Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation.
How is the week looking, meditators? We have looked at two aspects of the "A" of AUM, one which indicates the goal of meditation (and, indeed, philosophical investigation), another which points to what can make or break our progress towards that goal. In between these there could be many other "a" words to deepen our appreciation of the first part of the sound syllable. One that has been used a number of times elsewhere already is 'application'; to apply oneself is to obtain results. 'Adherence' might be another; determination to stick to the practice. Have a think of other terms which could be used here.
"A" is for beginning.
In terms of OM the initial part of the sound - A - represents the beginning. Of everything. It is a truly universal letter; every alphabet in the world is held together by the sound 'uh' (short 'a') and 'aah' (long 'a'), even those lettering systems which do not recognise vowels as such. For most languages though, the importance of this sound is such that it stands alone and at the head of their alphabets.
A quick note on OM v AUM.
The symbol itself stands separately from Sanskrit alphabet; it is a composite letter. This diagram shows how it is drawn. First the upper curve and then the lower curve of the 'a' sound. Whilst in everyday writing this is often scribbled as a form of the Roman numeral three, this is disrespectful. It is more correctly two separate hemispheres. Part 1 is the ether (sometimes called as space) in which all appeared on the initiation of sound. Part 2 is the earth (and all material bodies) which manifested 'beneath' ether. Part 3 is the 'u' sound representation and is the constant restructuring/maintenance of the material (see how it echoes part 2?). Parts 4 and 5, whilst drawn separately, are the one prolonged sound 'MnM'. Here we find that all things must draw to a close; if things have not been completed then there is return to the cycle, (the sickle), but the ultimate is to rejoin the beginning, to end the cycle and reach the point of singularity (5).
Thus we see the three letters AUM with the sound syllable and when it comes to chanting, each is taken individually. However, the a and the u merge and begin to sound something like we find in the English word 'fault', which also as a rounded 'aww' sound like that of the o in 'obvious', therefore convention in writing has established OM. We will deal with the word as a whole in due course.
The next step in these meditative exercises is to consider the 'a' of AUM. Think on the primeval nature of the very first utterance of language. The first sound of a baby. Even animals who vocalise have this much sound. We may mark their different voices as 'baaa' or 'moooo', but think! The letter is representative of a sound state which begins in the base of our larynx, comes from our very core. Try it even as you read. Focus on it for five minutes AFTER the five minutes of emptying (thus you are now sitting for 10 minutes per day). Feel how it is created by the breath of your lungs, how it vibrates in the very bottom of the throat. Know it as the sweet , whispered sound which arises when we are moved by something, and as the air-wrenching sound which emerges from our pains.
Everything began with this sound and the sound anchored us.