Each stage is a preparation for the following stage. Therefore, it is important to spend some weeks and months perfecting each stage before proceeding to the next. Premature attempts to practise the later stages 3, 4 and 5 without mastering the earlier stages will tend to be a waste of time.
As a rough guide we suggest that you spend at least one month practising each stage, preferably more. Over the next few lessons we will progressively introduce and describe each stage of antar mouna in turn1. Therefore, follow the instructions carefully and spend an adequate amount of time on each stage, developing it fully before proceeding to the next stage. One month, however, is the minimum time. If possible, try to spend more time doing each stage, especially stages 2, 3 and 4.
Place and time of practice
Antar mouna, especially the earlier stages, can be practised at any time and any place. It can be practised while walking, sitting, eating, dreaming or in any activity. It can be practised under all conditions – at home, in the office, in a car, among friends – anywhere and everywhere. The practice should not interfere with your work, but if you have a rest or a spare moment try to practise stage 1 or 2. That is, if you are surrounded by noises, try to dissociate yourself from the cause and source. Try to cut yourself off from external stimuli. This is a good method of calming the mind even in the midst of intense noise and the most unpleasant surroundings. Also, if your mind is besieged and disturbed by guilt, worry, fears, etc., try to practise stage 2. That is, let all thoughts bubble to the surface without suppression. Accept the thoughts and let them evaporate like a cloud. This too will help to reduce the tension level in the mind in day to day life.
If you want to do antar mouna as part of your daily practice program, we suggest that vou either practise late at night just before sleep, or early in the morning after waking up. At night, the mind is most likely to be disturbed bv the affairs of the day. Possibly the thoughts are so strong that you cannot sleep. Antar mouna should be practised in order to lemove these anxieties and calm the restless mind. After some time you will get a good night’s sleep.
In the early morning, thoughts are likely to be much less compelling, the grosser thoughts having been partially expressed and diminished through dreams. The thoughts that arise in the mind are likely to be more subtle. Therefore, this is the best time to exhaust deeper thoughts in the subconscious realms of the mind. Negative thoughts of this type are likely to have a profound influence on one’s being; removal of them will bring about vast positive changes in one’s life.
Noises and other disturbances are likely to be least early in the morning and late at night; therefore it is much easier to ignore sense impressions. Stage 1 of antar mouna is much easier and one can start the serious business of cleaning out the mind in the way described in stage 21.
Antar mouna can be practised in any position. However, we recommend that you sit in any of the traditional meditative asanas, such as padmasana, siddhasana, siddha yoni asana, sukhasana, vajrasana, etc.2
The essence of antar mouna is awareness. In all stages you must try to adopt the attitude of sakshi bhava (witnessing). You must try to be the seer, not the thinker. This doesn’t mean that you should be absent-minded. On the contrary you should be intensely alert to all occurrences within the mind. But you should try not to become involved with any experiences, whether external sense impressions or inner, bubbling thoughts. Remain a detached observer. Only in this manner can the suppressed thoughts arise from the subconscious mind without impediment and be exhausted.