by Swami Muktidharma
Much of the way we perceive the world and express our personality is due to the education or programming that we have received from society, our parents and all the experiences we have passed through in life. We have been trained to strive to be somebody or something, instead of just being. In this false process of becoming, we actually move far away from our own center of being. All the so-called education has been based on ambitions and attachments, which are usually the food for the ego. These ambitions create desires, and most desires create bondage and misery.
However, we cannot ignore the mind, the deep desires and ambitions if we wish to live in a balanced way in this world. Thus in the yogic tradition, the mind has been given a place of great importance and all of the practices, even those physical in nature, revolve around managing the mind.
Thus we need techniques in order to create a deeper awareness of how the mind affects our lives. SWAN practice is one tool that begins the process of integrating yoga into life and gaining control of our personality and our mind. SWAN involves analyzing the Strengths, Weaknesses, Ambitions and Needs.
When we lack this deep understanding of our own personality, there is confusion and we end in conflict with ourselves. Sometimes it may manifest as ego as we try to be something that we are not or we may never make an effort to shift our lives, because fear stops us, so we create failure in our lives. In order to gain control over our external existence we need to develop a true sense of the personality, and take control of our own lives again, rather than being controlled by deep patterns.
The technique of Antar Mouna (Inner Silence Meditation) is a practice used to develop the witness. It is based on the discipline of observation. We are trained to become an indifferent witness of the movements in the wild mind. This neutrality charged with passive awareness is one of the greatest ways to loosen the grip the mind has on our consciousness. A deep process of non-identification with the mind takes place, thus de-programming it.
Therefore working with the mind is essential. These techniques are powerful tools belonging to the tantric tradition, which do not reject the mind, but instead befriend it, and use the mind as a stepping-stone, in order to go beyond it. Antar Mouna and SWAN practice gradually tone down the thinking, noisy mind into a meditative one. A meditative or silent mind is one, which is connected with the heart. It is highly creative and has the ability to transform weaknesses into strengths. Ambitions can be channeled into positive ventures and opportunities arise to manifest positivity in all aspects of our lives.
Swami Muktidharma is offering workshop at Hemma May 10-12th on his annual world tour. In his workshop ‘Explore Your Personality with Yoga’ on May 11th he will speak more on these meditation techniques.