Monday, 1 September 2008

Om and the Himalayas

I was doodling yesterday and I found myself drawing the "Om" symbol without realising it. It caused me to remember last year when I was in India I stayed in a little guesthouse on the side of a mountain high in the Himalayas. The head of the family was a very nice man called Mr Prakash-ji (Ji is added at the end of Indian names to show respect). He was a very spiritual man who practices yoga and meditation. All the food served in his guesthouse is vegetarian and organically grown by his own family, and all the water used, even for washing pots, is Himalayan spring water, which flows freely from the mountain. Every morning some of us would get up early to meditate with him and he would also talk to us about the nature of our mind. The type of meditation we practiced was a type of transcendental which used chanting "Om" out loud. Om is made of the sanskrit particles A, U and M. A represents that which has form, U represents the formless, and M represents that which is neither form, nor formless.
He said that the mind is like a crazy horse that runs wild. Meditation is like tying the horse to a pole. It will cause it to run around even more at first, circling the pole and getting restless, but eventually, it will calm and will become still. This stillness allows us to perceive Sunyata, or emptiness. However, we shouldnt dwell on the idea of emptiness, for then it becomes another form and is not truly empty. We should let it arise naturally.
I find it extremely hard to let my mind still, whenever I sit in meditation there I become aware of how busy my mind is, like the horse running round and round the pole, but I figure if I can sit long enough, then the horse will tire and rest.

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