The Greater the Lesson,
The Deeper the Ohm
Yeah, me too!
The first time I read A New Earth by Ekhard Tolle, which was years ago now, I thought it was a comedy. Not because the book was funny – it’s not – but because as much as I tried I could not understand the guy. But Oprah had recommended this book saying it was the most enlightened thing she had ever read, and I needed to be as enlightened as Oprah!
A friend and I decided to make A New Earth a weekly book study. We would read one chapter, then get together and have deep conversations about our own enlightenment.
It was a disaster.
We usually ended up in fits of laughter wondering what the heck this enlightened author meant about feeling trees and noticing bugs – or whatever he was taking about. It was weird. We lasted about two chapters before completely giving up. We decided everyone else must be enlightened, intuitive, and understood “talking” trees and such, but not us.
Clearly, we were poor students of the New Earth.
But now, years later, I’m almost amazed at how much sense the guy makes!
In this season of life, I look back upon that book study effort and feel a pang of compassion for that woman (okay, ME) who didn’t get it.
After years more life experience and stick-to-itiveness, I can finally say I get it, Ekhart!
My personal understanding of mindfulness has basically been a life cycle metaphor. It has been a cycle of death and rebirth challenging me to eschew old thinking patterns and grow, living in ways I might never have imaged just a few short years ago.
We sow, we reap.
Before I was married (18 years ago now), I hit the gym daily after work. I almost always went to cardio classes and pushed myself physically. Everything was about getting leaner, stronger, and faster. I dipped my toe into the pool of running, did weights like a mad woman and played racquetball with a partner who angled the ball somewhere near my face with suspicious regularity.
After years of my regular routine, yoga classes started to appear on the gym’s schedule. I never attended the new yoga classes, but ran around the participants on the indoor track ogling the teacher and abecedarian yogis with wonder. Oddly, all I could imagine was wildly running into class and knocking people over as they stood in tree pose like a football player gone amok. It was not a Zen move, I know. But don’t worry, scenarios like that were never manifested into being. They stayed in my head where they belonged.
When a friend opened a local yoga studio two years later, I tried a beginning class. Cindy was pretty Zen and knowledgeable while I was – well – horrible. Athletic prowess was not going to help turn my body into a pretzel. There were women far less athletic who could gracefully bend themselves in half like molded clay. I was so frustrated that yoga wasn’t fun.
I also had the misfortune of a fabulously busy mind. Sitting longer than 30 seconds felt like complete torture and conjured violent fits of rage at not being able to get up and leave. Yoga made me annoyed and angry.
I admit I may have been doing it wrong.
As time went on and yoga became trendier, I endured. I kept up sporadic attendance at the local yoga studio. I even stepped out and attended beginning meditation classes put on my guests, REALLY woo-woo yoga stuff in our small, conservative town. Not surprisingly, I spent most of my energy containing hysterical laughter in those special classes. I was ridiculously uncomfortable.
But as yoga became common place, our teacher added an “Ohm” chant to the end of our classes. I almost died. That just went too far and was too weird. I mouthed the chant and did the motions.
For reasons I can’t articulate, I kept going. I did yoga (it was not yet a practice), read self-help books and learned more about mindfulness. Yoga became part of my usual workout routine. I incrementally became comfortable with the final “ohm” until one day the chant broke through my skepticism.
The collective voices chanting “ohm” felt like unity.
While everyone who chants starts on a different note with a different voice, the “ohm” literally becomes one amazing sound. It was, for me, the delivery of a profound message: we are meant to come together and create a single sound.
We are one.
The “ohm” was never again uncomfortable or weird. It was awesome!
Ohm in yoga is thought to represent “the cosmic sound vibration that originates, maintains and reabsorbs everything in the universe.” Cool, right?
But the meaning of OHM in physics is “a unit of electrical resistance.” That made me laugh. Resistance! Get it?!
Recently, having achieved a new layer of freedom and comfort in my yoga practice, the “ohm” has settled even deeper. It has moved deeper inside my chest and become a deep feeling. It now resonates and vibrates somewhere in my heart area. It is deep, broadening, grounding.
That feeling of “ohm” is a recent revelation.
We sow, we reap.
The “ohm”, once a point of great resistance, continues to grow and teach me.
At first, I couldn’t be still enough to hear it.
When I finally heard it, chanting aloud let me explore participation in a group without self-consciousness.
When I gained comfort, I gained the wisdom that we are one – no judgement and no competition.
Now, I resonate with it in an even deeper way.
We sow, we reap.
No matter how that has manifested in your own life, you have experienced a deepening of an “ohm” – a falling away of old thinking and a new belief that has propelled you to something unimaginable.
Whether it is your current career, a deeper revelation of your faith, a greater understanding of relationships, or a seemingly random chain of events that has led you to your current circumstance, the path was born of a seed – a decision to follow an inclination no matter how rational or difficult.
Fall is the perfect time to contemplate your personal harvest.
What have you sown?
What are you reaping as a result?
Connecting the dots from our early years to present sure is fun. It reminds us of the fruits of labors; how far we have come in certain areas of our lives. I started my yoga journey by wanting to physically mow over tree posing yogis. Now, I strive to stand in tree pose with ease, eyes fixed in great concentration and personal intention.
Consider a seed that was planted long ago. Try to mapping the growth of that seed over time to its current fruit. How did something so seemingly random or unimportant become a delicious harvest in your life?
Amazing things happen when we plant a seed.
And speaking of seeds and harvests, this week’s recipe is the complete metaphor for sowing and reaping.
Ripe, delicious and…well, slathered in cheese because cheese to a tomato is like frosting to a cake.
All of it just makes life more delicious.
The Busy Buddha
These tomato bites are succulent and particularly delicious with heirloom tomatoes. I have been attending our local farmer's market to find vine ripe tomatoes just calling out for me. The flavor of freshly harvested tomatoes is amazing!
FIND RECIPE HERE!
What seeds have your planted unknowingly that have helped you in a recent tough time? What lessons would you pass along to others about your experience?