Om is a sacred syllable in the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain religions. The meaning of the symbol is complex and differs somewhat in each religion but it can be viewed simply as a representation that helps us to realize the divinity and the energy that run through the entire universe.
Indian spirituality holds that God first created sound and the rest of the world sprang from its frequencies. Om is the most sacred of all sounds – the syllable from which the gods were created and the syllable that existed before the universe. The syllable “om” is also said to be the cosmic vibration that holds together the atoms of the world and of the heavens.
In Hinduism, each of the curves of the om carries its own symbolism. The largest lower curve –the bottom half of the 3—symbolizes the state of wakefulness, where consciousness is turned outwards through the senses. This largest curve represents wakefulness because the majority of the human consciousness occurs while we are awake and aware. The upper curve – the top part of the 3 – denotes the unconscious state of deepest sleep; that without desires or dreams. The middle curve – the hook on the right – symbolizes the dream state where consciousness is turned inward and the world is viewed through the eyes of the dreamer.
Indian mystic thought holds that all of reality springs from these three states of consciousness. Therefore, the three curves of the Om represent out entire physical phenomenon.
The dot signifies the fourth state of consciousness, which looks neither outward, nor inward. This is the quiet, peaceful state of bliss that is the aim of spirituality. The semi-circle beneath the dot represents the maya, which separates the state of bliss from the three states of consciousness. The illusion of the maya keeps us from realizing the state of bliss but just as the semi-circle is open at the top and does not touch the dot, so the maya does not touch or affect the state of bliss; It merely seeks to block us from reaching the ultimate goal.
The Om is dualistic in nature. On one hand, focusing on the symbol and sound helps us to look beyond the reality before our eyes to seek instead the abstract and the unknowable. On the other hand, focusing on an Om also helps to make the abstract more knowable bringing us closer to the divine.
When we meditate, we chant the syllable “Om.” This deep sound resonates throughout the body, vibrating and attuning us to the cosmic vibrations of the universe and uniting us with the Divine. This helps our minds and souls to reach toward the untenable as we seek deeper truth.
No matter what our spiritual beliefs, the Om can help to bring us closer to the Divine as we understand it.
The Om is also a symbol of spiritual perfection and wearing an Om helps us to focus on the divinity and light that are in ourselves and also in everyone we meet.