The power of the Aum
I must confess that just like my meditation, I stumbled upon Aum and its boundless potential quiet by chance and as recently as a few weeks ago. It felt no less than a Eureka moment! And just to clarify, that is where the comparison of my situation with Archimedes ends….thank you very much!
By the way, I am a corporate lawyer and have had the good fortune to work on a few strategic M&As (mergers & acquisitions) in my career, but this M&A (meditation & aum) is, by far, just something else! You ought to incorporate it into your life and experience its beauty and power first – hand to be really able to get to the essence of it and derive value.
As puny as it may sound, the word ‘Aum’ signifies the universe. In fact, it encompasses the entire universe in itself. Yes, the whole boundless, limitless universe is contained in these three alphabets put together!
Truth be told, a lot of us are shy of chanting Aum aloud or in public for fear of being judged adversely. Fair enough. However, the ‘truth’ is quite the contrary. Chanting Aum (like meditation) is a purely ‘clinical’, secular and scientific practice and to confine it to any religion or anecdotal evidence would be an unfair assessment of its infinite potential. As such, this is a practice that can be embraced by one and all – atheists, ascetics and the agnostic, with equal élan and intensity.
Perhaps once you understand what’s Aum, why Aum and how to Aum (which I will try explaining via this article) you will be better placed to appreciate how subtle yet powerful and how infinite yet simple it is for anyone to get the hang of. That’s when you may feel compelled to wonder, “..Oh, why didn’t I figure this out earlier?! Aum is so simple and cool…eh!”
So without further ado, let’s begin:
I have been chanting Aum for a few weeks now – every day of my life and I must admit, am hooked to it. Given the amount of ‘things to do’ that are piled up on our plates every day, there are times when I have found that dedicating as little as 10 minutes a day for a quick Meditation and Aum chanting practice (hereafter “M&A” – there goes the lawyer in me!) really helps you ‘oil’ your bearings and it’s a marvel to watch its magic take effect as time unravels. You surprise yourself with the way you take life in your stride as you go about displaying equanimity in the face of diverse emotions (sometimes consciously, other times subconsciously) and how you approach every problem with a “Try Me!” rather than “Why Me?” attitude. This is not a gabfest I am indulging in. This is the truth and the whole truth. And I would urge (read challenge) you to try it!
What is ‘Aum’?
Aum is a beautiful, powerful verse. It is a mantra which has the potential to create a powerful vibration (literally and otherwise). It consists of four syllables – A, U, M and the silent syllable.
Here’s how we ‘break’ it up:
- In Aum, the first syllable is A (pronounced as a prolonged ‘Awe………….’). This sound emerges at the back of our throat and we stretch it out further. We start to feel our chest and solar plexus region vibrating.
- The second syllable is U (as in Uber, pronounced as a prolonged ‘Oooooo…’) with the sound gradually rolling forward to our upper palate. This will make our throat and thoracic cavity vibrate.
- The third syllable is ‘M’ (pronounced as a prolonged “Mmmmm”) and it uses our front upper and lower jaws gently touching and creating a beautiful vibration on your upper hard pallet.
- The last syllable is the deep silence. That’s where the ‘Mmmmmmmm…..’ meets silence. At this point we merge our sound and chant with the deep silence.
Chanting Aum a few times instantly creates a beautiful, tangible vibration.
The reason is simple – it’ll make you a superhero! Need I say more?
Incidentally, my favorite superheroine is ‘Okoye’ (Black Panther), played by the super fit Danai Gurira, and it is as much a marvel to watch her feline combat skills as it is to see her meditate with unwavering focus. Chanting Aum empowers us to face any challenge or eccentricities that life offers, head on. Chanting Aum wipes out the disconcerting sense of fear and anxiety (it could be the fear of disease, fear of losing a loved one, fear of a looming crisis, fear about our children’s welfare and whereabouts, fear of the wifi disconnecting) that engulfs us all, ever so often. Whilst this anxiety and/or fear emanates from the many situations that life throws at us – some known but mostly unknown and unanticipated, just know that the guaranteed way to effectively tackle with it is to rein in your breath, meditate and chant Aum. And then, just watch its power unfold before you.
In a short period of time, you will realize that your M&A will give you a remarkable sense of mental clarity and you will find fears and anxieties blurring out and making way for clear thinking and logic. You will find this deeply reassuring. Whenever I feel out -of -sorts because of an event that transpired or someone said something, I just yearn to sit quietly with my eyes closed and meditate, even if it for 5 minutes, because when I do that, I feel like I have reached a safe and secure haven or a sanctuary that I have created for myself and when I visit this place, I derive all the powers I need to address any issue with equanimity and relative ease. I get all the strength I need.
Having read this, I can almost hear you wonder: ‘So how does this M&A of yours exactly work when I am stressed out with a problem? Does it magically wipe out that stress/problem for me’? That’s a valid ask, I would say. And my response to that would be that M&A does not make that problem disappear. The problem very much persists (and by the way, its size and enormity depend on exactly how big or small YOU make it out to be!). What M&A really does is this:
M&A encourages you to ‘detach’ from that problem (just for a short while). Bear in mind, this is only momentarily. You are not running or shying away from the problem. All you are doing is ‘buying’ some time to be able to tap into your inner strengths so that you ‘empower’ yourself to be able to deal with that stress/problem with a certain sense of clarity, commitment, and calmness. That’s it. M&A focuses your awareness on your breathing (which is yours and yours alone!) and creates positive vibrations via the Aum chants. These vibrations calm your brain and activate your parasympathetic nervous system which encourages the body and mind to relax. Once relaxed, your brain is better placed to think things through, rather than when it was stressed or agitated or angry. Agree? Now, this clarity helps clear the fog and noise and enables you to see through the problem clearly and deal with it more effectively and make considered decisions that you will never regret. This is in sharp contrast to the situation when we instantly jump on a situation, react instantly and try and solve it when our brain is in a ‘compromised’ state – full of anxiety and blinded with fury. This anxiety and fury only cloud judgment and the ability to think through. That way we add layer(s) of complexity to an already existing problem and the saga continues and makes us worry sick! And this constant worry then leads to the body manifesting by way of chronic inflammation and the result is a host of stylish lifestyle diseases we hear of these days! So you see how the vicious cycle works?
Additionally, M&A (and chanting Aum in particular) creates ‘tangible’ positive vibrations that aid the brain and body in performing its functions to the hilt. It calms the mind, focuses awareness (makes you calm and still but awake and alert), cleanses your aura and persona, taps into your existing chakras or energy centers (you have seven of them – did you know?!) to empower you, creates a heightened sense of wellbeing, an attitude of gratitude and endows you with a sense of reassurance thereby eliminating fear, anxiety and heartburn!
I can go on but I think I have made my point?
How To Aum?
I typically commence M&A sitting still (and comfortable) with an erect spine. I inhale to a count of 5, hold my breath to a count of 5 and then exhale to a count of 5, i.e. all three of equal duration. I do this for about 8 to 10 times. Then I ‘graduate’ to practice the One – Minute breathing technique a few times – say, 5 or 6 times and then to chanting Aum 11 or 21 times (time permitting!) and that’s it. That’s all I need to do to recharge my batteries.
Here’s how to Aum (as simple as counting 1-5 – really!):
- Close your eyes and with a mild gaze or focus, inhale nice, deep and gentle and then, as you exhale, open your mouth and chant a prolonged ‘Awe…………..’ for a few seconds. In the course of doing this, the spinal cord is getting strengthened through the vibrations caused by the sound of ‘Awe…….’. As this sound emerges from your abdomen, it helps strengthen the supports all muscles in this area and adjoining.
- Then, continue the chant with ‘Oooooooooooooo’ for a few seconds. This sound is created by the vocal chords which benefit the thyroid glands, the thoracic cavity, and adjoining areas.
3. And finally, close your mouth gently and make a ‘Mmmmmm………’ sound for a few seconds. This beautiful vibration calms the mind and focuses your awareness towards the present moment. Do this until you have drained and expelled every last bit of breath out of your body and then enjoy the stillness between this exhale and the next inhale that you will embark on next.
That’s one cycle.
- Again, inhale deep and then as you exhale, chant Aum as set out in steps 1-3 above. Pause momentarily to enjoy the stillness and then repeat.
- Once I am done with this, I draw the practice to a close by rubbing my hands together and putting those ‘charged’ hands on my face and eyes and feel that charge energize me.
Funnily enough, each time I chant a complete cycle of Aum, I can feel the vibration reaching my brain and adding tangible layers of bubble wrap around my head and brain which encases and insulates my brain and head from any bumps of life. Pretty much how we ‘baby-proof’ the house to ensure our little ones stay safe from nicks and bumps!
I would really implore you to give M&A a shot! It is a simple but life-altering practice! Start with 2-3 minutes and graduate at your own sweet pace. No rush! No pressure!
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About the Author
Namrata Singh is a corporate lawyer by profession based in Delhi and a mother of two footballers aged 9 and 12. She is absolutely fascinated with understanding how stress works on the brain. Namrata runs marathons and practices contemplative practices like yoga and meditation, which she strongly believes has the power of dramatically altering an individual’s entire paradigm with its subtle but significant approach. Namrata can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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