Before practising stage 4, your mind and body should be systematically relaxed. Without this preparation, the subtle impressions will not arise and you will gain little from the practice. We suggest that you precede antar mouna stage 4 by the practise of other yogic techniques. Asanas and pranayama are preferred; therefore the best time to practise antar mouna stage 4 is at the end of your daily practice program.
Alternately, you can practise japa or ujjayi breath awareness for a few minutes. A simple and effective practice for inducing relaxation is kaya sthairyam2. Choose any method that you like and practise it for a few minutes as a preliminary to stage 4.
Sit in a comfortable pose.
Close your eyes.
Hold the head and spine upright and relax the whole body.
For a few minutes systematically relax your mind-body by doing any preliminary practice, such as kaya sthairyam or breath awareness.
Then begin stage 4.
Let all thoughts arise spontaneously.
Do not create any thoughts as you did previously in stage 3.
Be aware of the continuous flow of thoughts.
Try to be an impartial witness.
If you are sufficiently relaxed then thoughts will arise and spew out of the subconscious; there will be an overflow of thoughts.
Many of the thoughts will be expressed in the form of psychic visions.
The process is almost like mental diarrhoea.
Continue to be aware of the process.
Suddenly, among this confusion, you may become aware of one thought that is more prominent than the rest.
Reflect on it for a short time.
Try not to identify with it; then wilfully throw it out.
This thought is a projection of the deeper realms of the subconscious mind; it may a be pleasant or unpleasant thought… it does not matter.
You may be tempted to brood over it for a long period; try to resist this temptation; merely reflect on it for a few seconds and then throw it out.
The thought should arrive spontaneously, but should be deliberately and wilfully ejected.
Continue to be aware of the spontaneous eruption of thoughts.
Another prominent thought will suddenly present itself.
Reflect on it for a few seconds.
Then dispose of it.
Resume awareness of the thought process.
Continue in this manner for the duration of the practice, alternating between awareness of spontaneous thought flow and reflection on specific chosen thoughts that emerge from the bubbling thoughts.
Try to remain a witness throughout.
This is antar mouna stage 4.
No flow of thoughts
It is possible that you will not experience this overflowing of spontaneous thoughts. Your mind may remain extroverted. In this case, you should again start to practise stage 1. It means that you have prematurely started to practise stage 4. Spend a few more months doing stages 1, 2 and 3 in turn.
It is also possible that you experience a temporary suspension of thoughts in the practice. That is, during the spontaneous flow of thoughts, there will arise a state of blankness. In this case, you should patiently wait for the inner flow to recommence. Try to remain aware: ‘I am practising antar mouna’ and passively watch the chidakasha – the space in front of the closed eyes.
Extension of each stage
We do not recommend that you start stage 4 until you have fully practised the previous stages. If necessary you should spend several months on stages 2 and 3. If you spend only a few days on each stage then you will gain little benefit.
Practise each stage until you are ready to begin the next stage. The signs of this readiness are clear and we have described them for each stage1. Check these signs carefully and use them as a guide to tell you when to proceed to the next stage.
Readiness for Stage 5
Stage 5 arises automatically when the thought process almost stops or stops completely. Stage 5 starts when there is a state of thoughtlessness.