My Realizations The Autobiography of Julian Lee  /  COPYRIGHT 2009 JULIAN LEE
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I Start Hearing Aum
One day in the Ozarks I noticed I was hearing a sound. I started asking people about it. I was saying to those around me, "Do you hear a low hum"? Nobody heard it. There is a story from the Oglala Sioux called the "Story of Jumping Mouse" and I played the role of the mouse then, humorously so now I can see. It took some time before I realized what that story was about. I understood it much later. The very first time I heard it, it seemed to be the sound of many sages intoning Aum and I sensed them all in caves, as though I was looking at a high Himalayan valley lined with caves and all the sages were chanting Aum. It was brief, but that was the impression. Then I thought, "Maybe it was just a semi truck that just came by, over on the road." You know, that sound when a semi-truck is approaching you fast as you stand on road, just as it comes on. But later I listened and one could not hear semi trucks on the road. It was too far.

From then on, it was a low hum or rumble always in my ears. I did not know what it was. This might surprise some, but it is not uncommon. Aum can take a number of forms, and when you are not particularly paying attention to it, it takes one form. When you concentrate on it with assiduity and respect, it takes other forms. I was very blissful during this time, but I did not know that it had to do with Aum. I was worried there was something wrong with my ears. It sounded like there was a grain elevator far away and it was grinding corn. I had lived in a town having some of these, back in Lamoni, Iowa. I asked Hector and Carol, "Are their silos or grain elevators near here?" They said, "No." Or I thought there were Caterpillar tractors over across the highway clearing land. I asked Hector, "Is there a construction project across the road?" He said "No." When they went to a Syda yoga retreat, leaving me alone in their house, I took the opportunity to investigate their refrigerator and freezer. I was certain that would solve the problem. I went near. They were making no sound. I even got the idea that there might be underground government installations, digging far into the ground in construction. Everything crossed my mind but Aum. But it was right in me. I had never expected to hear Aum.

After this many divine things happened to me. But it was not until visiting here one more time, and being alone in one of their unfinished buildings, that I realized what it was. I decided to concentrate on it and listen. That is when I realized. I found that it was a blissful sound, and endless, attractive and satisfying. It changes as you listen to it. But Aum is both blissful and painful in nature. It turns your mind away from the world. If you listen to it a lot you get "truth bearing" speech. You get protection. Gradually you come to feel there is nothing better than it.

It was by loving and following assiduously Yogananda's very first meditation technique, the one many feel is unimportant, that I began to hear it. I remember once reading further into the lessons, where Yogananda talks about the "Aum Technique." He has you sit with your ears plugged, using a table or a device to prop up your arms, and trying to hear this inner sound. I remember thinking, "This seems to complicated and hard, I am happy with what I am doing." So I just went back to loving the breathless state of the first technique. It was enough. I did not know the word "kumbhaka" then, but this is what was happening. So, enjoyment of the 2nd technique followed naturally upon diving full into the first technique, and I never had to try for the 2nd. The Yoga Sutras says, "Yoga goeth forth from yoga." That means the more you do one valid technique, the more other techniques and perceptions unfold naturally.

Once you hear Aum, you have all the meditation technique and devices you need. There is no further need for any techniques. All you need do is listen to Aum and love it. And you will love it. However, Aum hammers at you. It hammers at your ego. There have been times that I have felt terrified, believing that my life as a normal human was over, and that I would never be able tonot hear it; that I would never be able to stop hearing it. When Aum gets louder than the rest of the world's natural sounds, it forces a development called pratyahara. When this began in earnest with me, I began to flee Aum. I became a refugee from Aum in a struggle to retain normative consciousness.