Have you ever wondered what the Om symbol means? If you have an interest in spirituality, yoga, meditation or Eastern philosophies, it’s likely you’re already familiar with the concept of Om. A unique symbol with a deep spiritual meaning, let’s take a closer look at what exactly the Om symbol represents.
Traditionally chanted at the beginning and end of yoga sessions, Om (also known as Aum) is a slow, vibrational chant that represents the all-encompassing sound made at the moment all creation came into existence. It is said that before Om there was nothing, simply an empty void.
The Om symbol is written in sanskrit, and is the most sacred syllable and mantra in Hinduism. Each visual element represents different states of consciousness:
- Unconscious State: The top curl of the ‘3’ shape denotes deep sleep, where we subconsciously desire nothing and do not dream
- Waking State: Represented by the large curve at the base of the ‘3’ shape, this state signifies conscious experience through the five senses
- Dreaming State: The middle curve that juts out between the Waking and Unconscious states, where all dreams are experienced
- Maya State: The semi circle at the top represents illusion, an obstacle to spiritual development and the highest state of consciousness
- Absolute State: Represented by the dot at the top, the highest realm of consciousness looks neither outward or inward - the ultimate state of spiritual bliss.
As Om is regarded as the original sound of consciousness and creation, by chanting its sound, we are physically tuning in to the universe, and creating a spiritual connection to the existence of all things.
In addition to its spiritual meanings, chanting the Om mantra can have positive physical effects on our body too. Commonly used during meditation, the rhythmic vibrations of Om aid meditative practice by slowing down the nervous system and soothing the mind. And when our mind is relaxed our blood pressure decreases, not only improving our heart health but helping to balance and unify our mind, body and spirit.
Now you have a clearer understanding of what Om represents, you may be inspired to incorporate the Om sound and symbol in your own spiritual practice or day-to-day life.
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