In a distant land there once lived a landlord who had been blessed with much good fortune. He was very wealthy and possessed many lands and tine houses and servants who waited on his even waking moment. He was fond of entertaining and used to throw lavish banquets to which came people of great distinction. His wife and children were charming and beautiful and adored him. He particularly liked to take excursions in a magnificent carriage drawn by six horses, waving and smiling to the people who called out ‘My lord, my lord’ as he drove past. Once he generously donated funds so that a new court house building could be built in the nearby town, and when it was finished he had a large portrait of himself hung in the foyer. Everyone told him what a fine fellow he was and he secretly agreed with them.
Then one day a terrible drought came upon the land. Many people were dying of starvation but still the landlord lived in his accustomed style. Like everyone else his crops failed, but he sold some houses and property to pay the expenses. As funds became short, parties became too expensive and his friends deserted him His brothers started court proceedings to prevent him selling more property but he hired expensive lawyers to fight them; still he refused to accept his new situation. “So long as I am lord,” he told himself, “I shall live like one. Soon he had to sell his fine carriage and was reduced to driving around in a horse and cart, his once fine clothes now dirty and torn, and although people still called him ‘lord’ to his face they laughed at him behind his back. Eventually he had to sell all his property to pay for court costs. His wife and children became seriously ill and, because he could not buy them medicine, died. Broken with grief and unable to even buy food, the once great landlord was reduced to begging from door to door. One day he was outside the town Court House and some people were looking at a painting in the foyer. When he went up and told them that the portrait was of himself they just laughed and called him a ‘crazy old beggar’. When he still insisted, “It’s me, it’s me,” they became very angry and drove him away. Sore and weeping he dragged himself home.
His misfortune was to go from one extreme of wealth, status and family, to another of poverty, wretchedness and loneliness. Most of us have not experienced these extremes but we still have a lot in common with him. Like many of us he was proud of his social position and vain about his clothes and appearance, he liked to be flattered and he preferred to drive in first class transport. He was also a good family man and had many friends, and gave generously to community projects. Above all else he was determined to have a good time, even when this brought suffering to his family and eventually led to his own downfall.
This man enjoyed the good life that many of us would like, but it was a shallow one. His life was completely externalized and he had no inner experience or knowledge to draw upon when fortune turned against him. Antar mouna is one way of awakening inner knowledge in the court house of our mind. It gives us a steady reference point in a fickle world, an inner understanding that makes us into a spiritual ‘lord’ despite the circumstances of our life, whether rich or poor.
It is impossible to meditate when the mind is overwhelmed by a continuous stream of thoughts. If strong thoughts and emotions are suppressed, then meditation will be impossible, for the suppressed thoughts will act as a veil between individual perception and the deeper layers of being. The only path to meditation is to exhaust persistent and tumultuous emotional thoughts from the mind. Most meditative practices help to do this; one of the most direct is antar mouna stage 2.