Vedic meditation teacher Thom Knoles explains succinctly how the process of using mantras leads the mind beyond thought and into a state of supreme inner contentedness.
The idea is we want to move from the field of thinking to the field of being. Vedic meditation provides a very systematic procedure whereby the mind is experiencing a particular sound—we refer to these sounds collectively as mantras. A mantra is a mind vehicle. It’s a meaningless word which has a value not as a word per se but as a sound.
When the mind begins to think that sound, the sound becomes progressively softer, fainter, finer, and it also increases in charm. And as the charm of it increases and increases, the mind follows it naturally because our minds naturally are geared to follow whatever becomes more charming.
And so the mind follows the mantra as it becomes subtler and softer. Eventually the mantra becomes so faint that it’s almost imperceptible, and then it just vanishes. The mind is left for a moment in a state where there’s no mantra and no thought replacing it. And that is a moment of transcendence and this quality is bliss.
The bliss in this case is not ecstasy, as in blissfulness. Bliss is a supreme inner contentedness.
Now, in a new meditator, that state does not last very long. The first thought you have while meditating when you experience that is, “this is it,” or “here I am.” And, in fact, you’re not there anymore. What you need to learn is how to come back to that sound, allow the mind to effortlessly settle down, and touch that state again. Once the mind has learned how to do this, then it will do so effortlessly every time you trigger that phenomenon.
About Thom Knoles
Thom Knoles is a pre-eminent master-teacher of Vedic Meditation. He is a thought-leader and celebrated speaker on the cognitive sciences, on the potential of the brain and health of the body, on the relationship between quantum physics and human consciousness, and on the 5,000 year-old body of wisdom known as the Veda (knowledge governing the unity of the laws of nature and human consciousness from which yoga, meditation, and Ayur Veda are derived).
In India, he is called “Maharishi Vyasananda.” It means “the great seer who sequentially elaborates knowledge blissfully”. He learned Vedic Meditation in the ‘60s from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who became Thom’s personal mentor and his predominant spiritual and educational influence over the next two decades.
Thom spent most of the 1970s teaching in Australia and researching abroad at Maharishi European Research University (MERU), a prestigious post-graduate neuroscience-and-consciousness research institute based in Switzerland which attracted the support of several Nobel laureates, eminent scholars and researchers.
He received an honorary doctorate, “Doctor of Science of Creative Intelligence” (D.Sci) in 1978 and quickly became a sought-after public speaker and educator, consulting to more than 40 top corporations and federal and state governments in Australia and abroad, as well as government-funded meditation programs in prisons in Australia and in the United States.
In the ‘80s, Thom carried out extensive consulting work with Australian corporations and federal and state government bodies. He trained alongside Deepak Chopra in India under pre-eminent Ayur Vedic masters to become an Ayur Veda practitioner and educator. He later presented Ayur Veda to principal medical chiefs of major hospitals and the full board of the National Health and Medical Research Council (“NHMRC”) of Australia.
In the 1990s, Thom taught meditation at the highest level in the United States and Australia to captains of industry and to government bodies, as well as privately mentoring hundreds of highly influential decision makers and celebrities. His total number of personally taught students surpassed 10,000 by the mid-90s.