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Throatsinger

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OM

This ancient syllable is best known from the Vedic traditions and their offshoots, or the so-called Dharmic religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikkhism, Jainism, etc. In those lineages, it is seen as a Sanskrit incantation, with various meanings related to such concepts as a name of the divine, “I Am Existence,” a sonic representation of the beginning, duration, and disintegration of the universe, etc. It is often said that the word is an important sonic symbol in other spiritual paths, although such claims seem generally accepted but poorly documented.

However, in modern times recitation of OM, often pronounced as a drawn-out A-U-M has become a popular part of many spiritual and therapeutic values. For many, unless it is a matter of religious faith, there is little in the way of evidence that OM has the various mystical powers and attributes often spoken of. For those outside the Dharmic traditions, how might we understand its use and benefits?

A hint may be found in the phonology of the word: “to make a humming or droning sound.” When spoken or chanted, there is an interesting phenomenon that occurs within the speaker.

Early in my explorations of sound, I became aware of Alfred Tomatis’ theory that certain types of sounds have specific effects on the nervous system, and by extension upon both body and consciousness. He believed that sounds rich in high frequencies charged the nervous system, while sounds rich in low frequencies discharged energy from the nervous system. In my own experience, however, I failed to note this.

My explorations with vocal toning led me instead to notice that open-mouth vocalizations were useful for discharging energy, and that closed-mouth voicing built up energy, charging the system. Upon considering common real-life examples, this seemed to make sense. When stressed, shocked or in pain, say, when accidentally striking one’s thumb with a hammer, the natural reaction is to yell, scream, or otherwise vocalize loudly with the mouth open. This has the effect of forcibly releasing some of the unpleasant rapid buildup of nervous energy, or PAIN.

Closed-mouth vocalizations, often referred to as “toning” have the opposite effect, if done with some volume: Only a small percentage of the energy is released through the smaller openings of the nostrils, and a tiny percentage via bone and other tissue conduction. This causes a build-up of energy in both body and consciousness. 

When one slowly vocalizes “AAAAUUUUUMMMMM” there is first the open-mouthed release or discharge of energy, which can be made purposeful via intent so that one may reduce the amount of negative, old, or unpleasant energy, followed by the closed-mouth voicing which then builds back up the energy in one’s system.

Thus, the practice of “OMing” can be a simple but highly effective method of balancing, refreshing and literally “toning” one’s body and mind. When practiced for a sustained period of a few to several minutes or more, the effect can be rather dramatic, releasing tension, stress, and discomfort while gently energizing and enhancing one’s self of well-being.

Try it yourself as a free self-treatment and see what you experience.


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Steve Sklar
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norma kaplis

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Reply with quote  #2 
I have been chanting mostly Tibetan mantras for about a year on a regular basis, 108 repetitions of sacred words and phrases. Om is included at the beginning and end of each session and often is included in each phrase, as well as a mantra on its own. These practices have changed my inner state and sense of connectedness to divine spirit in a profound way. I also find a long period of silence after the chanting to be essential.....letting the vibration settle and permeate my Being. Words fail to adequately describe the process and the result for me; but I Feel a deep peacefulness, and a general sensitivity to the Oneness of All, as well as Love for all Living things. The 21 day chant retreats of Deva Prema and Miten have been the format for my learning, as well as Devadas and Krishna Das. The basic sound teachings of Mitch Nur, Joseph Rael, and Hazrat Inayat Khan have been my foundation, as well as frame drum studies. Also, these practices seem to inspire me with my own chants and even simple musical accompaniments of my own. So, hurray to Om and her friends.
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HimalayanBowls

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Reply with quote  #3 
I like how you describe the movement of energy. Did you hear about the theory that our nervous system actually transmits sound and not electricity? Your theory makes sense in that context.
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Kit

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Reply with quote  #4 
I hadn't heard of this theory about the nervous system transmitting as sound instead of electricity. Tell us more Joseph!
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RichG

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kit
I hadn't heard of this theory about the nervous system transmitting as sound instead of electricity. Tell us more Joseph!


This came out back in 2007. I haven't heard anything since (which of course doesn't mean there hasn't been anything said about it since).
http://www.livescience.com/1357-controversial-idea-nerves-transmit-sound-electricity.html
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070307075703.htm




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HimalayanBowls

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Reply with quote  #6 
I didn't hear anything since then either. I thought it was a good idea but recently I'm hearing a lot about electric conduction in the nerves so maybe they were wrong.
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Kit

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Reply with quote  #7 
Thanks Rich and Joseph!  Good stuff!  I'm open to the possibilities.  There could even be components of both though.  Sound because it is mechanical and generated by vibration, generally needs a medium to move through whereas something electromagnetic could travel in a vacuum.  The olive oil and anaesthesia thing is so fascinating to me. 
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crownofeternity

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Reply with quote  #8 

Hello Steve, 

I love this!  Thank you!

Have you explored toning through the nasal conch at all?  In Kundalini Yoga, they chant Ong instead of Om, moving very quickly to the NNNNNNNNGGGGGGG sound.  If I close my nostrils when toning this, the sound stops.  The mouth acts as more of a resonating chamber.  I find that this sound directs energy to my brow point.  Good times.


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Mike Tamburo
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