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Soham (#107)

The Bible tells us that in the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. But in the beginning, there were no words, no languages, or even sounds of humans or animals. So what was the Word that was in the beginning. This has been a great mystery, but like the solution to many mysteries, the answer has been right under our nose all along. And that is Soham.

Soham is referred to as the "Mahamantra", the Greatest Mantra, and is considered along with Om to be the most powerful of all techniques. This was the first meditation technique, both in antiquity and in our own lives. The ancient cavemen, before they had invented language or fire, would sit in their dark caves and have nothing else to focus on but the sound of their breath. Similarly, the first sound we heard when we were in our mothers' womb was the sound of her breath, and this sound has been with us ever since we drew our first breath. It negates the need to rely on any of the words of the languages of the world to use as a mantra. It has brought people to transcendence of worldly limitations from time immemorial and continues to do so. It can be done even while driving, working, and doing other acts of daily life and thereby offers a continuous experience of being in the present. This is a great present, because Reality takes place now, in the present. Soham is a wonder-full meditation technique and I hope will bring you the experience of Knowledge, Consciousness, and Bliss that is your birthright.

In the Bible, when God was asked what his name is, He answered " I Am That I Am'. In Sanskrit, the most ancient of languages, the sound of the inhalation is termed So, and the exhalation is Ham. Combined, the word Soham is translated as "I Am He/That". So, whenever you are doing this technique, you are calling on God. Every breath thus becomes a prayer and adoration.

The Soham Meditation Technique

At the time and in the place where you feel most comfortable, place your body in the position that you have found to be the most beneficial for meditation. Close your eyes. Close your ears by putting your thumbs in them, or by using earplugs. This will intensify the sound of your breath while diminishing the distractions that sight and sound bring. Command your mind to be silent, your emotions to be calm, and your body to stay relaxed. Focus on the sound of your breath coming in. Associate it with the word So. As your breath leaves, listen to the sound and associate it with the word Ham. To pronounce So and Ham correctly, listen to how they sound. As with most pranayama (breathing techniques), Soham is done either in 3 cycles of 12 or 12 cycles of 12. One inhalation and one exhalation are one respiration. 12 respirations are one cycle. For those just starting to use this technique, it is usual to silently say the word So with each inhalation and the word Ham with each exhale. When you are focused consistently, consciously, you will flow into simply listening to the sound of Soham. Soham is by far the easiest meditation. It comes to all living creatures without any effort. And yet it is the deepest possible technique, as it presents the opportunity to meditate on the great mystery of life and the life-giver itself.

No matter how we have acted and reacted, with each breath we are forgiven for our so-called sins and rewarded with another breath, another heartbeat, and another moment of life to cherish. No act of will on our part can give us breath. Literally, we are graced with this gift of life from a power greater than ourselves. A corpse has every bone, every organ, and every bodily system that we have, and yet it doesn't have life or healing energy filling every cell with every breath, as we have. As you merge more and more with Soham, you surrender your reactivity to your thoughts, emotions, and sensory impressions. These are all just heavy earth-bound suffering-causing limitations. The divine energy of Soham is limitless heavenly love and light. Witness, surrender all effort, and fill with this most precious gift of Grace.

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