Home > Lessons for the Modern Man, Men and Spirituality > More on Hamsa – and Less

More on Hamsa – and Less

Formal meditation is not always easy for me. I like to sit, maybe with a candle and some incense burning, offering my hopes and prayers to the Goddess. I have all the rituals well in place; I have the accoutrements: zafu and zabuton from my Zen meditation days, a collection of incense that could open a store, altar objects large and small to create sacred space in every corner of our house.

And while I enjoy sitting and all the ceremony I surround it with I am not always able to easily and quickly move to that still center where merger with the Divine is attained.

I don’t think it’s about practice, more practice. I was initiated into traditional TM by some German folks just returning from India and their own initiation and study with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1969. I’ve had some time to practice! And yes, I do return to TM reasonably often but it is not a daily practice now. When I return to TM I don’t often find that still point within.

I also sit zazen from time to time. I enjoy watching my breath and seeking stillness. I enjoy the formalism of Zen and slip easily back to my times at Zen Mountain Monastery with Roshi Loori. But even with my formal training, practice and approach I don’t often achieve that quiet mind and find that still center.

With this backdrop my excitement in finding and reading I am That by Swami Muktananda has its context. As I wrote in yesterday’s post, Hamsa as a meditation practice is already changing my life.

HamsaI am That is a mantra meditation approach I immediately understand. And my first breath with this mantra showed me a way inward that is straightforward and effective.  Ham – I am – is the sound we make when we inhale. Sa – That – is the sound we make when we exhale. Each breath repeats this mantra Hamsa, I am That.

And it only takes one breath! On one repetition of Hamsa it all comes rushing toward me and plants itself deeply within. My years breathing on a cushion, my yoga time on a mat with my TM bija-mantra, my qigong breath and movement, even my time in my writing chair seem to merge into this single still point in the middle of my chest, my heart chakra, and quietly abide.

What more could I ask for than to receive and embrace a “new” meditation practice that in some alchemical way combines all of my practices and takes me immediately to that quiet-mind, still center?

And there is almost nothing to it! It is a breath. We all breathe. We repeat this mantra, this Hamsa 12,600 times a day! And all we have to do is remember the deeper meaning.

I don’t need a cushion, I don’t need a candle and incense, I don’t need images and objects, I don’t even need to still my body, or prepare it through exertion. I only need my breath. Ham Sa!

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