Yoga

Om, sweet om

August 14, 2016
Om, sweet om

I can’t om anymore.

Om is the universal sound. This sacred mantra, considered to be the “primordial seed” of the universe, is the root mantra and encapsulates into a single sound the essence of the many thousands of verses of the Vedas.  Om is actually composed of three letters, each one of them representing one state of consciousness. Richard Rosen, in an article about the meaning of om, explains that : “a (pronounced “ah”) represents our waking state, which is also the subjective consciousness of the outer world; u (pronounced “ooh”) is the dreaming state, or the consciousness of our inner world of thoughts, dreams, memories, and so on; and m is the dreamless state of deep sleep and the experience of ultimate unity.” As the om lingers at the end until it dissolves into silence, we are far from being done though. After having passed through each state of consciousness mentioned, we finish with the transcendent state found in silence, the crowd of the mantra as Rosen defines it. Om is the beginning, the middle and the end, all reunite into one complete and unique sound.

The om opens the door to meditation. It prepares our mind, helps us start focusing on one object. It also helps us establish that precious connection with ourselves, or more precisely with the Divine within ourselves. Rosen mentions that for the ancient sage Vyasa, through chanting om, “the supreme soul is revealed”.

It’s one thing to set yourself up for meditation. You can pretend you are fine as you sit still. You can look all put together. But when the time comes to sing, you will immediately know. The truth will come out of your throat. If your om is proud and clear, take it as it is, and enjoy this state of wellbeing.  and if nothing comes out, you will know something is wrong, or more disaligned let’s say. Your true self isn’t shining through. Om is a vibrant signal of how you are doing.

That’s the beauty of the om. It cannot lie. By coming back to the essence of the universe, you have to face the truth. In our everyday life, we can choose not to go there where it’s dark, where you are afraid. We can pretend, even to ourselves, that we are okay. However, no matter how many masks we put on, no matter how hard we try to play seek-and-hide with the things that bother us, the om will take us back to ourselves, each and every time we sit to chant.

I don’t know much about chakras, but I guess that om not coming out might be related to some blockage in the fifth one, vishuddha, the throat chakra, which is linked to communication, self-expression and creativity. It’s just an hypothesis that resonates with me, as I know that I will have trouble chanting om when I am not listening to myself, not respecting my limits, or when I am dealing with a difficult emotional state but pretend I am still okay. Like now. I know I can’t om because I am anxious, putting a lot of pressure on myself to get some amazing results at school in the hope of maybe one day get into grad school if I feel like it, as well as keeping up with all my projects in my actual job because I feel blessed to have landed such a great position at such a young age, as well as working hard to be an all-star on some other project with an amazing company that I really don’t want to disappoint. I feel stuck, I feel tired, I feel like I need more space to just simply, freely be myself, fully creative, fully invested in the present moment. When it happens, nothing is coming out of my throat, I can’t join others as they are chanting om.

So what is there to do when you want to chant but nothing is coming out? How can we get back to singing a loud and proud om? What makes the om special is that it is not asking for an answer. It is complete in itself. The message that it is sending you as you try to chant is also complete in itself. It is simply there for you to notice, without having anything to do about it. It’s about being able to acknowledge, and welcome, how you are feeling right now, and to recognize that the connection with the Divine within yourself that is also in everyone else is accessible to you today. Whether your om is loud and proud, shy and tentative, or maybe even silent doesn’t matter: that connection was, is and will always be. The beauty resides in your om resonating with the om of everyone else, here and now, regardless of where you are, in a studio, your room or at the other end of the world, regardless of who you are with, well surrounded or alone. Your om will show you the way home.

 

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