Tinnitus, the AUM Technique, and Kriya Yoga Meditation

Question

I’ve had for years a very loud and disturbing high pitch ringing in my ears (tinnitus). I never discovered the underlying cause. Meditation is a challenge in itself, but I’ve been trying to practice the techniques and slowly hoping I can establish a routine. The hardest challenge is the 'Om technique'. I suspect it will ever be possible for me to advance in my practice due to my condition. Since this is a requirement for Kriya initiation, I wonder if I should pursue another Path?

—Ev, England

Answer

Dear Ev,

I too have tinnitus and yet I practice the AUM technique regularly. I have found that as I focus on the inner sounds, the (now) outer or more physical sound of tinnitus decreases — not in volume, presumably, but owing to my attention on other sounds especially with the aid of the mudra and arm rest.

People who are classified as deaf can hear the inner sounds. Tinnitus is not an astral sound but generated based on grosser electrical and nerve impulses. Thus, like outer sounds themselves, it IS possible to hear the sounds of the chakras, or AUM in spite of tinnitus.

Obviously, to do so will require more concentration; it will also benefit by an extra effort to “attune” to what the inner sounds might sound like: motor or bumble bee, flute, harp etc etc. And the cosmic symphony of AUM itself. This is true so you can mentally by force of your attention “push aside” the tinnitus signal in order to recognize the subtler and infinitely more interesting astral sounds. It’s not unlike having to meditate in a noisy environment.

However, I will have to say that since tinnitus is something only its victims can diagnose (since no one else can hear it and I’ve never heard of a machine that can definitively detect it), I have to also admit that what may be true for me might not be true for your particular case.

However, if “the good Lord” makes it impossible for you to hear the inner sounds, just take that as guru’s grace and move on: we have SO many other techniques and besides kriya is our central technique. So, “hey,” don’t worry about it! [Personally I would say: practice AUM anyway! If God wants you to hear the inner sounds by virtue of your love and dedication, you will hear the inner sounds! Right?]

I feel I can say with some conviction that your disability of tinnitus in no way suggests you should seek some other path. That is a matter of the heart, not the mind (including the ears, ha, ha!) As Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita “To my devotee, I will make good your deficiencies and render permanent your gains.” Be of good cheer!

Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA