Advanced Yoga Practices
Lesson 186 - Meditation - Second enhancement of mantra
Date: Mon May 10, 2004 3:18pm
As we meditate over many weeks and months we are releasing lots of obstructions that have been lodged deep in our nervous system for a long time. As our subconscious mind is gradually cleared out we find an underlying inner silence becoming more apparent in our daily life. It is, in fact, our true Self emerging as we clear out the muck that has been blocking us from experiencing our own true nature. As the process of meditation and deep purification in our nervous system continues, we become spiritually empowered by our rising inner silence, and are able to accomplish much more in illuminating ourselves (and all who are around us) with ecstatic bliss and divine love naturally flowing out through us.
Meditation is the core practice to stimulate our nervous system to yield all these wonderful spiritual results. The mantra is the vehicle we use in meditation to systematically bring the mind to stillness. As we do, we unleash our innate pure bliss consciousness, which dissolves and releases the obstructions in us.
We began meditation with the powerful universal mantra, I AM, which takes us deep into the silent reaches of the mind effortlessly as we practice the easy procedure of deep meditation. As we became intimately familiar and smooth with this process of using the I AM mantra, we introduced the first mantra enhancement. This gave us the option to broaden our presence in pure bliss consciousness during meditation. The result of using an enhanced mantra is to stabilize more inner silence throughout our daily activities.
Now we are ready to cover a second enhancement to the mantra. But before we do, please go and review the discussion included with the first mantra enhancement. It is lesson #116, “Meditation – First enhancement of mantra.”
This will save us from having to cover again here the basic concepts involved in mantra enhancement, and the analogy of stepping up the mantra in a way similar to how we skillfully shift gears in an accelerating car.
Now, if we are ready, we have the opportunity to shift gears again with a second enhancement of the mantra. We will still have the same root syllables of “I AM,” and also the syllables that were added with the first enhancement. And something more will be added now.
The second enhancement is a further expanded mantra. It is:
SHREE OM SHREE OM I AM I AM NAMAH (audio)
This mantra is used with the same procedure of meditation we learned in the beginning.
Note: As has been discussed on several occasions in past lessons, the I AM component of the mantra can also be spelled AYAM, with the exact same pronunciation.
You can see that this is quite a long mantra with many more syllables than the simple I AM we began with. It is important to understand that this is not a beginning mantra, and that no one will be served if it is used as such. If you are a new meditator, or have been using the first mantra enhancement for only a short while, undertaking this new mantra will not be in your best interest. It could bog you down and retard your progress, just as shifting to a higher gear in a car can bog us down if done too soon.
How will we know when it is time for us to shift to a more enhanced mantra? First, we will be smooth and stable meditating using our previous mantra for at least several months, with some steady silence being experienced in both meditation and in daily activity. Second, our bhakti (spiritual desire) will be compelling us to move forward. Both smoothness in our present practice and bhakti are necessary for us to make the shift.
With our present mantra, if we are having a lot of thoughts and sensations happening in meditation without a lot of silence, this is very good also. It means we are doing a lot of purification, and many obstructions are coming out. However, this is not the time to shift gears to a more enhanced mantra. Imagine you are driving up a steep hill in your car, and your engine is doing okay in the present gear, but not having power to spare either. Would you up-shift at that time? Of course not. It is the same with meditation. If we are unloading lots of obstructions with our present mantra, then this is not the time to shift to a higher mantra (gear). We just keep on going with our present mantra, and at some point we will see some clearing in our meditation process, with more silence coming up and fewer obstructions coming out. After some time in that situation, at least a few months, then we can go for the shift if we want to. If we don’t want to, that is okay too. The entire journey can be made with I AM, or with the first enhancement, if this is our preference.
If we have shifted to an enhanced mantra too early, we will know it soon enough. We will feel like we are slogging through mud. We will be bogging down and not having good results in daily activity. It is not the end of the world. If we find ourselves in this situation ongoing, the solution is simple. We just shift back down to our previous mantra and go with that for a few more months, or however long it takes us to reach the point when we are ready to shift up. Self-pacing, remember?
A false start with a mantra enhancement can happen, but we should avoid it if we can. The reason is it takes time for a new mantra to settle in. If we have shifted too early and are trying to settle in with the new mantra, and then decide to go back to the previous one, it will take time again to change the pattern of the mantra deep in the mind. For this reason we do not change mantras often, up or down. We want to be going deep with our mantra in one place. These enhancements are for facilitating that process. Beyond these basic shifts we do not switch our mantra around. Neither do we try and use multiple mantras, not with the approach in these lessons. We want to cultivate the ability to go deep in every sitting. To do this, we will be best served by using a single vehicle, our mantra.
So let’s take our time, and do everything we can to produce good progress while maintaining stability and comfort in our routine.
Regarding this second enhancement to the mantra, no doubt there will be some questions about what the components are for. Why this particular mantra?
For starters, as has been previously discussed, the mantra is not about language or meaning. The mantra at every stage is for stable and progressive vibrational quality deep in the nervous system. The quality of vibration is for maximum purification with comfort, and this can be clearly perceived with different mantra syllables by anyone who has ecstatic conductivity coming up in their nervous system.
This is why we started with I AM as the beginning mantra instead of something else. I AM is very balanced, stable and progressive deep in the nervous system. If we had started with OM for deep meditation we would have had a progressive beginning mantra also, but not such a balanced and stable one deep in the nervous system. In fact, OM can wreak havoc deep in the nervous system if prerequisite housecleaning has not been done. OM is not a good beginning mantra for this reason. As with so many things in spiritual life, this is a paradox, because OM can be seen and heard everywhere. It is even written on the subway walls! Yet, OM is not a good choice for a beginning mantra for deep meditation. OM is not so good in a first enhancement either, where we want to expand on I AM, beginning to develop another dimension of inner polarity in our nervous system. We do this with SHREE, which is also progressive and stable, and going in the desired new direction. With that in place, we are finally ready for OM.
Note: OM is fine for traditional chanting and kirtans (devotional singing), which do not go as deep into the nervous system as we do in our sitting meditation. So don’t take this lesson to mean OM should not be used in the traditional ways.
Some might be thinking, “What is the big deal? Is the build-up of the mantra really so delicate?”
Yes, it is. As we facilitate the process of the mind going to stillness, we are entering the silent level of greatest power inside us. Recall that this is where samyama and siddhis (powers) originate also. If we are premature in our evolving practice with an angle of vibration with the mantra, it can produce a lot of upheaval as obstructions are released either too fast, or in the wrong order. In dealing with the inner workings deep in the nervous system, there are easy ways to do house cleaning, and there are hard ways. We will always opt for the easy ways whenever we can find them. We will get into more detail on the design of the mantra in another lesson.
Now you have the second enhancement of the mantra available for use whenever you are ready. Don’t rush into it prematurely. It will be here when you need it, and I know you will find great inner joy using it then.
The guru is in you.