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OM (AUM) is the unity of all sound/tone, it symbolises the unity of all existence. Meditation on OM calms and concentrates the mind, helps us understand the differences and unity of all.
The sacred syllable OM (AUM) is an all encompassing Mantra of Hindu philosophy. Inside a mantra cosmic energy is translated into a specific sound structure. Because of this and through constant repetition and concentration onto a mantra, the hidden truth and meaning of it will slowly reveals itself. This can be done by different exercises.
OM is a Nirguna mantra (Nir = without, guna = aspect) - it's essence is without form, end and time; beyond our sensuous perception.
Using OM as mantra meditation
The sound structure of OM (AUM) includes all tones and vowels, and therefore all words and thoughts.
The vowel A begins to form in the end of the mouth, transforms into the U in the middle of the palate and ends in the M at the lips.
The singing of the OM frees the breath and starts moving Ki (vital life force). Correct and focussed singing will move our Ki through the spine and into our head.
Take a moment to come to yourself. Take deep, but relaxed breaths into your belly - imagining the belly expanding like a balloon to all sides with every in breath. Then release your breath gently.
Now start with an deep and relaxed in breath. At the end of this in breath begin to sound the A and focus on your Solar Plexus; while sounding the U pull the energy up along your spine to the point of the 3rd eye (between your eyebrows) - holding your focus there and sounding the M, which symbolizes infinity.
Using OM as 'tratak' meditation
'Tratak' is an exercise in which the eyes are fixed onto Sanskrit (sacred text).
Place an image of the sacred syllable OM in front of you at a distance of about two meters. This can be a printed image of the Sanskrit OM.
Sit down in a comfortable position - try to hold your back, neck and head in a straight line. It is helpful to imagine that your head is being gently pulled up at its crown. This will align your back and head without cramping up.
Take deep, but relaxed breaths into your belly.
Now concentrate and look at the image of the syllable OM without blinking. Your eyes will begin to tear after a while. Don't worry about it. Close your eyes and imagine OM in the space in between your eyebrows. When this inner image begins to fade, open your eyes again and focus your view onto the physical image in front of you. Continue with this exercise.
Your mind will soon begin to calm down, any nervousness will pass, your thoughts will slow and your eyes begin to relax.
Your concentration will continuously deepen with these meditations, if practiced regularly.
"Associate the idea of infinity, eternity and immortality with the thought of the syllable OM. The humming of the bees, the sweet song of a nightingale, the seven sounds of the music scale. All sounds arise from OM, the sacred syllable of the Vedas."
by Swami Sivananda
Nearly everyone of us will experience sounding ears at some stage in our life. Our days are packed full with activity, driving long distances or for a long time. At the end of the day we can hear a high pitched buzzing. Sometimes our ears are ringing after a lot of noise pollution or when we are feeling strained from the stresses of the day.
But it also can be caused by high blood pressure, poor circulation, menopause and arteriosclerosis. So, if the ringing in your ears is persistent, disturbing or even painful - go to your GP and find out the reasons for your symptoms.
But Shiatsu is an effective way to help when your ears are buzzing!
Try Self-Shiatsu to relieve tinnitus
1. Take the edge of your ear in between you thumb and index finger and rub or squeeze gently - starting from the lobe of the ear all the way up along the edge. And then back down to the lobe.
2. Massage the area in front of your ears - use strong, but gentle pressure.
3. Massage the tragus of the ear.
This is the little cartilage which sits in front of the opening of your ear.
4. Massage with the tip of your index finger the area at the inner end of your eyebrows. The area of your 'third eye' in between your eyebrows.
5. Massage the area between your nose and upper lip.
Who doesn't know the feeling of not wanting to get out of bed, of feeling sad, empty, dull or frustrated? These negative states of mind come to us all but the question is how can we deal with them? What can we do?
We often try to cope with negative or bad feelings and days by plunging ourselves into "happiness" and denying that we're feeling that way. We might attempt to counteract them with physical activity, meeting friends for a chat, shopping, positive affirmations and/or visualizations. This is, as such, not a bad thing. Sometimes we need certain tools to bring our state of mind back to some sort of balance and those tools are very helpful. But we should use them with caution. I like to think of them as life-buoys that save us from drowning. Or a ladder that allows us to climb out of the dark hole we have fallen into.
But after the emergency is dealt with, it would be a good idea to drop these tools. We don't do ourselves any favours with keeping these behaviours up. The problem is that we're not really dealing with our feelings at all. We are still running away from something that wants to be seen and released, but we are suppressing and masking our feelings instead.
So how can we deal with strong negative feelings? It hurts badly - and strong, unsettling emotions arise along with hurt. In this situation we can bring our non-judgemental awareness into play.
Non-judgemental awareness is a technique of becoming aware of our feelings, thoughts and emotions without analysing and criticizing them or going into their story/drama. It is taking our time to sit with these feelings quietly and not identifying with them. These are old feelings which need to surface in order to be released. Staying aware and trying not to act out, breathing gently into our belly and letting them pass. Trying not to judge them, not to give them adjectives or personal colour.
This is far from easy to do but by breathing deeply and relaxed into the lower belly we allow ourselves to feel afraid, ashamed, angry, sad, exhausted, helpless - without acting them out.
Facing these feelings requires bravery and honesty but it is worthwhile. Suppressing negativity and placing a mask of happiness over our true feelings is just another way of escaping. And running away is never the answer. If we don't face our fears, shame or anger we will still feel afraid, ashamed or angry. On the other hand - opening ourselves to the hurt, the pain, our suffering without judging it, breathing gently into it, we get in contact with these feelings, with this hurt. And as long as we stay away from judging, ourselves or others as good, bad, fearful, frustrating, sad, shameful, tiring and/or stressing - we can let them surface and pass.
Non-judgemental awareness is allowing ourselves to feel anxious, afraid and guilty, without being ashamed of feeling that way.
By allowing ourselves to get in touch with our hidden negative thoughts and emotions we can release hidden holding patterns. And with this release we can develop, learn and mature. This is a key factor in achieving personal growth and integrity. A person with integrity is a person who feels all these things but has no recrimination against him/herself for feeling them.
Non-judgemental awareness is also a key factor for any therapist. If the therapist is judging their clients behaviour or actions even slightly, it will come through in their attitude and will affect their treatment.
In this lecture by C.G. Jung he talks to a group of clergy in Switzerland about the importance of non-judgemental awareness in a doctor/therapist. But it also applies to everyone of us. He says that we cannot have empathy with another person if we pass judgement. In fact we cannot have empathy towards ourselves if we judge and not accept ourselves.
"One forgets that even doctors have moral scruples and that certain peoples confessions are hard even for a doctor to swallow. Yet the patient does not feel self-accepted, unless the very worst in him is accepted too. No-one can bring this about by mere words, it comes only through reflection and through the doctors attitude towards himself and his own dark side. If the doctor wants to guide another or even accompanying him a part of the way he must feel with that persons psyche. He never feels it when he passes judgement. Whether he puts his judgements into words or keeps them to himself, makes not the slightest difference.
To take the opposite position and to agree with the patient on hand is also of no use. But the strangest thing, as much as condemnation, feeling comes only through unprejudiced objectivity. This sounds almost like a scientific precept and it could be confused with a purely intellectual abstract attitude of mind. But what I mean is something quite different. It is a human quality, a kind of deep
respect for the facts for the man who suffers from them. And for the riddle of such a man's life. The truly religious person has this attitude. He knows that God has brought all sorts of strange and inconceivable things to pass and seeks in the most curious ways to enter a man's heart. He therefore senses in everything the unseen presence of the divine will.
This is what I mean by unprejudiced objectivity. It is a moral achievement on the part of the doctor who ought not to let himself be repelled by sickness and corruption. We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses. I am the oppressor of the person I condemn, not his friend and fellow sufferer.
I do not in the least mean to say that we must never pass judgement when we desire to help and improve, but if the doctor wishes to help a human being he must be able to accept him as he is. And he can do this in reality - only when he has already seen and accepted himself as he is. Perhaps this sounds very simple but simple things are always the most difficult. In actual life it requires the greatest art to be simple and so acceptance of oneself is the essence of the moral problem and the assets test on ones whole outlook on life."