What is OM?

What is OM or AUM?

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OM, or more accurately AUM, is described as the original sound. We sound AUM at the beginning of a practice to align ourselves with the natural forces and energies that sustain our bodies, surroundings, and universe.

[blockquote class=”blockquote”]
Thirty spokes share a hub;
The usefulness of the cart
lies in the space where there is nothing.

Clay is kneaded into a vessel;
The usefulness of the vessel
lies in the space where there is nothing.

A room is created by cutting out doors and windows;
The usefulness of the room
lies in the space where there is nothing.

The benefit of things lies in the usefulness of nothing.

Tao Te Ching – Chapter 11[/blockquote]

Ancient teachings and modern science agree: you, I, all living things, all things in existence are made up, at their most fundamental levels, of vibrating, pulsing energy and sound.

The syllable AUM represents the 3 aspects of existence: creation, sustenance, and destruction or renewal. Everything that IS, is in constant motion; never still, even though it may appear so. The primal energy that oversees this motion is believed by the ancients to be represented by the syllable AUM. This energy is said to be the anahata nada, or the unstruck sound, meaning literally “the sound that is not made by striking two things together.”

This unstruck sound can be “heard” or experienced when we are completely still, in mind, body, and spirit. More commonly, AUM can be experienced inside a seashell, listening to the wind, or when in completely isolated silence, the soft hum or buzz in our ears. It is literally the absence of all sound, before sound is made. AUM is the sound of atoms, molecules, and energy buzzing in constant motion, creating, sustaining, and renewing all that we see. These tiny pieces of existence are made up of mostly nothing, and it is in that empty space where AUM is said to reside.

When we chant or sound AUM, the yogis teach us that producing this sound aligns our entire being (body, mind, spirit) with the cosmic process of existence. It quiets all other thoughts and sounds and aligns us together in participation with the beautiful and powerful process of EXISTENCE.