I grasped the power of the om mantra, one day as I babysat my nieces in NY, ages 5 and 3 at the time. It was one of those “running around and being very turbulent” days.
I remember sitting down in the middle of the room, without saying anything or looking at them, or acknowledging them in any way and just started chanting “om”. With my eyes closed I almost instantaneously felt that the commotion had stopped, I knew I had just engaged them in some way. I also knew they were probably staring at me with a curious expression thinking “there goes our crazy aunt again”, I heard them giggling as I continued my experiment as impassible as can be. My goal was to stick with it as long as it took without opening my eyes once.
I was really trying to get them to chant with me, so they too could experience the power of the sound and hopefully calm down. Sure enough my perseverance paid off, as they sat down next to me in a perfect sukhasana (cross legged position) and started chanting along. We kept going for a few rounds while I took a peak once in a while highly entertained and amused by their candor and willingness to always play along. The more we chanted and the more I kept serious, the more I could feel them getting the hang of it. When we opened our eyes again, we all burst into laughter; and I knew in that moment I had just planted a seed.
Single-syllable mantras, known as bija (seed) mantras, are the easiest to remember and recite; they’re also the most powerful. It’s believed that, just as a tiny seed contains a majestic tree, each bija contains vast amounts of spiritual wisdom and creative force. One of the oldest and most widely known of these seeds is om and it is our focus this week at USY.
Some believe that om expresses and leads to the “experience of the infinite within us.” In other words, chanting om may be the easiest way to touch the divine qualities within ourselves.
No wonder kids are so attracted and intrigued by it, they are closer to the source.