Sorry, introverts of this galaxy and others far, far away. Even when we are alone, we aren’t alone.
In the world of Star Wars, there is the Force. As Obi Wan said, “Well, the Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.”
In the world of yoga, there is Om, symbolizing the interconnectedness of everything – and the vibrations of the universe. “It is the frequency of energy that connects and joins all things together.”(1)
If you’ve been to yoga class, chances are you’ve chanted “Om”, held out for a good long time and enunciating every sound from ah to uh to ummmmmm. Apparently the vibration you create while chanting Om mimics the vibration found in nature, tuning us into the rest of our universe. (2)
Whether those frequencies match and what that “tuning us in” entails, I have no idea. Om means many things to many people and I wouldn’t presume to comment on it as a totality. But we are certainly all connected in many and varied ways, as even the biggest doubter of new age philosophy will say.
On Earth, all the life in its many forms is connected. Oceans teeming with life. Dirt teeming with life. Creatures which are themselves made of living cells and teeming as well with microscopic life. Life eating life, killing life, growing from life, vibrating all the while.
Out in space, things may seem pretty dead. But there are vibrations that can be heard with the right tools. NASA has recorded plasma waves roaring “like ocean surf,” as well as sounds made from Juno crossing Jupiter’s magnetic field and intense radio emissions from Saturn. (3) This could correspond the idea of Om as the “cosmic sound” in yoga, or the vibration of creation that still exists. (4) (Assuming of course it isn’t the vast computer program from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy-in which case I guess Om could be summed up as 42).
If Om (or 42) can connect me and my world with that vast, incomprehensible universe, then it seems well worth it.
But then again, when we are introverted, we are onto something in terms of insight, too, and Om can help. Om can also bring us inward. Apparently the “Ah” “uh” and “mmm” sounds that comprise “om” contain all our sounds, since they originate in the back, middle, and front of the mouth. They are also connected to our daily phases: waking, dreaming, deep sleep, as well as a silence at the end for our infinite consciousness. (5)
Even as we are extending ourselves out into the universe, we are exploring ourselves, as well.
For me, some mix of intro- and extravert, saying “om” gives me the some of the same feelings I’ve gotten in church when you “pass the peace.” You say “May the Lord be with you” to others and receive “And also with you” in return. What spirit of the divine am I thinking when I say it? What spirit of divine is in the mind of the person saying it back? Who knows, but we are both keying into interconnectedness.
Likewise, when a Luke says “may the force be with you,” and when Han says it, it might mean slightly different things – but both are keying into the interconnectedness of their universe.
Likewise, what is in my mind when I chant “Om” may be very different from the person on the next mat. But again – we are keying into interconnectedness of our yoga class and beyond.
And hopefully, in all cases, whether it’s the Force, Om, the divine, or 42, with that interconnectedness comes compassion and an empowerment to act on it. That’s the most anyone can hope for. Well, that and a light saber. Still crossing my fingers for the interconnectedness delivering that one.