Ohm. It’s one of those things that either delights people or freaks them out.
So, let’s all just take a full, deep breath, coming into awareness of our bodies. And exhaling, let’s release any tension that we may find in our bodies. If you are someone who delights in ohm, please, by all means chant along on the exhale. If you are someone who tends to be freaked out by or resists ohm, please, by all means just enjoy the deep relaxation that comes through your exhalation. And on our next inhalation we find ourselves in the present moment. And on our exhale we relax. And one final time, inhaling we prepare ourselves to stay present and to be receptive. Exhaling we release.
Now that we are centered and present, let’s look at ohm because it brings us to a very helpful understanding of the nature of our lives and truly of all things.
One of the stories about the sound ohm says that it is a sacred sound because it embodies our true nature. When we look at other traditions and concepts, we often find new ways of expressing human experience. We find ways to more fully experience something we recognize, but may not have a ritual or story or a word in our own tradition that puts us into such direct contact with a particular concept or experience. These things often help us make the intangible mysteries more experientially accessible.
Ohm contains three separate sounds that represent three different Hindu deities; Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma represents the act of creation. Vishnu represents preservation or maintenance. And Shiva represents destruction and transformation. The entire repeating cycle of life is embodied in this mantra. Creation, life, destruction and then the transformation that brings us back into creation.
Ohm can begin with a full, deep cleansing breath…deep inhalation filling the body and a deep exhalation that releases all that is being held. Another inhalation and then the sound begins in the back of the mouth with A, the seed sound for Brahma, creation, new beginnings. It continues as the breath moves to the mid-mouth where it lingers with the sound U, the seed sound for Vishnu, the maintenance and daily living of life. Finally it leaves the mouth through the lips with M, the seed sound for Shiva, the inevitable ending of all things, the burning off of the old that creates space and nutrients for the new creation. At the end there is a moment of silence while the breath gathers again and rolls back into Aaaaaaaaaaaaa Uuuuuuuuuuuuuu Mmmmmmmmm…Ohm. Creation. Maintenance. Destruction that naturally rolls into Transformation and back again to Creation.
And this is where our truth lies; in the cyclical nature of energy. Each ohm. Each breath. Each encounter. Each day. Each season. Each life.
Each beginning at some point stops being new and we find ourselves in the daily activities of life. Each life stage, each relationship, each job, each thought and emotion; they all begin and pass away as we walk through the maintenance of life. And just as each had a beginning and each moved along, each of these will end. We will experience some endings without our ever recognizing that something has come to an end, as we do with each breath. Some things will end with joy, as we celebrate accomplishments or get to the other side of a difficult time in life or heal from illness. And some will end in grief as we mourn the loss of things and people that we have loved and identified with deeply. If we are not skillful, many will end in anger and regret, but many can end with gratitude and peace.
Wherever we find ourselves in this cycle of life and energy, it is helpful to remember that it is our current state. Not our essence. Just our current state. This helps us when we become over identified or anxious and it leads us to the sacredness of each moment, each relationship, each experience as we understand its fleeting nature.