Day after day let the yogi practice the harmony of the soul. Bhagavad Gita
So hum is a technique we can easily learn as a basis for meditation. It focuses the mind on one point, with a corresponding felt-sense in the body, and this takes us beyond the chatter and thoughts that naturally arise.
So hum is an internal mantra based on the sound of the natural breath. It is mentioned in a number of ancient yogic texts, including various Upanishads and is often translated as ‘I am That’ or ‘I am That I am’, That being the universal, true reality or all creation – we are one and the same.
The one-pointed focus brings us into dharana – yogic concentration – from which meditation may spontaneously arise.
Practising so hum brings priceless benefits: quiet and clarity to the mind, calm to the emotions and a sense of ease and inner strength in daily life – we are no longer so easily rattled by what we may encounter or taken on extreme highs and lows. We enjoy perspective, wellbeing and better relationships – a smooth ride through life, rather than a roller coaster. Everything is easier.
You can read more on the health benefits of meditation here.
The key to being with thoughts or inner dialogue in meditation is to acknowledge or witness them, rather than engaging in them or pushing them away. We become aware of ‘oh, thinking again’ or ‘oh, that feeling again’ with kindness and ease, and bring the mind back to so hum as often as we need to, without giving ourselves a hard time about it. In this way, by not giving power to thoughts, they gradually dissolve.
Here’s how to practice:
Set your base with a comfortable sitting position in a quiet, clean, undisturbed place.
Close your eyes or lower your gaze.
Breathe naturally and freely – without controlling or changing the way you breathe at all.
Each time you breathe in, focus your mind on the sound ‘sooo‘.
Each time you breathe out, focus your mind on the sound ‘huuum‘.
Each time the mind wanders from so or hum, bring it lovingly back – to so on the inbreath, hum on the outbreath.
At the end of your meditation, release the mantra, take a few moments to bathe in the energy of the practice and gratitude for it often arises spontaneously.
Become aware of your physical body, get up slowly and enjoy the rest of your day or evening.
If you are starting out, set a timer for 3 minutes. They will fly by. Gradually build up if you feel called, to 10 or 15 minutes.
May you enjoy this technique, and may it be of benefit.
To learn more about meditation and practising with Carol: contact.
Photo: author’s own