Antar Mouna means “inner silence.” It refers to a yogic meditation technique that involves transforming and controlling thought processes through self-awareness and mindfulness.
Antar Mouna is a clear set of six stages to allow us to enter deep meditation and beyond.
During the practice of Antar Mouna you learn how to withdraw your senses from your surroundings. The withdrawal of the senses is called Pratyahara. (The practice of consciously withdrawing the senses from their objects and guiding them inward to the nature of the mind).
The first three stages of Antar Mouna meditation should be mastered before you attempt the more advanced fourth, fifth and sixth stages.
Six Stages of Antar Mouna
- Becoming aware of external sensory perceptions.
- Gaining awareness of spontaneous thoughts.
- Creating and disposing of thoughts.
- Refined awareness and disposal of spontaneous thoughts.
- Creating a state in which there are no thoughts.
- Acute awareness of your chosen personal psychic symbol.
By the sixth stage, you will reach a state of deep meditation.
There are five senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching). During the first stage of Antar Mouna practice you will learn to observe what is going on around you, analyse the sights, sounds, smells etc.. and then consciously remove your attention, allowing for you to achieve mastery of your mind. The first stage can be practiced anywhere.
BENEFITS OF STAGE ONE
- Heightened Sensory Perception.
- Awareness of Mental Conditioning.
Awareness/Visualization of Spontaneous Thought Process or Thoughtless State
When you are able to pay no attention to the things going on around you the next step is to become aware of any spontaneous thought that may arise. Your awareness that thoughts that are coming to your consciousness from the subconscious level are called Samskaras (Samskaras are the habits, patterns, impressions and mental/emotional addictions, that are based on our experiences, our traumas and our emotions, positive or negative). They are embedded in your personality and do not necessarily need any external stimuli.
What we usually do when these thoughts come to us, is take them up if they are good ones and send them back if they are bad or painful. Practically all bad thoughts are sent back to the subconscious resulting in the subconscious being filled with bad thoughts. In the practice of Antar Mouna we concentrate on calming down these thoughts by building our awareness.
BENEFITS OF STAGE TWO
- Freedom from mental conditioning.
- Stops you suppressing thoughts and conserve mental energies.
Conscious Creation and Disposal of Thoughts
In stage three of Antar Mouna we create thoughts, and while concentrating on the thoughts, we create detail imagery of what we are thinking about, and what we are feeling in relation to these thoughts.
After some practice you will naturally create more positive thoughts (like peace, compassion and love) with the end goal of you learning to let go of all thoughts in your conscious mind.
The cultivated thought can be an idea, a memory or something we want to manifest. This stage of Antar Mouna is a useful tool to practice manifestation. This practice will encourage you to dismiss any spontaneous thoughts.
BENEFITS OF STAGE THREE
- Strengthens focus and concentration.
- Memory retrieval.
- Spring cleaning of subconscious thoughts. Whenever we release, light fills the space.
Each stage prepares us for the next, and in moving onto the next stage, if something feels off, or it feels too challenging, go back the previous stage and work with that a bit more.
Awareness and Disposal of Spontaneous Thoughts
This step begins like stage two, where we allow thoughts to arise spontaneously. However, once the thought is acknowledged, we hold it in the mind so it can attract related thoughts, feelings, and memories, just like we do in stage three.
This step draws similar thoughts from the subconscious, and after a while, we have a big ball of thoughts, and once we feel ready, we release that bundle of thoughts with a long exhale through the mouth.
BENEFITS OF STAGE FOUR
- Refinement of stage three benefits.
- Deeper subconscious purging.
This stage is one described as a mental vacuum. The subconscious thoughts have been purged, and the mind finds a place of calm, while alertness or awareness is still maintained. Thoughtlessness leads to actual Inner Silence and will arise spontaneously as a result of having built your inner strength in the previous stages.
The challenge when thoughtlessness arises is usually the fruitless and frustrating attempts to hold on to the experience of thoughtlessness. Just notice when the mind is empty. Notice and rest into that space of silence and spaciousness. And when the next thought arises, continue practicing your stage of concentration technique (stage one-four).
Awareness of Psychic Symbols
When the mind is clear of unnecessary thoughts, spontaneous symbols may arise, or they may not. It is neither necessary nor essential for this to happen. When we turn our focus inward, some may “see” with our mind’s eye, whereas others may “hear” inside. In this stage you observe what happens when the flow of thoughts slow and then cease.
It is only when our minds are clear that we can see our reality and as the Buddha said, “It is your mind that creates this world”, so if you reach this truth, you will understand that you have always had the power to control your reality. Just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, you have always had the control, you just weren’t aware of it.
Exercising your mind is every bit as important as exercising your body. Mediation builds your mind muscle. Like with all practices or habits, you build up strength or resilience over time. It is important that you find what works for you. These stages of meditation can help you and if life gets in the way and you stop your practice, you can return at any stage and begin again.