How is ‘AAO’ different from other meditation and chanting techniques?
All chanting techniques and different meditations involve focusing on something or some point or involve the repetition of a particular chant. When you are doing something, like focusing on your breath or chanting, you allow yourself to get involved again in something. When you do not do anything, you are in nothingness. Hence, when we observe silence in AAO, we have to sit in a vacuum, avoiding every activity and thought. Therefore, it is the hardest of all techniques.
However, people who follow guided meditations most sincerely have also expressed that even when they involve themselves in any guided meditation or chanting exercise, they automatically shift to observing silence.
Untrain and Unlearn What You Have Learned to Resolve Your Problems
We always try to adopt new ways of training our minds. When we train our mind in a certain way, it automatically starts working in a particular manner. And even if you want it to stop it from working in a specific manner, you cannot stop it because you get accustomed to how you have trained your mind to do something repeatedly.
It is important to note that observing silence is also the process of untraining and unlearning. I had a discussion with an enlightened person who could not completely solve his problems despite exploring various practices for a solution to his problems. He had learnt so much that the most challenging task for me was to make him unlearn what he had learned. I simply told him to relax and let the problem go. Amused at my suggestion, he asked me how could he let go of an issue that was troubling him so much.
This is what I told him and would like to share with all of you: Our mind works like a computer: it receives data, puts it in one part of our mind, computes it, and then programs it. However, when it cannot resolve and program a particular thought and then another problem surfaces, you force it to run and analyze many programs altogether. This takes away all your energy instead of giving you energy. However, when you sit in silence, all those programs will start running automatically. We must let all the thoughts of our mind process in their entirety until our mind is occupied with contemplating them. When you observe silence, all your problems will be programmed by your mind and processed.
When to practice ‘AAO’?
I suggest that people observe silence for whatever amount of time they get, even for an hour or a few hours.
You must remember that observing silence has to be a regular process that has to be done as a part of your daily routine. The best time for observing silence is before you sleep at night. Before lying down to sleep, sit and observe silence for 10-15 minutes. This will allow you to have a very peaceful sleep because you let all the data and thoughts in your mind settle down. Just like when we turn off the computer, it takes time to close all the windows; your mind also needs some time to process the thoughts one by one. A good sleep after observing silence helps you reboot yourself in the morning.
Also, I have found that observing silence in the evening is more fruitful than doing so in the morning, as we have so many things to tend to in the morning. But in the evening, you can scan the entire day by observing silence fully. By sitting silent before sleeping, all your thoughts get sorted by themselves, making you ready to go to bed.