Part 5 of Dwelling in the Mirror: A Study of Illusions Produced by Delusive Meditation and How Be Free from Them
Now I would like to outline for you the most ancient and universal method of meditation: Om Yoga meditation.
The sacred Syllable is spelled out as Om, but it is usually written in the ideogrammatic forms:
It is most important in repeating Om to pronounce the O correctly. It should be pronounced like the long o in the Italian or common American manner, as in home and lone. In fact, Om rhymes exactly with home. (In England, Canada, and parts of the American South, the long o is sometimes pronounced as a diphthong, like two vowels jammed together: either like “ay-oh” or “eh-oh.” This is not the correct manner of pronouncing the O, which should be a single, pure vowel sound.)
Om is most effective if it is mentally intoned: mentally “sung” on a single note (the pitch does not matter–whatever is spontaneous and natural). This makes the repetition stronger and of deeper effect, because intoning Om unifies the mind and naturally concentrates it.
The way to receive the benefit of a mantra is japa, the continual repetition-intonation of the mantra. In this way the invoker is constantly imbued with the power and consciousness inherent in the mantra. It is best to intone Om mentally, silently, and to intone it throughout all your waking hours–not just during meditation. Whenever we intone Om we align and link our consciousness to our spirit-soul with its innate potential, and with its Source the Divine Spirit and its powers.
Om Yoga Meditation Practice
1) Sit upright, comfortable and relaxed, with your hands on your knees or thighs or resting, one on the other, in your lap.
2) Your mouth should be closed so that all breathing is done through the nose. This, too, aids in quieting the mind.
3) Though your mouth is closed, the jaw muscles should be relaxed so the upper and lower teeth are not clenched or touching one another, but parted.
4) Turn your eyes slightly upward, then close your eyes gently. This removes visual distractions and reduces your brain-wave activity by about seventy-five percent, thus helping to calm the mind. It also begins to open your awareness of the higher centers of the physical, astral and causal brain.
5) Keep your eyes gently turned upward like this throughout your entire meditation.
6) Breathe naturally. Your mouth should be closed so that all breathing is done through the nose. This, too, aids in quieting the mind. Though your mouth is closed, the jaw muscles should be relaxed so the upper and lower teeth are not clenched or touching one another, but parted.
7) Be aware of your breath naturally (automatically) flowing in and out as you breathe through your nose. Your breathing should always be easeful and natural, not deliberate or artificial.
8) Then in a very quiet and gentle manner begin mentally intoning (“singing” on a single note) in time with your natural and spontaneous breathing, but making Om encompass the entire breath in this way:
As you inhale, intone the O of Om throughout your inhalation. The moment your exhalation begins (or is about to begin) intone the M of Om throughout the exhalation. In this way you unify the breath, turning duality into unity.
It is important to be intoning OM the syllable, not: O. M. O. M. O. M. You must be intoning Om, prolonging it and having it encompass the whole breath, not just making two disconnected sounds. In time this will become second nature.
Intoning Om in this way integrates the inhaling and exhaling breaths, balancing them and leading your awareness inward. It also leads to awareness of the breath as essentially the vibrating impulse of Om. For breath and Om are the same thing.
9) Continue doing this, listening in a relaxed and peaceful manner to your inner mental intonations of Om, letting your awareness become fully absorbed in the mentally intoned sound of Om. No need to pull or push the mind, it will naturally come to rest in the sound. Just let the mind relax and sink or melt into it.
10) In time your inner, mental intonations of Om may change to an even more mellow or soft, subtle form, even to an inner whispering that is almost (or becomes) silent. But Om is always fully present and effective, and you will still be intoning Om in your intention.
11) You may find that your intonations of Om move back and forth from more objective to more subtle and back to more objective. This is all right. Just intone in the manner that is natural at the moment.
12) In the same way you will find that your breath will also become more subtle and refined, and slow down. Sometimes your breath can become so light that it almost seems as though you are not breathing at all, just thinking the breath.
13) Keep your eyes upturned iwithout strain, letting (not making) your awareness become focused in the brain area.
14) Do not let your attention become distracted from your intonations of Om and your brain awareness. Thoughts, impressions, memories, inner sensations, and suchlike may arise, but calmly ignore them. Do not try to stop them, but gently and calmly keep your attention centered in your intonations of Om in time with your breath.
15) Even though something feels very right or good when it occurs, it should not be forcibly prolonged or hung on to or made to repeat in later meditations. The sum and substance of it all is this: It is not the experience we are after, but the effect. Also, since we are all different, no one can say exactly what a person’s experiences in meditation are going to be like.
16) If you find yourself getting restless, distracted, fuzzy, anxious or tense in any degree, just take a deep breath and let it out fully, feeling that you are releasing and breathing out all tensions, and continue intoning Om as before in time with the breath in a relaxed and easeful manner, without strain.
17) Remember: Om Yoga meditation basically consists of two things: 1) sitting with the eyes closed and turned up throughout; and 2) mentally intoning Om in time with the breath and listening to those mental intonations.
18) At the end of your meditation get up and go about your usual daily routine while continuing to intone Om in time with your breath and listening to those inner intonations of Om.
A further look at this method of intoning Om with the breath
The value of Om japa-pranayama is especially in its ability to unify the breath as a manifestation of Om. Equally, it unifies the consciousness of the yogi, gathering it into awareness of Self. And this is done by simply joining the intonation of O to the natural inhalation and the intonation of M to the natural exhalation, joining the complete syllable Om to the complete breath. Furthermore, it effortlessly causes the subtle life force (prana) to continually rise upward into the head and enliven and awaken the sahasrara chakra, the highest chakra. It also unites the physical and subtle (astral and causal) bodies, prevents loss and depletion of the subtle energies, and orients them toward the sahasrara. As pointed out, it is important to keep the whole syllable, Om, in mind during your intonations: not O. M. O. M. O. M., but Om Om Om.
Regarding this method, in his book Meditation on Om Swami Sivananda says: “This will raise your consciousness to a very high plane. You will become one with the Soul, the Atman.” Therefore it is good to make this your constant mode of Om japa.
And now “the way ye know” (John 14:4). However, it is always good to know as much as possible about the meaning of meditation practice and the reasons behind it as well as the purpose. Therefore I urge you to obtain and study the book Om Yoga Meditation which will give you a great deal of practical information on the various aspects of Om meditation, especially the whys and wherefore of this sacred practice and the ways to apply and increase the effectiveness of your practice.
Read the Appendix of Dwelling in the Mirror: Abnormal States and Spiritual Illusions
Dwelling in the Mirror: A Study of Illusions Produced by Delusive Meditation and How to Be Free from Them