Advanced Yoga Practices
Lesson 59 - Some Mantra Particulars
Date: Tue Dec 30, 2003 2:22pm
Q: I have some questions about the I AM mantra. What if I have been given a mantra from someone else for meditation? Does I AM have the same effect as OM? Can I use I AM for chanting? Can I use it during the day while I am at work? Can I use it as I go to sleep at night? You said don’t use I AM during pranayama. What about using a mantra such as So-Ham with the breath during pranayama? Besides morning and evening, can I meditate using I AM in the middle of the day too?
A: If you are following another teaching or tradition, and it is going well, stick with that. That goes for any other mantra you have been given as well. In that case, just consider these lessons to be “food for thought.” There is no wish here to interfere with existing systems of practice. These lessons are designed to present an “open system” of integrated spiritual practices that can be used by anyone to the degree desired. Beginners can start from scratch at the beginning and go all the way through with these lessons. Experienced practitioners can tap in anywhere and pick up a few pointers. Like that.
If you have decided to use these lessons as the primary source for your practice, then you would do best to discontinue any overlapping practices and follow the lessons precisely. There are only so many things a person can do at once. You can see there are plenty of practices here to digest. Yahoo willing, there will be many more advanced yoga practices coming. Keep it simple and go one step at a time. If this is going to be your primary source, there will be more than enough to do. We will leave no stone unturned.
The I AM mantra is similar to OM, but not exactly the same, so the effects are somewhat different. I AM has both linear and circular qualities contained within it, while OM is circular. “I” is the linear quality in I AM. “AM” is the circular quality in I AM. So you can see I AM has something extra. What is that something extra? It is a polarity. OM is well known to be the sound of kundalini moving through the body, the nervous system becoming enlivened as sexual essences circulate higher up and a new biology emerges. Many can hear it. OM is the sound of Mother Nature in us, and she is ecstatic bliss. Ahhh…
OM is mother. But where is father? As we become enlightened, a divine romance occurs in us, a joining. In the I AM mantra, “I” is the father vibration, and “AM” is the mother vibration. Recall that yoga means “to join.” This happens on many levels in many ways. In meditation, we are refining the vibrations of the mantra every day to stillness, to silence, to pure bliss consciousness, over and over again. Using I AM as mantra, we are cultivating pure bliss consciousness fully through the nervous system, permeating the natural polarity that exists within us. We are enlivening both divine masculine and divine feminine qualities within us at the same time. This has a direct relationship to the dynamics in the spinal nerve, and to the dynamics of kundalini. More on that later. The thing to understand here is that I AM has some special characteristics. This may sound theoretical, but it becomes very experiential in time. As your experience advances, you will find that the vibrational quality of the mantra has a direct correspondence with inner ecstatic experiences that constitute a consummation of polarities going on in the nervous system. It is a complex, but automatic, process we stimulate with our daily practice.
Continue to be relaxed and easy in your meditations. All this theory means nothing compared to the simple process of meditation. Forget the meanings when you meditate. If all this meaning comes up in meditation, just treat it like any other thoughts. Easily go back to the mantra. Just meditate every day, and everything will come naturally. In time, you will experience inside what has been mentioned here.
Chanting I AM is not recommended if you are using it in your daily meditation. The reason is that we use the mantra for going inward to stillness of mind and body. Chanting is an outside activity. We want the habit with the mantra to be going in. In time, you will think the mantra once and be gone into pure bliss consciousness. Your nervous system will become habituated to dive into the meditative state at the drop of a hat – a wonderful ability to have in this hectic world. If you love to chant, find something else to use. Chanting has its own benefits and is wonderful, especially in groups. Stick with using the I AM mantra for going in with the simple but powerful procedure of meditation. If you like to use I AM at bedtime as you go to sleep, that’s okay, but keep it inside. Keep in mind it can be very stimulating for some people, especially as we further awaken kundalini. That could keep you awake. Of course, it is okay to use I AM in regular conversation. That is fine. That is on the level of meaning. Meditation is beyond verbal meaning, on levels of inner refinement of the vibration of thought where there is much more power.
Thinking the mantra during the day while in activity is not recommended. When you are in the world, be in the world. When you are in meditation, be in meditation. Your activity will stabilize pure bliss consciousness in your nervous system. That will happen naturally if you meditate twice a day. In general, keep meditation and activity separate. Both have their purpose. Likewise, we don’t deliberately use the mantra while we are doing pranayama, or vise versa.
The reason we don’t use the mantra in pranayama is because we are already building many other habits of practice relating to spinal breathing. Spinal breathing is an advanced practice, and becomes more advanced as we add on the other things that we do during pranayama. There are breathing mantras like So-Ham that people use during pranayama. That is fine as a beginning practice when the attention is not going up and down the spinal nerve and also building the other habits that are necessary for advanced yoga practice. Because we begin with spinal breathing in these lessons, we skip the beginning practice of breathing mantra. Instead, we do pranayama first and meditation second. In these lessons we don’t do both at the same time.
Twice a day is the formula for meditation. If morning and mid afternoon are best for you rather than morning and early evening, then do it. Take a good rest when coming out so activity will be smooth. Meditation three times a day may make you cranky. If you have a weekend or holiday, and are removed from responsibilities, you can try three meditations for a day or two. But keep in mind you are using a powerful practice that releases obstructions/impurities in your nervous system. If they come out too fast, it can be uncomfortable. That is why we rest after meditation, and then go and be active to stabilize the pure bliss consciousness in our nervous system. Find your steady pattern, and make it a routine. Regularity in practice over time is how to progress. Short intense practice for a day here and there won’t make much difference. It is what you do day in and day out for months and years that will make the difference. Then the silence of pure bliss consciousness will come up and permeate every part of your life.
The guru is in you.