In order to create harmony, balance, equilibrium, union, we must first find the correct dosage of the required ingredients.
If we want to make a salad dressing, we need to add a correct amount of oil and vinegar. Too much oil and the texture becomes unpleasant, too much vinegar and the taste becomes unpleasant.
If we want to balance a bank account, the amount of money coming in needs to be at least equal to the amount of money going out.
This idea applies to the Pranava Mantra as well.
It is said that all of the wisdom of the Vedas, is contained in the Gayatri Mantra, and all of the wisdom of the Gayatri is contained in the Pranava Mantra.
In order to reduce or contain so much information, the relevant parts would need to be combined in the correct dosage, like with a salad or a bank account. Too much of one sound or idea, and the mantra becomes unbalanced, out of tune or unpleasant to listen to. Too little and the same is true.
The Gayatri Mantra breaks down our reasons for chanting Om into three –
First we need devotion, somewhere to put our energy, something to believe in
Then we need a practice, something to do, a way to focus the mind
Finally we need a light, a guide, an inspiration.
These three components make up the Gayatri Mantra, and remind us to be inspired by our own inner light. It is a mantra that I have instinctively chanted to my kids since they were babies, without ever fully understanding why or what it truly meant.
If we further reduce these three concepts, we are left with three sounds that create a vibration in our body and in our life.
A U M
A represents the opening, the beginning, the breaking of silence, the commencement of the exhalation, the initiation or the spark
U represents the steady release, the maintenance of the sound, the effort required to keep it going
M reminds us to close, to finish, to end, to return to stillness
We can begin our practice with an Om, and connect with the divine there. We can chant Om at the end of our practice to close and consolidate the benefits of our efforts. The stillness and space between the Om is the gift we give ourselves, the stillness and space we create in our minds, and our lives, to be free of our thoughts, our spinning mind, our worries and our delusions. The space between is our opportunity to be a part of the whole, the cycle, the circle, the rhythm of life. Om is the origin, the journey and the destination.