Sit in a steady and comfortable pose.
Keep the spine erect, but without strain.
Close your eyes and keep them closed for the whole practice.
Say to yourself: ‘Now I will start the practice of antar mouna.’
First of all be aware of your body.
Feel the sensations of touch – the pressure of your body against the ground, the sensation of the blanket wrapped around your shoulders and so forth.
Fix your whole attention on the sense of touch.
Do it intensely until you lose interest.
Then become aware of the outside environment.
Become aware of all sense experiences whether they disturb or not.
Let perception of external stimuli arise without the slightest resistance.
Do not control the mind, only be alert to the outer world.
Keep yourself receptive to everything that is taking place in the surroundings.
Do not make excessive effort for this will create mental tension; let there be choiceless awareness.
Though there are various sense impressions, sound will be the most prominent.
Be aware of outer sounds.
The sound may be a car, telephone, bell, radio, birds, people talking . . . whatever, listen carefully with detached awareness.
Listen to these sounds without judgement, thinking or analysis; only hear the sounds without concern for their cause.
If you hear a bell in an adjoining room, do not think of the bell. . . only listen to the sound.
But you should remain aware, a spectator; do not identify with any of the sounds.
Say to yourself: ‘I am the seer, unaffected by these sounds’.
Always consider that the external perceptions are a relation between the objects and the senses; they don’t affect you . . . the seer inside.
At first you should be aware of all sounds in the environment without choice .. . do not choose, only receive.
Continue this for a few minutes.
Then you should choose a prominent sound and fix your attention on it to the exclusion of all other sounds.
Then after a short time, perhaps a minute, switch your attention to another sound of your choice.
Do not sleep.
Be aware of different sounds in turn.
Then again be aware of all sounds that arise at the same time.
Expand your perception of the external world to the full, stretch your perception to the limits; hear even the slightest sound.
Try not to think … only awareness of external sense experiences.
Then become aware of your breath.
Fix your whole attention on the flow of the breath in your nostrils; cut off perception of outside sounds.
Continue breath awareness for a few minutes.
Then again direct your attention to the outside world; again become aware of external sounds.
As before, you can fix your attention on the general noise in the surroundings or choose one prominent sound.
Be alert, do not introvert and become lost in thoughts.
Listen to a ticking clock.
Listen to someone coughing.
Listen to someone speaking.
Listen to the wind. Listen to the sound of silence.
It does not matter whether you perceive many sounds or one particular sound, but listen to the outside world as though it is something strange to you.
Then after some minutes, again be aware of the breathing process.
Do not listen to outer sounds … only perceive the flow of breath.
Fix your whole attention on the breath.
Then after some time again perceive outer sounds.
Continue in this manner for as long as you have time available.
This is stage 1 of antar mouna.
Readiness for stage 2
The aim is to reach a stage where one is completely accustomed to and detached from outside sensations, especially sounds, so that they do not influence the mind. It is possible to introvert and be unaffected even if a train passes nearby, or even if a mosquito starts buzzing around you. If you have reached this stage then you are ready to proceed to stage 2.
Preparation for other meditative techniques
Antar mouna stage 1 is an excellent preparatory practice for other meditative methods, including kriya yoga. If you have the time, practise it before doing other meditative techniques.