Om and the Origins of our Human-ness

In most classes we use the syllable OM to begin and end each class, but what does this actually mean, and why has this become a Yogic tradition?

As in most Eastern thought, an idea cannot merely be thought of; to truly be known it must be experienced as well.  Sanskrit is an experiencial language meaning that woven into the technology of the language is the actual physical, mental and emotional experience of that linguistic concept-symbol that is being uttered.  Unfortunatley for most modern humans our ability to sense the subtleties inherent within mystical practices and traditions such as sacred language, sound and geometry has become atrophied.  According to Hazrat Inayat Kahn, a Sufi teacher and mystic, once we have been made aware of our limitations of perception, this is where the opening to our true sense of knowledge can begin.

OM is a great place to start.

OM is broken down into four parts:

(HU) -A -U-Mmmm.

HU = Spirit;  A = The Infinite Energy / the Divine;  U = the transmission of the Infinite Energy; M = the containment / embodiment of the Infinite Energy.  The resonant mmmmm at the end is the resonant vibration and expression of the Infinite Energy within its embodiment.

A (Divine) > U (transmission) > M (embodiment)…..mmmm (expression, life, human).

The utterance of OM is a recognition of the embodiment of Infinite Energy that resides in each of us.  It is also the pure experience of the embodiment of this energy, and the mmmmm fills us and moves through us.  Don’t take my word for it, try and see :).

It can be thought in this way:  The “A” is hot water; the “U” is the pouring of the water into a bottle; the “M” is the containment of the water within the bottle and putting the stopper on; the “mmmmm” is the feeling of heat emanating from the bottle.

Then if we were to hold this bottle, we could not say that it is the bottle that is hot, but the water within that is the source of the heat.

We can also experience this in our Yoga postures.  The “A” is the beginning, the setting of the foundation, The “U” is getting into the posture, the “M” is the full expression of the posture and the natural ending of it, and the “mmmmmm” is the blissful experience resonating in our body-mind shortly after coming out of the posture.

This finally brings us to our Human-ness.

“Hu”  = spirit;  “Man” = mind / consciousness (“manas” from sanskrit)

Human = Divine Consciousness; and expression of the Infinite Energy

Another way of looking at this is that human-ness is the way through which God knows itself.

By chanting OM or gazing at the sacred symbol we are acknowledging that we are indeed an embodiment of the Divine Light and Energy that both contains  and permeates all of existence.  We exist in OM and OM exists within us.

Hope this enlightens your New Year!

Peace and Love,

Joshua Graner


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