Antar Mouna is a Sanskrit term that means “inner silence”. it refers to a yogic meditation technique that involves transforming and controlling thought processes through self-awareness and mindfulness. by internalizing the senses through this form of meditation, the yogi observes the inner and underlying structure of the mind and thought processes.
When the mind is silent and peaceful it becomes very powerful. It can become a receptor of bliss and wisdom enabling life to become a spontaneous flow and expression of joy and harmony. However…this inner silence cannot arise while there is a continual stream of disturbing thoughts and emotions. All this inner noise of thoughts and emotions has to be removed before one can truly experience the soundless sound of inner silence
Peace, bliss, harmony. Who is able to experience these states? So many people these days are struggling with their own minds. Influenced by their conditionings and overwhelmed by the pressures of day to day living in today’s increasingly stressful society, they are full of mental tensions, which manifest as anxiety, nervousness, guilt, lack of self-confidence, loneliness, fear, obsessions and phobias. Some turn to culturally endorsed habits as a temporary means of escape and solace. Others enlist the costly help to try and cope. All are looking for some form of change, a little relief from the inner conflicts and turmoil, wanting to feel at ease with themselves, or even to experience, if not bliss, just a modicum of peace and contentment.
Those who are fortunate enough to come across the practice of Antar Mouna cultivating inner silence, can encounter and learn an excellent this systematic meditation practice, that will enable them to release these oppressive mental tensions and to become their own psychotherapists in the process.
Benefits of Antar Mouna
Antar mouna is a powerful psychiatric tool with which we learn to understand and befriend the mind, its tendencies and reactions that arise due to thoughts. It enables us to train the mind, to focus the monkey mind on one point which many of us have trouble with. Most importantly, we can learn to develop and strengthen the drashta or the witness, the observer of all that happens. This allows deep-rooted tensions, long forgotten painful memories, fears, hatreds and phobias to arise in a relatively controlled manner and to be eradicated. The practice provides a basis for clearing all the mental dross and rubbish – it is a form of mental cleansing. Just like we clean our home everyday, should we not clean our minds ?
Antar mouna is designed specifically to eradicate mental noise and to induce a state of peace, tranquillity, one-pointedness and calmness in the mind. We can even consider antar mouna as a tool to move from darkness or a contracted state of awareness into the light of an expanding awareness. We can transform our negativity in this way. From that stage of ignorance or negativity we can eventually come to a meditative point, a neutral position of no action, no engagement, just being. This leads to automatically to steadiness and calmness of mind, in contrast to our usual oscillating state of mind, or vikshipta.
How do we practice ANTAR MOUNA in our daily busy lives.
You just need to commit 15-20 minutes. I will recommend the following PRACTICE GUIDE from my side (This is basis what I actual do in my practice) :-
- Sit in quiet comfortable place on the ground, if possible in the lotus posture (Legs crossed, and back straight, eyes gently closed). Best time is early morning or late night, at least one hour after food.
- Slowly focus on your breathing in and breathing out, gently calming and centering your body. The more you do this the more the body will relax. Try and prevent any physical movement.
In a while, start focusing all your senses on the outside world. When you do this, your mind must not think of anything else, just the stimulus your are detecting with your sense organ.:-
- Listen to the various sounds in your external environment. Try and focus on that sound only an do not think of anything else. Then leave that sound, and go to the next sound an so on.
- After a while, focus on your Skin – feel your clothing gently caressing your skin (we almost lose this sensation), feel the hair gently moving with the air waves from the fan, feel the touch of your body on the ground, the idea is to feel each and every senstation on the skin and become aware.
- Focus on your closed eyes, the eyelids gently protecting them, giving much needed rest.
- Once you do all these you will feel absolutely calm, and now you must withdraw your senses and move your attention back to within your mind.
Now focus your attention on the dark, empty space in front of your forehead. This empty space is created once you close your eyes. This is called the CHIDAKASHA. This is the place for thoughts arise and dissappear. In this stage, allow spontaneous thoughts to come into this space, observe, internalize and then once the thought has run its course, let it go. Do not be in a hurry. Imagine, you are seeing thoughts on a big movie screen in a dark theatre.
- Thoughts , when they arise , always give rise to emotions in us – anger, frustrating, joy,etc. And we always tend to encourage good thoughts and suppress bad ones. These bad thoughts (sensory impressions) end up in our subconscious mind and create all the problems in our minds.
- The important aspect of this stage is to focus on allowing all thoughts, good or bad, to flower and run their course. However, the critical thing is that we should see these thoughts not as a participant, but as an observer. (Just like in a movie, we can see Salman Khan, but never actually join him on screen..!!)
- By now, your body would be completely motionless. This is called KAYA STHIRYAM. There may be chances of feeling sleep, but do not slip. Be awake and alert during the practice. Now you must stop the spontaneous thoughts, and the next stage is calling and dissipating thoughts at will. You are in charge of which thought to think. Willingly call on certain thoughts, spend time on them, and then despatch or swipe the thought away. Then onto the next thought and so on.
- While you are on one thought, your attention must only be on that one thought, and do not let your mind go anywhere else. This stage, allows you to control your mind, and focus your will power on important thoughts which should get priority, and this is very powerful.
- Stage 5 is truly about experiencing Emptiness or Nothingness. This is the final climax of the practice of ANTAR MOUNA.After you have done stages 1-4, you will have developed a deep sense of calm and peace and mindlfullness. You may not actually be aware that your body exists because it will be so calm and silent.
- Now, you must completely stop thinking and focus your attention on the deep, dark space in front of the forehead, the CHIDAKASHA. Experience this darkness, the stillness, the emptiness. There should be absolutely no thoughts, no thoughts, not thoughts. Your mind must be completely focussed on only experience this emptiness, this wonderful state where your mind is completely devoid of any thoughts. Try and hold this state for as long as you can. You may momentarily think of something, but consciously swipe that thought away. You are in control and your mind is empty.
- This is a stage of deep relaxation where the mind gets a complete overhaul and total rest, and the more you cultivte this state of emptiness the more you will be at one with yourself and the universe. This stage is pure, undisturbed Mindfullness.
- After a while, slowly imagine in the CHIDAKASHA, any symbol you hold dear and sacred, and focus your attention on the same for some time. You may also renew a few determinations you have to improve and lead a healthy, happier life. These are very powerful and called SANKALPAS.
- Slowly turn your attention to the outside environment and see yourself sitting in complete peace and harmony.
- Once you are ready, slowly move parts of your body, take time to come out of the meditate state.
- Gently rub your palms against each other three times and put them over your closed eyelids. Then when you are ready, slowly open your eyes.
- The practice of ANTAR MOUNA is complete