Soham- Soham…You are the Same as I am

This beautiful painting is by O'Nell Starkey. Click on the image to be transported to her site, Wise Moon

This beautiful painting is by O’Nell Starkey. Click on the image to be transported to her site, Wise Moon

This week in yoga class we explored breath and Soham. Soham is the ‘original’ mantra, it is the sound of breath. ‘Soh’ as you inhale, ‘hummmm’ as you exhale. While clicking around the internet prepping for this class, I read through an except from a Wikipedia post that goes:

Sohum (सो ऽहम् so ‘ham[1]) is the Sanskrit for “I am He/That”. (See also: Tat Tvam Asi.)

When it applies to a person’s name, according to Vedic philosophy it means identifying oneself with the universe or ultimate reality. Some say that when a child is born it cries Koham-Koham which means Who am I? That is when the universe replies back Sohum. You are the same as I am.

And then the dam of creativity burst and this is what arrived on the page:

The baby, used to its home of darkness and warmth began to feel constricted one day. The soft walls of it’s home seemed smaller than usual and occasionally the baby’s head was pushed down onto the spongy floor.

“What is happening to my lovely home?” The baby wondered wordlessly. The baby had lived there in the warm darkness of it’s home for as long as it could remember, flowing through the warm dark waters and kicking at the warm soft borders in perfect contentment. In its warm dark home the baby understood all it needed to know. It was quiet, comfortable and very peaceful.

Now the squeezing became stronger. The poor baby, confused and scared could no longer move. The walls of its home tucked in tightly around the child’s unknown form until, mute and terrified, the baby was squeezed into a very tight tunnel.

New sounds reached the child as it travelled ever downward- strange noises, sharp and strong. All of a sudden the baby felt it’s head cool…A windy, dry coolness touched him and was unlike anything he’d known before and in an instant the child was born- into light that stung his eyes, to sound that pierced his ears and to air that seared through his lungs. He cried out, “Koham- Koham, who am I?” in panic and fear. A voice from within replied, peaceful and calm, “Soham- Soham, you are the same as I.”

 

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