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A mantra is a meditation technique that helps you to take your mind to quieter, calmer levels of thinking. Mantras are often referred to as vehicles for the mind because with focus on the repetition of a mantra, other thoughts swimming in the mind dissipate and the mind shifts toward mental clarity and stillness.
The So Hum mantra has a special meaning in Vedic philosophy and is often the mantra given to those new to the practices of yoga and meditation.
The Meaning of So HumSo Hum is a phrase comprised of two Sanskrit words. The literal translations are:
- So: “That”
- Hum: “I”
The idea of being one with the Universe and constantly supported, offers feelings of safety, protection, and unconditional support. When you’re seeking support, love, or protection, the So Hum mantra may be a great fit for your meditation.
The Double Nature of Meanings in MantraIn some techniques and organizations, such as Transcendental meditation or Primordial Sound Meditation, mantras are personalized, meaning that each individual is assigned a mantra based on a variety of facts—whether it’s the birth date, birth time, location of birth, birth year, or other tidbits about someone’s life. These can be helpful for people to connect with their mantra on a more personal level.
Another benefit of having a personal mantra is that they come without a meaning because they are not actually words, but rather they are sounds from the Universe. The meaning behind meditation mantras can often distract from the act of quieting the mind. If the mind gets fixed on a literal meaning, it gets active; whereas if the mind is focused on the sounds of a mantra without meaning or association, it can more easily find a quiet state. So for some, the meaning of any particular mantra isn’t really important or relevant to the actual act of meditation.
But everyone’s different—some people find the powerful significance behind a particular mantra actually inspires and encourages them toward a more powerful meditation. Others find it helpful to simply focus on sounds.
The important thing to remember is that one method is not better than another; you’ll just have to explore and find out what suits you best. Know that you don’t need to go through any fancy meditation program to begin meditating with a powerful mantra. The So Hum mantra is a great place to start.
So while the meaning behind So Hum is really beautiful and significant, there’s no need to get caught up in it. The real impact is in what the practice can do for you.
The Benefits of a MantraThe benefits of mantra meditation are the same as the benefits of any other type of meditation technique. A mantra is simply used as the anchor to help settle and focus your mind.
If you build a consistent practice, you can enjoy a wide array of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits. Here are a few posts outlining some benefits of meditation:
- The physical health benefits of a regular meditation practice
- 4 superpowers you can gain from meditation
- 10 Benefits of Meditation for Type As and Overachievers
- How meditation can transform your morning
Simple So Hum Meditation PracticeThis meditation can be done in whatever amount of time is available to you. I recommend setting a time for 10 minutes, but even if you have less than five, use whatever time you have. Take a comfortable, upright seat. Check out this post for options on how to sit for meditation.
- Close your eyes and take one full minute to settle in by taking a few deep, cleansing breaths. Take notice of how you feel in your mind and body.
- Start to repeat the mantra So Hum to yourself silently, slowly synching the rhythm of your breath to the mantra.
- As you inhale, silently repeat the word “So“
- As you exhale, silently repeat the word “Hum“
- Continue breathing slowly and aligning your mantra to your breath, being careful not to rush your breath if you notice your mantra speeding up.
- Each time you notice your mind wander, simply draw your attention back to your silent mantra and aligning the pace of your mantra to the pace of your breath.
Use this quiet time before opening your eyes to consider the meaning behind So Hum. Reflect on the concept that with every breath you take, you are connecting to all living beings in the Universe taking in the very same expansive energy—and in that space, you are merging into one and the same, constantly and continuously supporting one another and the world around you.
Want to find more balance, purpose, and presence in your life? Consider partnering with a certified professional coach to help you do just that! Get in touch with Melissa Eisler (Founder of Mindful Minutes) if you’re looking to:
- Become more present and manage stress
- Clarify your career path
- Develop confidence
- Improve your communication skills