May 13, 2022
Here are some hints which may be of some practical use for those of you who wish to take meditation a bit more seriously.
1. Sit with your body erect. Become aware of the body, the posture, its contact points. This wll stop dissipation of attention. Then watch the breathing, listen to the breath (you must follow this very carefully otherwise you will miss it). As you listen within yourself you hear the SO on the inhalation and the HAM on the exhalation (or the other way around). You hear the sound SOHAM clearly. Can you also find out where the sound arises? When you talk, the sound comes out from the throat. Can you similarly locate from where the sound of SOHAM comes from when your vocal cords are not functioning? You still hear this SOHAM. What produces the sound and where is it located? If you can closely watch and tune into that sound, then it is possible to be totally absorbed in it. In the process of trying to locate it clearly you will discover that your mind is calming down, slowing down, and becoming introverted.
2. You hear the sound of SOHAM within you. Are you saying it or are you listening to it? For instance, when you are speaking you are also listening to it, because the sound waves come out of the mouth and enter into your ears. But while repeating the mantra, you are not uttering a word, yet you can hear the sound of SOHAM. Are you saying that sound or are you listening to it? In other words, there seem to be two distinct personalities or entities within you — one that says SOHAM, and the other one that listens to SOHAM. Are you this one, or that one? It is not an intellectual question and there are no intellectual answers. You're asking for a direct perception, not a verbalization or a verbal answer at all.
3. As you go on asking this question, suddenly a question pops up, “Maybe I am neither of these". There seems to be one that says the mantra, another that listens to it and there is a third who asked this question and is aware of the two!
It is at this point that we get into the vital aspect of yoga. That is, the inquiry: "who am I, what is 'I'?" It is introduced in such a subtle way that eventually you almost stumble into the truth. In that deep inquiry lies the secret of the use of the mantra.