In the spiritual practice in search for our cosmic place in it all, in many faiths, it generally comes back to a version of "I am that," or "I am that I am." This unifying phrase pulls us to see ourselves in the infinite, cosmic expression of the universe that appears as whatever reality is before us.
If you are on the spiritual path, you probably have had moments where you feel unified with the divine and you can see reality as an extension of yourself. But, that feeling is usually momentary and fleeting and we fall back into “knowing” and aspiring for this concept theoretically.
One of the things that I find to be absolutely fascinating about the Sanskrit language is that the word and the form are the same. This ancient language is onomatopoeic with each word believed to contain the vibratory qualities of the word or concept being spoken of.
When seeking to experience the cosmic unity and reside in that awareness of being one with all that is, a Sanskrit mantra that addresses this is an excellent tool to use to help bring ourselves to that point.
Read: What Makes a Mantra?
The Meaning of So'Ham
The powerful mantra for this purpose is “so’ham”. It is comprised of two words that are combined to create this wonderful mantra.
- Sa: he or that
- Aham: I
It is translated specifically to mean “I am that.” The verb “am” is implied in the sentence, but not actually written, as is common in the Sanskrit language. The “sa” and “aham” sounds are combined to create one mantra in a process called sandhi.
This grammatical process in Sanskrit combines the words to create the best flow of sounds. In this case, sa is combined with aham to produce the flowing mantra of so’ham.
In addition to the theological ties to the meaning of this mantra, so’ham is an effective mantra for creating a high vibration in both the mind and the body.
The Power of So'Ham
So’ ham is a mantra that is clarifying, helping your mind connect with itself and its own divine nature. It is believed to help you get in touch with your higher self; that witnessing presence that becomes so much clearer when the mind is quiet.
This mantra is unique and can be used in a few different ways. So’ham contains within itself an inherent rhythm that naturally aligns with your breathing. So this is a perfect mantra to let murmur in your mind as you meditate, gently aligning it with your breath.
When you sit to meditate, first bring your awareness to your breath feeling the flow both in and out. Introduce the mantra and feel the way it fits so well. On the inhale let the word "so" accompany your breath and on the exhale, let your breath release using the “ham” part of this mantra.
It is very natural and feels wonderful. If your mind wanders and thoughts fill your mental space, gently bring them back to your breath and then reintroduce the mantra. It can also be chanted out loud as well.
It has a lovely flow to it and can easily be sung. Click the play button below to hear the power of the so'ham mantra when it is chanted.
How to Use So'Ham
In addition to the two usages above, this particular mantra is wonderful as a daily stress reliever. The meaning is particularly pertinent to our experience of the stressors that often show up in our day. When you feel stressed or separate from your world or circumstances, gently introduce this mantra to help calm yourself.
As you stand in line, in traffic, or sit on hold on the phone, gently introduce the mantra in your mind: so’ham.
Let it find a rhythm with your breathing and create some space in your mind. Feel it slow your breathing and focus your thoughts bringing you to an optimal state to deal with stressful situations or even just the chaos of the day.
Often we feel overwhelmed because we feel separate. When you remind yourself that “I am that,” your witnessing presence is observing; causing the situation to become an experience, not a problem.
By using this mantra during meditation or out in your world you are cultivating the witnessing presence called svadhyaya. The practice of this mantra will unfold for you inner beauty, inner joy and inner truth that you will see expressed in your outer world.
I Am That
In addition to being an amazing asset for your meditation and spiritual practice, so’ham is a neat mantra in that it is also a statement. Some Sanskrit mantras can be meaningless and are just used for meditation.
Sometimes a Sanskrit mantra may not have a linguistic meaning, but every syllable is a prayer and contains significance and is still extremely effective in creating focus and clarity in your mind. However, so’ham is full of meaning, both linguistically and spiritually.
The beautiful way that it flows allows for alignment with you and your world creating that awareness so that you can feel your own witnessing presence.
The next time you sit to meditate or you find yourself reacting to life’s stressors or feelings of overwhelm, let this beautiful sound, so’ham resonate in your mind and around you until you “see” that you are that.
During These Times of Stress and Uncertainty Your Doshas May Be Unbalanced.
To help you bring attention to your doshas and to identify what your predominant dosha is, we created the following quiz.
Try not to stress over every question, but simply answer based off your intuition. After all, you know yourself better than anyone else.