Have you ever wondered what the symbol OM, or the sound OM means?
An explanation of OM
OM is considered a primordial vibration, existing from the beginning of time.
Vedic seers, or sages knew what modern scientists have only recently discovered. Thousands of years ago, they were aware that everything in the universe was made up of vibrations, everything, including human beings.
Ancient Vedic seers, or sages were so connected to the universe that they were able to discern the subtle variations of innumerable vibrations that constitute the universe.
They could distinguish the vibration that made the sound OM, as the most fundamental sound of creation.
For thousands of years the practice of chanting OM aloud, or silently in your mind, was believed to expedite the journey that leads a practitioner back to the center within himself or herself, which is also the center of the universe, and the source of creation.
Swami Rama, one of the greatest masters of the 20th century and founder of the Himalayan Institute, says, “Consciousness is experienced by the individual self on three different levels, and there is a fourth state that is beyond the comprehension of the mind.”
The first state is the waking state of consciousness, the second state is the sleeping/dreaming state, and the third state is deep sleep during which there are no dreams. The fourth state is beyond the comprehension of the mind.
The fourth state is beyond the comprehension of the mind, but lies within the center of each living being, and is also the center of the universe.
It is beyond mind, but is within each of us. It is described as eternal bliss. It is also described as “home,” and something we all long for.
OM consists of three sounds A-U-M representing the three levels of consciousness, and the silence after the sounding of OM represents the fourth state, which is the state beyond our comprehension, and is eternal bliss, home.
In addition, the sounds produced by the letters A-U-M denote the continuous cycle of life that the universe creates, sustains and destroys only to create, sustain, and destroy over and over again. Like a seed that creates a plant, maintains it long enough to drop another seed, and then dies, over and over again. Everything in the universe, including human beings, goes through these cycles.
When producing the letter A, there is a soft aspirate sound, which is the sound of breath, prana, or life force. The letter A represents the creator, and the waking state of consciousness.
The letter U represents sustenance or the maintainer, and the sleeping and dreaming state of consciousness.
And the letter M represents the destroyer, and the deep sleep state of consciousness, sleep without dreams.
After these three phonemes, A-U-M are sounded out, the mmm merges into silence, and the fourth state of consciousness, the silence is eternal bliss, home, and is beyond mind and beyond words.
The breakdown of the eternal OM symbol follows the precept of three levels of consciousness, the large curved part depicts the awake or waking state, the middle curve depicts the sleep/dream state of consciousness, the top curve depicts
the deep-sleep/no dreams state of consciousness, and the dot depicts a silent awareness state beyond consciousness. The curve just below the dot depicts the concept that there is a veil between the first three states of consciousness obscuring the fourth state. The veil is an illusion fabricated by our ego, the lower states of consciousness. Once the ego and emotions are quieted down, by practicing meditation, the veil disappears and we can go to the fourth state, beyond mind and into bliss, which is home.
Swami Rama states “OM leads one to realize the summum bonum of life. When an aspirant practices chanting the sound OM to attain a one-pointed mind, he does not find any difficulty in coordinating this sound with the breath. Any other sound coordinated with the breath creates jerks in the breath and obstructs its serene flow, and when the breath flow is disturbed its counterpart – the mind or thinking process – is also disturbed.”
Silently chant OM during your mediation. In this way, you prepare yourself for the journey that leads you to a supreme state within, the journey home inside yourself.
Being in this state is like being in the eye of a hurricane where it’s quiet and peaceful, while external events and dialogs are whirling around you. In this state you are unaffected by emotions.
It is wonderful to note that after some practice it is possible to access this peaceful state whenever we choose.
I BEGIN NOW: to silently chant OM over and over again in my meditation practice.