Friday, May 24, 2013

How to Use Mantra to Meditate - Day 1 of 30 Day Challenge

Day #1 – 30 Day Meditation Challenge – SoHam Mantra Meditation

Thank you for joining in this 30 Day Meditation Challenge! The benefits are endless and the practice should be embraced without judgement or expectation.  See if you can do your meditation at the same time each day.  While the goal is to sit in silence for 15 minutes a day, some of us may need a few options to get to the goal.  Where ever you are in the world, you can join us.  Today’s option is “So Hum” (सो ऽहम् ) Mantra Meditation.  If we recite this Mantra 108 times it will result in approximately 15-17 minutes, feel free to do the mantra for 5 minutes and progress to focus on the breath in silence. 

Begin in a comfortable seated position, perhaps on a cushion, with a straight back.  If it is difficult to elongate the spine, another option is to sit up against the wall.  Relax your facial muscles, softly close your eyes, and set your intention/offering for this special time.  To do this meditation exercise, we Inhale the silent sound of “Sooooo” and exhale the silent sound of “Huuuuum”.  As we inhale, imagine the silent sound of “Soooo” traveling up the center line of the body to the top of the head, and as we exhale, send the breath back down to the base of the spine.  Let the breath be natural, without pause in between.  Some say it is loosely translated as “I am That” or “I am You, You are Me”. 

In Vedic Philosophy this is a way in which we unite or identify with the Universe.  Various theories point back to our birth as emerging with the infant cry “Kohaam Koohaam” which means “who am I”, so the Universe responds back “SoHam” meaning you are the same as I.  When we practice this Mantra we allow ourselves to unite with Universe/God Consciousness.  Sometimes after saying "So Ham" the mantra is reversed to say "Hamsa" which is like saying "I am the Swan",  The Swan in this case represents Atman (soul).  The Swan is the vehicle for Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of Knowledge and Wisdom). 

The swan glides on water without getting its feathers wet (knowledge and supreme truth), and soars above the water into the sky (rising above earthly ties). In Vedic theory the swan possesses the beautiful ability to separate milk from water which stands for wisdom and discrimination (viveka), therefore knowledge (vidya).  This beautiful practice of meditation is ultimately to free us, to allow us to gain knowledge, wisdom, and rise above the earthly ties or mental modifications. 

Wishing you Joy & Peace during your 30 days of meditation.  May these 30 days inspire you to embrace this as part of your daily practice. ~ Om Shanti

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