OM or Um

What is a problem to one person may not be a problem for another. Only when it’s a problem for you do you care to entertain and eventually solve the problem. If you don’t think poverty is a problem, for example, you have no reason to entertain or to want to solve it.

One such problem for me is spirituality. Spiritualism pervades the Indian ethos in a land that has spawned major religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. But spiritualism is so broadly defined, any Tom, Dick, or Harry can claim to be spiritual. For whatever reason that bothers me, is a problem for me, and makes me very suspicious about the concept in general. For example, some of the most materialistic people in the world have claimed to be spiritual.

I have always considered myself a spectator to spirituality, always on the outside looking in. It’s a party that I hear about a lot, but have not yet attended. Maybe I’ve never gotten an invitation or maybe I just refuse to open the invitation. I’ll leave that an open issue for now.

In all my yoga classes, I notice a common theme with my body: I have difficulty opening my chest. Coincidentally, my heart is in my chest. My failure to open up to spirituality may mean my heart is closed to such a possibility.

Before and after each yoga class, we chant OM (also AUM). The sacred syllable representing the Absolute of the Hindu religion (Brahman), OM creates a sound that connects us with the cosmic vibration and to the past, present, and future and beyond time itself. Right now, I am not quite at AUM; rather, I am at Um—as in hesitation. Maybe when my triangle opens up, my Um will transform into AUM.

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