Mantra meditation is the foundation of arguably the most well-known form of meditation in the West – TM – Transcendental Meditation.
The word „mantra” originated from ancient Sanskrit and can be literally translated as „instrument of thought”.
What Is So Hum Meditation?
So Hum is believed to be the mantra that we are born with. It is the mantra of the breath. In many spiritual traditions, this will be the first mantra that a practitioner is given, because as it were, she or he already has access to it.
Also, it is believed that the mantra can be heard if you listen closely to the sound of the breath.
It is a mantra meditation of the breath because when you breathe in, you can hear the sound „so” as the cool air rushes up your nostrils and then, as you exhale, you hear the sound transforming into a warm ‘hum’.
You can hear these natural sounds clearly while inhaling and exhaling deeply, and as your breath continues to quiet the sound moves out of the body, from the physical level into the mind.
So Hum literally means „I am That” (So means “Divinity” or „Thou” or „That” and Hum means „I am”) and the mantra’s aim is to bring about this fusion between your individual consciousness and Divine Consciousness.
Another interpretation of this aim is the fact that this meditation brings about the comprehension that all that you see is yourself – the observer is observed.
“Repeating a mantra helps to transcend all mental activity and experiences the ‘source of thought’, which is said to be pure silence, ‘pure awareness’ or ‘transcendental Being’, ‘the ultimate reality of life.” – Aldous Huxley
How To Practice So Hum Meditation
Sit on a cushion, chair, or kneeling bench as straight and tall as possible (sukhasana). Let the hands rest comfortably on your lap or knees. If the correct posture has been assumed, the body will be stable and at the same time relaxed, so that it is easily possible to remain completely still, without moving a muscle.
Let the eyes close, bringing the attention inward.
As your attention settles on your breath, start to employ the mantra. As you inhale, silently (or mentally) say „So” to yourself and as you exhale, say „Hum.” Once the „So Hum” rhythm has been settled, start to contemplate the spiritual meaning of the mantra.
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As your mind wanders off, bring your awareness back to your breath and continue to repeat the words. As you practice regularly, your mind will wander less. Also, do not try and stop your thoughts or “empty your mind.”
You can start your mantra meditation by practicing for only 5 minutes at a time. Over time trying to build up to 20 minutes every day.
The benefits of mantra meditation are greatest when practiced daily. Ideally, mantra meditation can be done first thing in the morning upon rising and then again at the end of the day.
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