Simplify. Simplify. Simplify. But how? I need my job. My family, well, I’d like to keep them. No matter how nuts the kids are, I’m keeping them too. Friend drama…sure, but I love them and it’s worth it. Indeed, it took me a few years to figure it out, but the simplification of life has nothing to do with our external world. Work, family, kids, friends… simplification doesn’t start here. Let me tell you a little story…
When I was in my twenties, my teacher said to me, “Oakley, with simplicity you will succeed.” At the time, I pretended to get it. “Don’t have too much going on, be organized, keep things clear and straightforward,” I told myself, “Okay, I got it, no problem.” But I didn’t really get it, not at all. This key to the universe went sailing over my head and left me feeling tired and stressed. I had to humble myself, admit I didn’t get it, and open to the possibility of its meaning to begin to see its effects.
Today, life has felt far from simple. But here’s a hidden truth about life, the energy of life is always simple, it’s the human experience that can feel complicated. Yes, we human beings can complicate life. And our seeking to control the energy of life is futile. It’s like running into the ocean yelling at the waves to stop reaching the shore… which I also tried.
After a few years of deep contemplation, curiosity, and exploration, a new perspective emerged. Trying to control external circumstances and other people’s reactions and behaviors wasn’t making my life simple. It was having the opposite effect, in fact. So, I continued my meditation, and many of the training practices I’ve shared with you, and I built stronger the space of quietude within. And over time, looking outside myself to create simplicity stopped making sense. Creating simplicity started within.
As aggravating thought patterns began to quiet and emotions became steadier, my life experience changed dramatically, without anything outside of myself changing. The way I related to family, friends, and work became more refined and more clear, uncomplicated and straightforward. And as my priorities came into focus, my personal sense of power and empowerment grew. I began to cultivate my relationships with more intention, I began to build my business with momentum, and I felt more in touch with my health and my needs.
All from the practice of aligning myself with the flow of life, did life become simple. Rather than trying to keep the waves from reaching the shore – in the words of an age-old metaphor – I learned to surf.
SO HUM – I AM THAT
Thus, this month, I am sharing with you a sacred Sanskrit mantra, So Hum. Mantras have been used for thousands of years to train the mind to focus. And as a result of this focus, the thoughts and feelings that do not serve us fall away because we do not follow them and give them our life force. In other words, when we declutter our inner space, we begin to feel the power of simplicity.
A mantra has a specific energy to it, a power embedded in the words themselves. All we are tasked to do is to focus the mind on these words, these sounds, and when we drift away, we must only bring our attention back to the mantra. That’s it. The energy of the mantra will do its work, expanding its ancient and pure vibration through the body, mind, and spirit, purifying our mind and our emotions as it goes. It’s like a drive-through car wash. Relax, stay in the car, and let yourself be cleaned.
The mantra, So Hum, can be translated to I AM THAT. What this means is that we are not one thing, we are everything. We are all that is. This focus on the universal consciousness in all things allows us to loosen our grip on identities to roles, feelings, outcomes, past and future alike. . . This mantra brings us into the present moment, where we accept all that is and align ourselves with the universal flow in all life.
It’s a deep concept that we don’t need to understand before we practice. When we practice with a mantra like So Hum, eventually the experience it evokes will illuminate the meaning I am describing. But just for today, and for tomorrow, approach this meditation practice with an open mind and a gentle heart. Open yourself to it without expectation.
After getting to know this mantra and its effects, we can begin to use it throughout our day. In my personal life, I will inhale and repeat silently to myself, SO. Then, I will exhale and silently say within, HUM. This is how we can use this mantra practically. And this simple act allows us to completely reset our mind, emotions, and nervous system. Inhale SO. Exhale HUM. Repeat.
This simple reset actually gives us the chance to be present to the moment, more light-hearted, open to what is, as it is. I am not one thing. I am not any thing, per say. I am all things. All that is. I am that, and that, and that…I am the universal flow in it all.