This is the preliminary stage of antar mouna in which you have to become aware of sensations and experiences in the external world. Most of our sense perceptions come through the eyes. However, in antar mouna the eyes are closed, so that the perceptions which arise during the practice will be sounds, smells, etc. The most compelling of these sense perceptions will be sound. Therefore, stage 1 is primarily concerned with perceiving external sounds.
The purpose of antar mouna stage 1 is to eventually induce a state of introversion in preparation for stage 2. Most people have been conditioned since birth to remain extroverted; there is almost an addiction to outside stimuli. Until one becomes introverted it is impossible to start exhausting negative subconscious data from the mind.
The practice is designed to neutralize responses to external phenomena; to become detached and unaffected by the outer world, even if only for a short period of time. This introversion is essential for meditative practice. Many people know this and they try to force themselves to be introverted. They fight their mind and force it to ignore sense impressions. This merely builds up tension and prevents meditation. Therefore, the first stage of antar mouna does not try to suppress the inclination to perceive outer sense data. In fact the method of this stage prescribes intentional awareness of the outer world. Perceive outer impressions. Let them arise. In time you will automatically become introverted. You will spontaneously lose interest in the outside world and when this happens, you are ready to begin stage 2.
The mechanics of external perception
For the sake of explanation we can say that there are three main factors involved in external sense perception. These are:
- The sense organ – transmitter of perception
- The object of perception
- Consciousness – the inner perceiver
These three factors are involved in all sense perceptions whether hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting or touching. Consider the act of hearing for example.
The sense organ that receives sound vibration is the ear. The source of a sound is an external object, perhaps a car horn. The third factor is that which perceives sound – the inner consciousness. Without this inner consciousness nothing can be perceived. Furthermore, from the point of view of consciousness, both the ear and the source of the sound are external. This also applies to smell and the nose, form and the eyes, taste and the tongue and touch and the skin. They are all external to the inner consciousness. This consciousness is the drashta (seer) in the innermost depths and centre of your being. When this consciousness can be separated and dissociated from the external sense organs and objects, then one can begin to explore the subconscious mind. This is the aim of stage 1.