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The OM or AUM symbol is widely popular and seen today on everything from tattoos to home décor. It is chanted by many during yoga classes and meditation, but how many truly understand the depth of meaning embodied in this simple symbol and chant?
OM has its roots in very ancient history, with references to it found as far back as the 2nd millenium BCE. It has ties to all ancient Indian religions including Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism.
The sound of OM is considered in many cultures to be the most sacred sound there is. It embodies all things, and is the sound of creation and the universe itself. In Sanskrit, the long O sound is written as an AU with a dipthong, used to blend two vowel sounds together in a gentle transition, instead of two distinct sounds. When chanted, it often sounds like one syllable that rhymes with the word “home”, but it is in fact 3 separate sounds blended together harmoniously. Each part has it’s own meaning.
AUM represents the 3 fold division of time. A is the waking state, U the dream state, and M the state of deep sleep. At the end of the sound is a brief period of silence known as Turiya, a connection with the infinite. In that one chant lies all states of consciousness.
The OM symbol is a visual representation of the sound and meaning of OM. It serves as a reminder of our connection to the infinite and each other. It promotes unity and harmony within the self, and with all other beings and life itself.
The OM is one of those things that is both simple and complex to define. Understanding it at a cognitive level isn’t difficult, but tuning into it and experiencing the meaning as a state of higher consciousness is a bigger undertaking. While we can define words and symbols simplistically; understanding the OM means surrounding oneself with it and working to embody its meaning and live it.
A great way to bring the harmonious and healing energy of the OM to your daily life is to surround yourself with the symbol and take time to consciously focus on its meaning whenever your eyes catch sight of it. Let it penetrate your consciousness and awaken you spiritually.
Many items from candle holders, to jewelry and even home décor items are adorned with the OM symbol. Place these items in your home or sacred space to serve as a reminder of the higher purpose and meaning of your life.