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Every sound arises out of silence. Yogic texts describe the word OM as encompassing all possible sound - everything that could be said, has been said or will be said. All elements of living expression are contained in the sound OM. OM acknowledges the ever-present void.
The void is an energy of consciousness itself. It encompasses all cycles of life and death, every expression and dissolution. Honoring the void, we access this cosmic energy which runs through living beings, microscopic forms, even giant solar systems. Creating the sound OM, our bodies vibrate with this universal energy, and we align with it. We feel connected; our incarnations become an integral and unique expression of this cosmic energy. Every wave that rises out of the ocean returns and dissolves back into the whole. It is impossible to separate the drops of water from the ocean itself.
Pranava is another name for the OM symbol - prana is the living energy particles in every cell. Prana is the energy that heals, revitalizes, and nourishes. It is especially present in things which are close to the sun – lemons and apples, trees and flowers, you and me. We take prana in through food and water, through our hair, through the 10th gate (at the top of the head), through our lungs and skin. Yoga retains remnants of this worship in the Sun Salutation exercise sequence.
If you are in nature, it is easy to hear the hum of creation – the wind rustling tree branches, the scampering of small creatures, bird calls, the wind in the trees. It is also easy to feel the prana – plants carry the bounty of this life giving energy. Surrounded by hundreds of plants, you have a living presence of majestic unfolding.
If you live in a city, you might need meditative assistance to gain the experience of silence. Following the breath, or even increasing the presence of the breath through ujjayi breathing (tightening the back of the throat to create a whisper sound while breathing) will help you connect to the ever-present sound of silence.
Silence in this way is not the absence of sound, but the presence of all possible sounds. When you use words, speak, or create a vibration, you are taking the universal energy and creating it into a personal expression. Everything that can be experienced has been done before. Everything you can say has already been said before. You are part of a universal pattern of existence. It is embodied in the sound OM.
After every chant there is a pause of silence. It is a time of surrendering back to the void, the presence of all things, all love and all life. It reminds us that our expressions are part of the universal current.
Wah! is a musician and spiritual seeker who travels the world singing and expanding sacred intention. You can reach her through www.wahmusic.com