Well, different sounds do resonate differently in the nervous system and that is why different mantras have different effects. But they are still just tools, and won't do much unless applied with some skill. The mantra is a tool that can be used to bring the mind and body to stillness. That requires a method of using attention in a particular way with the mantra. If we do, then attention will repeatedly be left standing alone without any objects, including no mantra. That is as still as it gets, and then the inner obstructions dissolve in that state of deep silence in the nervous system. Once the obstructions are going, then the inner silence is with us more and more in daily activity.

That is why we meditate using a particular procedure. The mantra alone without correct application of attention is like a hammer with no carpenter around. You are the carpenter!

The guru is in you.

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Note: For detailed instructions on the procedure of deep meditation, see the AYP Deep Meditation book, and AYP Plus.

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