Dear Yoga Mentor, My Question Is…

Sometimes students have written to or asked Swami Veda and other senior teachers in our tradition questions about practice.  This is one such “Question and Answer,” or Q&A.


I've recently started studying the tradition after a few years of various Buddhist meditation techniques.  I've been to the center in Minneapolis and plan to take more detailed instruction.  My question is I just cannot get the So Ham mantra out of my head.  After practicing the other day I had an experience that can only be described as my skin just shimmering or vibrating.  Just curious if this kind of thing is normal.  I really enjoy the tradition and I am learning so much.

Answer: Three have answered this question: Lalita Arya (Ammaji), Michael Smith, and Carolyn Hume.

From Lalita Arya (Ammaji):

The experiences are normal, should be ignored, not dwelt upon unnecessarily. Otherwise they become distracting and disturb the flow of deep meditation. These sorts of feelings come from the practice of the physical manifestation of the mantra sound - and like any outflow of mind either outer or inner can mis-lead into egoistic ballooning causing further distraction. If, however, they continue to seriously disturb, the initiate should consult with his/her initiator teacher/guide.

From Michael Smith:

Swami Veda’s advice has always been not to be too concerned or speculative about the presence or movement of energy, but just to “absorb it” and continue to stay relaxed, neutral and open, with smooth, even, continuous breathing.  

The surest signs of meditative progress, he says, are emotional stability clarity of vision, and peacefulness – not meditational phenomena, such as inner sounds and lights and so forth.

“If you want exciting stimulation,” he says, “the outside world provides an abundance of it, like the Aquatennial Parade and Fireworks in Minneapolis. Do not search inside from what you can find outside.”

From Carolyn Hume:

It is nice to hear that you have had the opportunity to go to The Meditation Center in Minneapolis.

"Exhaling, mentally remember the word ham. Inhaling, mentally remember the word so. It means 'I am That'." - Swami Veda Bharati in his booklet "Beginning Meditation." 

People have many different experiences when they are practicing.  It would be advisable to not become attached to this feeling - just be mindful or witness the phenomenon - and return your attention to your breathing (which should be diaphragmatic) and mantra.

You might be interested in reading the book Mantra and Meditation by Pandit Usharbudh Arya (now Swami Veda Bharati). 

At some point, you may want to take mantra initiation. You may also like to read this article "Mantra - What and Why" by Swami Veda: http://ahymsin.org/main/swami-veda-bharati/mantra-what-and-why.html 

Editor’s Note:

If you have a question about spiritual practice, you can use this link to ask it:  http://ahymsin.org/main/adhyatma-samiti-spiritual-committee.html

For previous “Dear Yoga Mentor, My Question Is…” columns, please use this link: http://ahymsin.org/main/practice/administrator.html



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