After we start a heart-based meditation practice, we soon begin to appreciate the benefits we experience from daily practice. We also start enjoying the condition of stillness and composure we experience after each meditation in the morning.
Progressively, this condition starts to extend throughout the day. We remember the inner state more frequently, and with this undercurrent of stillness we are able to fulfil our world responsibilities effectively, with minimum emotional disturbance. In other words, we start becoming meditatively active – with an inner meditative state we are outwardly active. This is an important transition, because active meditation leads us to be meditatively active.
It is often short-lived, though, as it is difficult to retain a meditative state in the midst of day-to-day activities. It recedes as the day goes on, we end up losing the state of remembrance, and we find it difficult to retrieve. What if we could extend this meditative state throughout the day?
To reach the stage where it becomes permanent we need a method, and it is explained through the acronym AEIOU. It is a way of deeply absorbing the meditative state within us. This method is practiced after meditation for a few minutes. It can also be done at other times during the day for a few minutes, like switching between activities, so as to retrieve the meditative condition into our consciousness.
A is Acquiring the condition. To do this, we study our condition closely right after meditation. For example, we may observe our breathing pattern, the quality and intensity of our thoughts and feelings, any activity or movement we experienced in the chakras during meditation, and any inspirations. We can contrast this with what we observed before meditation. Then we can appreciate what we have acquired.
This leads to E, Enlivening the condition. We do this by enjoying the condition received. It is a special gift conferred on us, and gratitude intensifies the joy.
This leads to I, Imbibing the condition. We do this by suggesting and feeling that the condition is percolating every cell of our physical body and every part of our subtle body. This way, we begin the process of digesting the condition.
This leads to O, becoming One with the condition. We do this by suggesting that everything around us – the air particles, birds, trees, and so on – is filled with the same condition.
This leads to U, Union with the condition. We do this by suggesting that we are dissolving in the condition and allowing the condition alone to exist.
If we adopt this practice for a few precious minutes after meditation, ideally with eyes closed, we will deeply encode the condition into our consciousness. Our ability to retrieve and re-experience the condition during the day will be enhanced. Just as we are able to recall a fine joke and laugh over it, we will recall our meditative state and enjoy it all over again. We start mastering our condition and gaining a grip over it.
Then, periodically pause for a few minutes during the day, and also practice AEIOU. Progressively, remembrance will become more and more frequent and eventually become Constant Remembrance.
There is also merit to AEIOU from a scientific perspective. Neuroscientific studies suggest that our ability to retrieve information from long-term memory (the part of our memory system that stores experiences) into working memory, is directly influenced by how effectively we encode the event into our long-term memory as soon as it occurs. In turn, the quality of encoding is enhanced when we truly connect to the feeling of the experience. That is exactly what we do through interiorizing and absorbing the experience after meditation.
So as to better encode the new meditative state into the depths of our being, we also recommend writing a journal after meditation.
AEIOU is a way of absorbing any state inward through the levels of being. It starts at the surface, with the mental level of thinking. We use the mental faculties of thinking, intelligence, and identification to understand. Then it moves deeper, to the level of feeling in the heart. As we go deeper still, we “become” that state; we move past feeling and experience to becoming. The next step is to “be” the state. This is where we develop Oneness or osmosis. Eventually, we are no longer aware that the state is there at all. We are so merged in it that it is no longer identifiable as a state. We have moved to non-being. These are the levels of the heart – thinking, feeling, becoming, being, and eventually non-being.
At a practical level, this deep immersion in our inner state has a profound effect on our communication with ourselves. The inner chatter and especially the negative inner dialogue that most of us are prone to – self-criticism, self-blame, self-judgement, worry and so on – makes way for a silent inner communion with ourselves and inner joy. This in turn creates a vacuum in the heart attracting divine Grace, further amplifying our joy. A virtuous cycle is established.
This inner communion has a soothing effect on those around us. We start speaking in a calm and loving manner, with an intention to connect with others. Any intention to hurt others is gone, so non-violence becomes a part of our being. Our tone of voice is refined, as the weight of emotions reduces. Our inner communion reflects in our outer communication. People are automatically drawn to us and become more receptive to our ideas and suggestions.
Progressively, inner stillness speaks. Our ability to listen improves. Even when someone is aggressive or attempts to hurt us, we remain unphased. People start feeling safe with us. They experience a clarity, connection and even healing in their interactions with us, even though we don’t say much. Our communication evolves into communion. Our inner joy radiates, too.
There is a beautiful story of Lord Buddha in this connection. Once a fearsome thief accosted the Buddha to harm him. On seeing the blissful composure of the Buddha, his own violence dissolved. The thief went on to become one of Lord Buddha’s most devoted disciples. Such is the power of inner stillness – it creates an echo in the Universe. Our world today is in dire need of this deep and transformative stillness.
Through AEIOU, we add depth and richness to meditation. We start the meditation by thinking that “The source of Light that is already present within my heart is attracting me from within.” Once we settle into the thought, we dive deeper into the feeling behind the thought – we want to experience the presence of the source of Light in the heart. As this feeling permeates our being, we become the Light, then we move to the state of being the Light, and eventually all of it disappears into nothingness, into non-being. That is why meditation is the mother of Constant Remembrance. When we meditate well, we will know how to absorb the spiritual state we have received and become one with it at the deepest level of our being.
So AEIOU is not only a method to absorb and gain true mastery over the state gifted during meditation. It is also a way of taking our inner state to the next level. It helps us dive deeper through the levels, from thinking to feeling to becoming to being to non-being. In other words, it takes us from the surface to the Center. It enables our spiritual development and also has a positive effect on our interaction with the world.
You can apply the process equally to the practice of remembrance. How deep is your remembrance? How can you evolve from thinking about the Divine to resonating with the inner essence, so that you eventually forget your very existence in the state of complete non-being?