If a tree falls in the forest, and there’s no one there to hear it fall, does it make a sound? This question, historically posed to puzzle fledgling philosophy students, doesn’t take into account that sound is the primordial energy of the universe, existing before the evolution of physical life. Scientists now explain that after the big bang creation of the universe, sound not only preceded life but enabled it. According to space.com, “The early universe rang with the sound of countless cosmic bells, which filled the primordial darkness with ripples like the surface of a pond pounded by stones. The wave fronts later served as spawning grounds for galaxies.” It is no wonder, then, that in our deepest psychic centers, we respond to the energy of sound, particularly of healing sound, the Sanskrit word OM identified as the most powerful of those planetary sounds.
The OM (or AUM) connects us to the divine, and harmonizes our physical bodies. Some say the om is the sound the earth makes, so when we utter it, we resonate more deeply with the earth. When can chant it, we feel our entire being vibrate with the final “mmmm” sound: OOOMMMMMMMM. If we close our eye, we feel wrapped in multiple layers of the vibration. Those who are uncomfortable with chanting, can listen to a recorded chant and experience the same effect. One of the most engaging recordings is “The Eternal Om,” available in its entirety on YouTube. A 5 minute excerpt is available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTylTtQREMc.
During the chant, we shake loose the lodged energetic debris that has slowed our spiritual progress, creating blocks to our ascension. Such obstacles keep us from earthly manifestation as well, since our experience in the physical reflects our spiritual health. We remove plugs that have partially obstructed our channel to the Divine, and we awaken more fully to infinite wisdom and love. This, in turn, brings us more love, more understanding, higher perspectives that translate into better choices, clear communication with ourselves and others, and smoother relationships. When we begin to emanate peace, the paths in front of us clear.
But how do we reconcile dependence upon an Eastern philosophy when we are steeped in Western religion and culture? Deeper investigation reveals that the om is not completely distinct from Western religious theory and practice. According to Light of the Spirit Monastery, the three letter spelling of AUM reflects the spiritual Trinity of Christianity which parallels “ the fundamental consciousness and power of the three aspects of God–the mystery of the eternal Trinity Itself. They are a triune unity that restores our personal, eternal unity/trinity and unites it with the Cosmic Trinity.”
The mysticism of Kabbalistic Judaism links the OM to the unspoken name of God, “I am that I am" spelled in the Hebrew letters (yud, hay vav, hay). This tetragrammation invokes invoke the same aspect of God, a complicated, multi-layered understanding of the Divine and our soul’s connection to it.
When we chant the om from a deep place, within minutes we feel joined by an angelic chorus so that our own sound no longer feels individual. We feel part of a choir, an experience that is at once ethereal and physical, not just hearing but feeling multiple layers of voices, assuring us that we are not alone in the sacred space we have invoked. Can this be manifestation of the trinity within ourselves? Is it that we are literally transported to higher realms where we are welcomed and consciously integrated in a Divine dimension? The OM has the power of such transport.
The traditional Buddhist chant, “Om mani padme hum” is said to contain all the teachings of the Buddha. While it is not possible to accurately translate the phrase it is accepted as a gateway to is compassion, the antidote to conflict, strife, fear, all of the human psychic creations that stunt us. The om serves the invitation to unconditional love both for ourselves and others, its reverberation the sounding of peace across the universe.
Lisa Shaw is an animal communicator, Reiki Master, writer, and professor who lives in South Florida with her furry and feathered companions. Her book "Illumination: Life Lessons from our Animal Companions" is available for download on Amazon. She conducts a free Animal Reiki Circle every Sunday on Facebook.