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The Meaning of OM

Most of the time, people look at the beautiful symbol of Om and think of it as the foundational vibration of the universe. And it is. Om is the soul’s tuning fork, and chanting it raises the energy in and around you, healing you on many levels. But each element of the symbol has meaning and, when understood, adds even more depth to this beautiful sound. The lower part of the symbol, below the horizontal dash, shows the three states of the mind: Unconscious (top left small curve), waking (lower left large curve), and dreaming (right-side curve). These elements comprise each syllable in the sound: A – U – M.
  • The waking state is when the mind actively interacts with our senses and the world around us. This state is the “Aaah” sound in AUM. Our mouth is wide open.
  • The dreaming state is when the mind is turned inward and experiencing an inward world – I love how it is nestled behind the outward-facing states. This state is the “Oooo” sound in AUM. Our mouth is partially open.
  • The unconscious state is when the mind is turned inward in a deep sleep, neither conscious nor dreaming. This state is the “Mmmm” sound in AUM. Our mouth is closed.
The horizontal slash above these elements represents Maya, the illusion that the mind and world are real. It shows this misconception as a barrier to moving higher, to knowing our soul. The dot at the top is the fourth state of conscious, Truiya, the always present, peaceful state of our soulful selves. Turiya is represented by the silence at the end of om. So now, when you chant Om, intentionally create each syllable – A – U – M – and linger in the sweet silence at the end.

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