• Dom Catto

Talking about Om

My most vivid and heart-stimulating experience of Om happened when I was travelling India with my dad. We had the most out-of-this-world experience together and loved every second of the trip. After two weeks my wonderful travel buddy left and I jumped on a train heading 200km east of Mumbai to the winelands of India. (Believe it or not, there were vineyards and vines but let me give you a heads up...stick to Cape Town wines.)

I travelled to an ashram called Yoga Vidya Gurukul just outside of Nasik to a school called Yoga Point to study Yoga Therapy. Our wake up time was set at 5 am before the sun rose. I am generally not a happy human waking up at the time of the day, but what happened when we woke up was absolutely 1000% worth it. Every day for 4 weeks, we rose before the sun, had a cup of Indian tea and headed into the teaching space. We would then spend half an hour chanting Om. Continuously, in a rolling Om. Which means you don’t all chant at once, whenever your breath finishes you start your new Om. So, there is continuously this magnificent sound of Om engulfing you, washing over you, drowning you in bliss, consciousness and absolute mindfulness. For those moments in time, every single one of us was completely present, with no other thoughts or distractions. We were pure consciousness.

There’s a scene in the movie “City of Angels”, where all the angels gather on the beach every morning to watch the sunrise. The angels would hear the most beautiful sound as the sun rose. Humans unaware, the angels would pause for this moment and listen to the magnificence of the sunrise. This is exactly what I experienced every day. It felt like a choir of angels raising the massive celestial body into the sky using the power and vibration of OM. Pure power and pure potentiality.

After chanting Om each morning, we walked out of the teaching space in a completely blissed out, happy and contented state. Each of us had this goofy smile on our faces. It is the most magnificent and conscious way to invite the light in and welcome the day.

If you’ve ever chanted Om, you know the feeling of peace, calm and presence it brings to you. When you chant Om it feels as if everything has been washed clean, giving your senses the experience of a sparkly, fresh and new reality. Everything feels settled and still. Even if just for a moment, the feeling of Shantih or “peace from within” allows you to just be.

I have been doing some research on the scientific findings of what chanting Om does to you and some of the results I have found are mind-blowing!

Scientific American says:

“All things in our universe are constantly in motion, vibrating. Even objects that appear to be stationary are in fact vibrating, oscillating, resonating, at various frequencies. Resonance is a type of motion, characterized by oscillation between two states. And ultimately all matter is just vibrations of various underlying fields.

An interesting phenomenon occurs when different vibrating things/processes come into proximity: they will often start, after a little time, to vibrate together at the same frequency. They “sync up,” sometimes in ways that can seem mysterious. This is described today as the phenomenon of spontaneous self-organization.

Examining this phenomenon leads to potentially deep insights about the nature of consciousness and about the universe more generally. Synchronization, harmonization, vibrations, or simply resonance in its most general sense seems to have an integral relationship with consciousness itself.”

In a research paper by Ajay Anil Gurjar and Siddharth A. Ladhake, they discovered the following:

"Om is a spiritual mantra, outstanding to fetch peace and calm. The entire psychological pressure and worldly thoughts are taken away by the chanting of Om mantra."

At the end of the article, Gurjar and Ladhake say: "Our attentiveness and our concentration are pilfered from us by the proceedings take place around us in the world in recent times ... By this analysis we could conclude steadiness in the mind is achieved by chanting Om, hence proves the mind is calm and peace to the human subject."

We have concluded that OM chanting affords steadiness in the mind scientifically. This provides calm and peace too to the stressed mind. The mental stress of a person gets reduced while the mind reaches steadiness. As a final point, we have confirmed scientifically the accomplishments of OM chanting in reducing the stress from the human mind.”

In yet another research paper the conclusion was clear:

“Conclusion: The practice of Om chanting in a traditional way can be used as one of the powerful means in calming down the mind, enhancing memory.”

In the philosophy of Yoga, it says that Om is the vibration of the Universe. It is the resonance of divinity, the frequency of God. (side note: not in any religious sense at all, but whatever higher consciousness that you may believe in, source energy, higher expanding consciousness, the universe, unconditional love)

Bringing science and philosophy together means that when you chant Om, you literally become that frequency, vibrating at that level. All the way down to your cells, you are aligning your frequency with the resonance of the divine.

So, when we chant Om we are resetting our frequencies, our energy to this divine vibration. We are resetting the vibration of our body, mind and thoughts because these things are made up of vibration. We do this to resonate more with the divine than all our human stuff - we are divine, spiritual beings having a human, physical experience. We chant Om to reconnect with ourselves, to remind ourselves that divinity is inside us already. Chanting Om reestablishes that connection.

When we chant Om we divide it up into four sections: A. U. M. + silence/stillness

A (Aaaaaaa) - feel it in your belly, the first letter of the alphabet, represents the beginning, birth.

U (Oooooo) - feel it in your chest, represents the middle, life.

M (Mmmmm) - feel it in your head, represents the end, death.

Still moment after we chant - represents what comes after death, a new unknown beginning.

One chant of Aum is an entire life cycle. We will always have beginnings, we will live through these things and they will always have endings, with the excitement of there being something after that ending.

I’m putting it to you today, to sit quietly for a few moments and focus on your breath. Take a deep breath in and as you breathe out chant your first AUM. Be still for a moment afterwards. Take another deep breath in, chant your second AUM. Sit with it. Take a third deep breath in and chant your final AUM. Spend a few still moments afterwards basking in the resonance of harmony and peace.

If you want to check it out in more detail, we have an in depth introduction to Om and how it is linked to your Yoga practice in our Yoga for Beginners membership platform. Click here to have a look.

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