When the mind is silent and peaceful it becomes very powerful. It becomes the receptor of bliss and wisdom, a perfect instrument. Life becomes a spontaneous flow and expression of joy. All this arises naturally when the mind is in a state of inner silence. However, this inner silence can never arise when there is a continual stream of disturbing thoughts and turbulent emotions. All the inner noise of thoughts and emotions has to be removed before one can experience the soundless sound of inner silence. The practice we will now introduce and describe further in the next four lessons -antar mouna – is designed specifically to eradicate mental noise and induce calmness in the mind.
The word antar means ‘inner’ and mouna means ‘silence’. Therefore, the exact translation of antar mouna is ‘inner silence’. Antar mouna is a meditative technique that leads to inner tranquillity and silence.
Antar mouna is a basic practice of yoga. It is a fundamental part of Buddhist practice, though it is known by a different name (vipassana) and is used in a slightly modified for m. Some of the principles of antar mouna are also widely used in modern psychiatry. It is one of the most direct methods of tackling the problems of the mind. This is the reason why it is so widely utilized in both religious, mystical and psychiatric systems.
The by-product of modern life is overwhelming mental tension that almost grinds man into the ground to the point of despair. If these mental tensions are released, even slightly, then life begins to show new promise and new meaning begins to awaken. One method, a very direct method, of releasing these oppressive mental tensions is antar mouna.
Everyone has mental suppressions. Since a young age we have habitually suppressed nasty thoughts and desires and tried to forget bad experiences. But suppression does not solve the problem, for the thoughts merely stay submerged in the subconscious realms of the mind in seed form. Even if we are not conscious of them, these suppressed thoughts act furtively from the subconscious to bring pain, unhappiness and frustration in life. To find happiness, real happiness, these mental impressions (samskaras) have to be rooted out. A direct method is antar mouna.
Antar mouna is very systematic. Firstly, it increases one’s resistance to external disturbances. Then it allows subconscious thoughts and pent-up emotions to slowly bubble up to conscious perception. One directly confronts the contents of the subconscious mind: long forgotten memories, fears, hatreds and so forth. Thoughts and feelings that have been hidden for years come to the surface and are exhausted. Gradually the mind is harmonized over a period of time. The mind becomes progressively tranquil and one-pointed.
Eventually a stage is reached where thoughts and emotions from the subconscious tend to be almost insignificant. These are merely the remnants, the most overpowering thoughts and emotions having previously been exhausted. These minor thoughts cause little harm and are more a nuisance than anything else. At this stage the thought processes of the nrind can be suppressed to induce a state of thoughtlessness. This can eventually lead to the state of meditation and perception of one’s being. This perception, more than anything else in life, will transform one’s understanding of existence and one’s place in the universe.
Antar mouna is to be utilized by those people who have disturbances in the mind. It will gradually harmonize the mind so that it eventually attains a state of thoughtlessness and meditation.