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omsignThis month one of our sangha families from Portland came for an extended visit to the Big Island, where our Hawai’i center is located.  Their older son, Mikah, has been taking classes for a couple years in Portland, and got to have classes at the Hawaii center too.  The first class, after a little puja with flower and food offerings, focused on Om, or more precisely, AUM.  

Mikah learned that the three letters of AUM stand for our waking, dreaming, and deep sleep states:

  • In our waking state (“A”), a lot is happening!  Our mind is connected to our physical senses — our eyeballs, ear flaps, tongue, nose, and skin, our hands and feet — and so we experience a lot of things while we are awake.  
  • When we dream (“U”), our physical senses are turned off but our mind is connected to our inside senses — our dream senses!  We walk with dream legs on dream land, we swim with our dream body through dream water, we use our dream eyes and ears to see and hear things in dreamlands, we even fly through dream air.
  • Then we enter deep sleep (“M”), everything we experienced in waking and dream become like seeds, even our waking and dream senses, and earth, water, fire, air, and ether all become seeds.  It is very peaceful without anything happening for awhile.

But then we begin to dream and all those seeds start to sprout, and when we wake, they are all on the outside again.



omBut wait! dominosomWhen we draw AUM in Sanskrit, there are more than three parts to it - there are more than an upper curve (“A”) connected to a lower curve (“U”), with both connected to a tail (“M”).  There is a “one-eyed smile,” the Shvara, which sits above and unconnected to the three states.  This represents Turiya (like Atman) - the Fourth and all-pervading state that watches everything happening (or not happening) in the three others. This is our true Self.

Next, we made the AUM sign in Sanskrit out of dominoes.  What a challenge to keep them from falling too soon!  This was our experiment: to see how waking, dreaming, and deep sleep can shift, but the Shvara never does.  Our true Self is unaffected by anything in the three states.  Just watch!

Click to watch the video...

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