Saturday, November 27, 2010

What is OM-AUM?

By Dr. Jagdish P Dave

OM or AUM is the most sacred syllable in Hinduism. It is uttered at the beginning and end of a prayer or a mantra. AUM like the Swastika is seen in every Hindu temple and shrine. AUM is referred to in almost all Upanishads-Spiritual Books of Wisdom.

AUM consists of three phonemes A, U, and M. AUM represents the Hindu Trimurti or Trinity- A: Brahma representing the principle of creation, U: Vishnu, the principle of sustenance, M: Mahesh or Shiva-the principle of dissolution for further creation. AUM also represents the three Goddesses or forms of Shakti-energy associated with the Trimurti. AUM represents three Gunas, attributes: Sattvika-light, purity and serenity, Rajasika-activity, heat and fire, and Tamasik-dullness, darkness and ignorance. It also represents the three stages of existence: birth, life and death.

AUM symbolizes the manifestation of the formless Absolute Reality, Brahman, in form and sound. AUM symbolizes the oneness in the multiplicity of existence. AUM represents the triple appellation of the Brahman - that is beyond the beyond-beyond time, space and causation.

AUM is used as a mantra by itself. It is called Bija (seed) or Moola (root) mantra. AUM represents four states of consciousness: A-Jagruti (wakefulness), U-Swapna (dreaming), M-Sushupti (deep sleep) and Silence-Turiya-the Fourth (transcendental state of consciousness). When you pronounce AUM, say A as you begin to round up your mouth very slowly. You pronounce U when you begin bringing you lips closer and closer, and pronounce M when your mouth is completely closed.

When the sound is ended, listen to the silence, the soundless sound. This deep silence is felt in the seventh Chakra, the Crown Center, called Sahasrar in the Kundalini Yoga system. By meditating on AUM, one realizes the three inter -connected attributes of the Brahman-Sat-Truth, Chit-Pure Consciousness and Ananada-Bliss-Sacchidananada.

AUM is the Eternal Syllable, Pranava - the Primordial Sound;

AUM is pronounced in Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism in chanting and in Mantra Meditation. AUM is usually pronounced at the end of an invocation or benediction for Shanti or Peace. It is pronounced as AUM shantihi, shantihi, shantihi- let peace prevail locally, nationally and globally, for me, for you and for everyone.

reproduced with permission

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Windhorse – Lungta

Meditation is intended to make each of us a better person. To become a better person (to move forward), we must be brave, calm, and steady. In order to develop these qualities, we must learn how to harness our mind.

A common approach to harnessing our mind is by using our breath, or wind. Tibetan teaching talks of the windhorse, or lungta. Windhorse is the subtle energy, or air, within our body. It is the unlimited energy of goodness and awareness. When we have windhorse, our life moves forward. Regular meditation helps us to know our mind and learn how to harness it to accomplish our goals.

A focusing meditation is one type of meditation that we can use. We focus on our breath during meditation. When our mind wanders, we need to gather it up again and bring it back to the breath. With practice, our mind becomes stronger and our inner strength can come out as we begin to know our mind. As we start to learn our mind and its highs and lows, we begin to accept those highs and lows as part of ourselves. Our meditation becomes more peaceful as we worry less about things.

Part of meditating is learning to recognize wandering thoughts as they happen. With practice, we can quickly bring our focus back to the breath. There is no reason to feel bad about a wandering mind. Anyone that meditates knows that the mind will begin to wander again, no matter how much we practice. It just happens.

If we do not learn to manage our minds, self doubt starts to show up at some point in our lives. It starts to make sense to say and do negative things. This state of mind begins to accept violence and aggression as the way to get things done. We do not try patience or compassion because we have no practice using them. We have confidence in aggression.

We need windhorse to help us break out of this cycle. The enlightened qualities of the mind are available to those who look for them through meditation.

This article was based on an article in Shambhala Sun, September 2009.

© 2010 Eric Borreson

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Don’t Ask Me, Ask My Donkey!

I have written several times recently about Nasruden. Nasrudin is a character in many tales and parables. He lived in the Middle East many hundreds of years ago. Here is another story about Nasrudin.

Nasrudin was riding his donkey one day. The donkey was frightened by something and bolted. The donkey started running down the street as fast as it could.

Some of his countrymen watched with amusement. They called out to him, “Nasrudin, where are you going in such a hurry?”

"Don't ask me, ask my donkey!", Nasrudin shouted back to them.

Have you ever felt that your life was out of control? Has it seemed like things were flying past and you were being carried along with the current? Or in Nasrudin’s case, carried along with the donkey.

The first step in regaining control of your life is to step back and look at where your life has gotten out of balance. It all starts with taking time for reflection. Stop and think about what is really important. Make up a list of the top five or ten things that are important to you.

Take some time and talk about this list with the people who are important to you. Think about it for a few days. Make sure the list truly reflects your priorities. Then keep track of how you spend your time for a few weeks.

Compare your priority list with your log of how you spend your time. Do they match? If you are feeling that your life is spinning out of control, I would bet that your time is being spent on things that are not important to you. Now it’s time to take action.

What are you going to do about all the time wasters in your life? What are you going to do to learn how to spend your time on the important things in your life?

This is your chance to differentiate between what you want and what other people want of you. Time is your only asset in your quest for meaning in your life. If you allow it to happen, the parasites in your life will use up all your time. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do a favor for a friend, but the choice must be yours. Don’t do it because it is “expected” of you.

© 2010 Eric Borreson

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Song (Sung) – Relax and Loosen

The most common translation is relax, but this is not sufficient to adequately describe the term. It can also be translated as loose, open, yielding, free, and responsive. It can refer to releasing all unnecessary muscular tension while maintaining structural alignment. This means loosening and stretching your muscles, releasing your tensions throughout your body, and opening your joints from within. This does not mean that you turn limp and soft. It means loose and prepared with no unnecessary tension.

Work on developing your Song by visualizing your joints loosening up as you move. When you stretch your joints, you are achieving Song and you are not tense. Your qi improves and you improve flexibility.

Wuji. Wuji is the posture of neutral. An important purpose of wuji is for posture awareness, where we allow ourselves to mentally scan our body, discovering our physical and mental needs and wants.

To learn how to stand with wuji posture, stand with your feet directly below the hip sockets so that your legs are vertical, your feet are parallel and with a very slight knee bend, and keep your body's weight evenly on your feet. Start from a military attention posture; chest out, shoulders back, stomach in, and lower back arched. Relax into wuji; let your shoulders relax down and slightly forward to allow chest to relax down; let your abdomen relax out; slightly tuck in your pelvis (imagine sitting down, but stopping after about 1”); and slightly push in your chin to avoid the tendency to let your head lean forward. This allows your body structure to support you instead of using your muscles.

Keep your body symmetrical with shoulders level and arms even. Let all your muscles release any unnecessary tension. Consciously open up all your joints. Being symmetrical (in alignment) means that your internal organs are in the proper place and your skeleton can do its job of supporting the body. This allows your body to function normally.

Find Your Qi. First, stand in wuji. Raise your hands in front of you. Hold the inside of your wrists near each other, about an inch or two apart but not touching. Slowly move your wrists past each other in a small circle without touching. Repeat about 10 or 15 times.

Second, hold your hands several inches apart with the palms facing each other. Slowly move your hands past each other in a small circle without touching. Repeat about 10 or 15 times. Many people start to feel a warmth or tingling while this is happening. This is your qi. Hold your hands near each other and slowly move them apart (open) and move them back towards each other (close). Inhale as you open and exhale as you close. Learn to manipulate the qi that you feel between your hands.

© 2010 Eric Borreson