Soham: Wisdom You Can Access
I first learned to meditate over 40 years ago. Friends of mine learned Transcendental Meditation in high school, but I couldn’t afford the fee. I had friends in college who also learned the TM method, but again, I was unable to pay and no one was parting with any information about the process. Stubbornly, I took it upon myself to research meditation techniques in the library and learned as much as I could. This was my introduction to mantras. I chose a mantra and one beautiful day, sitting under a tree, I gave it a whirl. It changed my life.
Your first mediation is never forgotten.
Eventually, I learned the TM method from a certified teacher. Although the basic idea was the same, I was given my mantra and in my first experience, felt a great opening of consciousness that I hadn’t experienced before. It was different. With this in mind, I began experimenting with mantras. One day, I meditated with the Soham mantra, not knowing what to expect. I found it to be peaceful, relaxing and connective in a way that’s hard to explain.
One With the Universe
Soham is Sanskrit and essentially means, “He whom I am.” It could be translated as, “I am He,” implying, “I am one with everything,” The “He” in this case is the Universe and the singularity of the divine. Soham is an ancient mantra and one that has been used in different ways, by numerous groups and societies. Some believe that it can connect us to what are known as, “The Ascended Masters.”
A Human Tendency to Expand and Interpret
The term “Ascended Masters” was coined in the 1930s and used to define spiritual adepts whom, after their time on Earth, ascend to a place where they help guide humanity and commune, or merge, with those who seek their wisdom. This movement gained great popularity and had a vast following, one that still exists today. This wasn’t the first time such an idea had been put forth. Theosophy, through Madame Blavatsky, had “The Great White Brotherhood.”
Many have accused Blavatsky’s work as being discriminatory, or outright racist. Some have pointed to her writings as being instrumental in helping to design theories for the Nazi party. It’s hard to know the actual truth behind all of this, but I genuinely don’t believe that Blavatsky had any such thoughts about singling out one race, or type of people, as being “less” than others. I’m certainly not an expert on Theosophical philosophy, but I’ve read some of her works and can see both sides of the argument. The complexity of her writing style is open to a myriad of different interpretations, as is often the case with any spiritually based text.
This brings me to a point. One of the things that human beings tend to do, is take a basic thought and then expand upon it, often to fulfill our own philosophical ideals and agendas. A quick look at history should convince us of the power of this process.
Through rhetoric and dogma, it’s often possible to reinterpret the underlying purpose of a text, in order to rationalize our unique point of view.
This has been done again and again in religion and is also a powerful tool in politics, where interpretations of founding documents are hotly contested and reviewed. Perhaps this is one of the dangers of proclaiming a text to be sacred. They may, in fact, be sacred, but the interpretation of these texts and ideas are usually man-made. Some seek to overcome this ambiguity through an individual, a human channeling a specific source, one pure and spiritually unquestionable. Enter the Ascended Masters, or so say those who believe in the doctrine.
I’m wary of most spiritual systems. It’s not my desire to demean, nor cast doubt upon, any religion or philosophy. I’m a metaphysician and have been a seeker for most of my life, so I’m used to being left out, considered odd, deemed ignorant, thought simpleminded, or daft. I’ve experienced way too much not to believe, but I’ve also seen enough to realize that there has to be a standard of feasibility that allows us not to be deluded, or worse.
This amorphous, subjective realm exists somewhere between hard fact and faith.
It’s for this reason that I’ll discuss the Ascended Master concept a bit differently than some might. I’ve known individuals who consulted with an Ascended Master, through a channel, and received advice, only to have another channel of the exact same Master contradict the advice earlier given. It always amazes me that the seeker is able to rationalize the discrepancy, through some excuse or the other. It speaks to the unreliability of the process at the very least, and to much bigger problems, at worst.
Ascended Masters: A Conceptual Offering
I believe that anything can be mined for its positive, beneficial value and doesn’t have to be presented in a specific form to be of use. This doesn’t imply that the Ascended Master belief isn’t valid, or is unworthy of study. I’ve known many who have been followers of its doctrine and received value in their lives, some through personal work and others through relying on a Master being channeled. It simply isn’t my way of doing things.
To be direct, it seems overly religious and even though the Masters are purported to be from various cultures and eras, it strikes me as being a form of Saint worship. As I said, there’s nothing wrong with that; it just isn’t my thing, but it still has value. With that in mind, let’s look at what it can offer you.
We Are Never Alone
A common thread throughout spiritual cultures is a belief in a place to where our consciousness can ascend to and there share information and commune with fellow members, past, present and future. These locations have different names, appearances and purposes, but they all share one goal, to help those in need, or who seek truth. By this doctrine, we are never alone.
I do believe that there is an intelligence that seeks to guide us, one that is powerful and ancient.
I consider this intelligence to be the accumulated knowledge and wisdom of all humanity, from the beginning to the present. I don’t see a need to identify specific members of our species in this, as that quickly turns into a form of worship and defeats the purpose. This could be considered a form of ancestral guidance, since it depends upon people who have passed, their only agenda to better their progeny, namely us. Incidentally, I consider our time on this planet to be just as important and to have the same goal.
If we’re not doing something to better the human experience, then we’re missing the point of being human.
How then can we find this place and connect? The ability to receive this information, this wealth of humanity, is not only possible, but within your grasp. It takes concentration, determination, sincerity and the ability to listen to truth without fear, or prejudice. I believe that this has been one of the motives behind much of the ritual that we have been obsessed with over the millennia. Luckily, connecting is much simpler than it sounds and one method of doing so is the use of mantras, one of them being Soham.
I mentioned earlier that I’ve used different mantras over the years and can attest to the fact that each mantra has a definitive and unique energy. Some of these mantras have had influences that I was able to discern, while others are still a mystery to me. Each sound in Sanskrit has a specific energy and combining different sounds can be like putting together commands on a computer, accessing more information than seems possible.
The Soham Mantra: The Oneness of All
The Soham mantra, by the very nature of its meaning, “I am He whom I am,” indicates an association with the divine monad, the oneness of all.
As one meditates upon this word, it becomes a personal appeal, from us to the Universe, to unite with everything. By extension, we are then connected to the wisdom of all and can gain an inner understanding of ourselves, perhaps otherwise inaccessible to the conscious mind. This is something that you can do and benefit from.
Practice: Soham Meditation
As with anything, there are different opinions as to how the Soham mantra should be used. I find it to be aligned with natural breathing. When I inhale, I think, “So.” When I exhale, I think, “Ham.” There are masters who contradict this, insisting that Ham is the inhale and So the exhale. There are just as many masters who disagree with them. Many practitioners vocalize their mantras aloud. I prefer silent mantra repetition and personally feel silence to be more powerful, but in truth, it’s completely up to you.
A simple way of using the Soham meditation is to sit in a relaxed way that connects you to your process. For me, it’s a comfortable chair; for others it may be a yoga position. Do what you feel connects you to your source. Close your eyes, or leave them open if you prefer, and begin reciting the mantra, either out loud or to yourself, and forget about a goal. Breathe in, “So.” Breathe out, “Ham.” Let the words resonate in your mind, but don’t overthink it. Be in the moment and allow yourself to be devoid of motive or purpose of thought, other than to be.
Your mind will race, but never scold it. Instead, smile and return to the mantra.
I never ask for information or wisdom directly, but you may do so if you choose. I open my mind to whatever may come. Sometimes it takes a few minutes, other times information is there quickly. I have meditations where nothing comes through at all, except a deep and profound sense of calm and the conviction that something much more powerful than me is present. That’s good enough for me. Once again, determination, patience and sincerity will eventually deliver results, often spectacularly.
The information is out there and is designed to be accessed by every one of us, not just channels who speak for Ascended Masters. There is nothing supernatural about any of this. In fact, I believe that this is an important part of Humanity. It seeks to guide us in the way that will make us better than we are and can help to pave the way for the future. It reasserts our ethics and redefines our values in an ever-changing world.
I consider it to be a link in the chain of the spiritual evolution of our species and I pray that we will always listen. Tap into the source and listen to the voice. Everyone will benefit. Never forget, it begins with us.
I wish you all peace and love.
Meditation for Connecting with the Goddess
From Bastet to Artemis, throughout history, the presence of goddesses have been written into human lore and mythology. But what does a modern goddess mean for us today?
The modern Goddess is often connected with Wicca, or paganism, but it’s important to hold to her image very broadly. All goddesses are considered different reflections of the one Divine Mother. Pinning the Goddess down is a challenge, as believers state she expresses herself in many different ways in the physical, mental and spiritual planes.
According to Wikipedia, some people in the Goddess movement recognize multiple goddesses. Some also include gods. While others honor what they refer to as “the Goddess”, which is not necessarily seen as monotheistic, but is often understood to be an inclusive, encompassing term incorporating many goddesses in many different cultures. The term “the Goddess” may also be understood to include a multiplicity of ways to view deity personified as female, or as a metaphor, or as a process. Other names she has include the One Goddess, Divine Mother , the Great Mother, the Divine Feminine, and the One (or Source) Energy. As other believers put it, “She is the embodiment of the divine feminine. She is Mother Nature, the Earth– Gaia; she is fertility and the turning of the seasons. She is the cycle of birth, life, death, and regeneration– or rebirth; she is the Creatrix of all that is, was, and will be. Where the God is hard and unyielding, the Goddess is soft and pliant, embracing the individual and human diversity, allowing for growth and expansion.”
The concept of a goddess can sound very abstract, which is why using a guided meditation can be of such importance. BeliefNet has a great one that is very visualization-heavy, and yet offers excellent guidance. Find out for yourself what this deity means to you:
1. Begin your meditation by sitting in a quiet place. Mentally surround yourself with a zone of silence as if you have drawn a veil between yourself and the world. Gradually, begin to slow the rhythm of your breath. As you inhale, then exhale, let your breath carry you deeper and deeper within. As the distractions of everyday life fall away, let your awareness drop down into the inner chamber of your heart.
2. Next, imagine that you find yourself walking along a pathway that leads you further and further away from civilization, and deep into the heart of a primeval forest. As you follow this trail, imagine that you are winding around and among trees that are hundreds of years old. Flowers carpet the ground and birds sing. In the distance you hear the muffled roar of the ocean waves, rising and falling, rising and falling, like music. Your heartbeat, your breath, and the ocean waves keep time with the rhythm of nature.
3. Soon the path you are on brings you to a tiny, crumbling, stone sanctuary, a place so old and hidden it had been forgotten by time. Thickly covered with vines and gnarled branches, it is clear that no one entered this chapel in centuries, perhaps even thousands of years. Intuitively you sense that something mysterious yet deeply familiar lies within this ruin of a forgotten shrine. Slowly you push open the door and enter. As you open the door, something old and timeless opens within your soul as well.
4. Once across the threshold, you find yourself immersed in an atmosphere that is sacred and holy. Vaulted ceilings arch over a rough, stone altar at the front. Candles are burning, there is a smell of fragrant incense. On an altar stands a statue of the female deity, the Goddess. Her face is so old and dark with time, the lines on her body so worn from the touch of praying hands that you cannot even tell what religion she belongs to. She is simply the Mother, god as a woman, the one to whom the world turns in all its grief and suffering. She is Sofia, Kwan Yin, Mary, Sarah, Fatima, White Buffalo Woman, Isis, Sita, Innanna, and Demeter. She is all the feminine faces of God, but she is more than that. She is the mother of life itself.
5. Kneeling before her in reverence, you bow your head in prayer. Immediately you are embraced by her being, and the cares and worries of the world fall away, soothed in her loving acceptance of all your human faults and frailties. Entering even more deeply into your meditation the statue you are praying before suddenly comes alive as a real being and now you find yourself before the mystery of the living mother of all creation.
6. As she comes to life, the chapel fills with a warm and golden light. Now the face of the ancient mother becomes animated with feeling. Seated before her you gaze into each other’s eyes. She penetrates your soul with a glance that loves you to the core of your very being. Emotions of sweetness, mercy, and loving forgiveness emanate from her, sweeping over you in waves of bliss, healing all the parts of your that are hurt, broken, and wounded. Held within her arms, taken onto her lap, you become like a little child with its mother. You touch her hair, her face in loving affection, and feel her loving affection for you in return.
7. Going more deeply into this experience you begin to feel as if the body of the ancient mother is the gateway to the body of creation itself. Going beyond her form, you enter into communion with the body of the earth — all her creatures, trees, oceans, rivers, mountains, cities, and people. Going even beyond the earth, feel the body of the ancient mother expand into space, becoming the bodies of the stars and the planets and the whirling galaxies that are spread over the universe like a mantle of bright jewels.
8. Held in the womb of this mystery you feel a powerful force, holy energy, and the breath of life, the soul of the cosmos. Feel your heartbeat in rhythm with the rhythm of life itself. Slowly begin to return your awareness to your body, still seated before the ancient mother in prayer. Inhale deeply, taking into every cell of your body, every thought in your mind her cherishing nourishing life-sustaining love. Exhale, letting this energy flow out of you like a river of grace watering your life and all those you know and care for, with a stream of blessings, happiness, and well-being.
9. Now close your meditation bowing once more before the ancient mother. Rise and exit from her humble little sanctuary, closing the door behind you. As you make your way along the path back to the life you left behind, remember that you carry within your heart a precious secret: faith in the goodness of life, the gift of love of the Divine Mother of the world.