We’ve all seen the silhouette image of a figure sitting cross legged with their hands perched on the knees, palms up. We can all recognize this as a symbol associated with meditation and mindfulness. Many of us have gone to yoga classes and at the end sat in silence with eyes closed in this position and everyone suddenly knows to repeat the same mantra – OM. Why? How do we all know to do this at the end of a session? Did we forget that we signed up for some kind of improv everywhere yoga session? And what does it mean?
So, what exactly is OM and why do it?
OM, as stated prior, is a mantra that we chant during meditative sessions. It consists of three phonetic components (A-U-M) and a silence that follows the chant. Each part of the sound encompasses a different state and contains the power of all other mantra combined. OM is considered the embodiment of the ultimate, omnipotent, and all-pervading essence of existence. (The Rubin Museum)
A – waking state
U – dream state
M – deep sleep
At the end of AUM is a pause, a silence. This represents the state known as Turiya, or Infinite Consciousness. (mindbodygreen)
In one breath chant, “Aaaa—Uooo—Mmm,” followed by silence. The fullness of the “A” sound collapses into “U,” then “M,” and finally the silence of all three together once they have ended on the gross level. The waking, dreaming, and deep sleep states merging into the Oneness of the Absolute. (Chopra Center)
When OM is part of our mantra we experience the fully expanded level of creation, attuning our individual souls to the Ultimate Reality.
Need more motivation? Meditation, in general, has been proven to help decrease activity in the “me” centers of the brain and create an overall greater connection with one’s self and with the world surrounding. Meditation has also been proven to help increase your ability to focus, which we all desperately need in a world where we are expected to multitask constantly and are constantly forgetting what it is we are trying to do. (Well, maybe not all of us but I know I am guilty of having a terrible attention span and concentration level.) Meditation also reduces anxiety! (So do dogs and other small animals, but this is not about that…) The list goes on and on for benefits of meditation, so what have you got to lose by giving it a try?
Currently (Feb 3 – May 8) there is a booth set up at The Rubin Museum to collect everyone’s recording of their OM, called the Om Lab, so that it can be used in an audio installation later this summer, The World Is Sound (opening June 16th)!
The Secret Doctrine of the Rosicrucians says, “The One becomes Many, the Unity becomes Diversity, the Identical becomes Variety, yet the Many remains One.”