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What's up with 'Om'

You see the symbol everywhere. It's on car windows, tattooed biceps, tank tops and coffee mugs. But what does it mean and why do hippie-dippie people plaster it everywhere?

This short sound has a long meaning. In Hindu tradition, om represents the first vibration/sound ever made in the universe and unifies all life throughout the vastness of time and space. So, there's that.

It also stands for the connection of consciousness between all things created, as well as a joining of each individual's body, mind and spirit. That's a lot of work for one little word.

Technically, om is actually four distinct sounds, pronounced "Ah-ooh-mm". But Peri, you say, that's only three sounds. Just keep reading, young grasshopper.

"Ah" is the first sound, representing our conscious awakening. "Ooh" is the inner realm of our dreams and thoughts. "Mm" means something is delicious! (Just seeing if you're paying attention.) "Mm" is absolute unity with universal consciousness. These sounds blend together and end in a drawn-out hum of vibration, which leads us to the fourth sound.

The fourth sound is the vibration of "om" as it moves to silence, representing the feeling of peace, immortality, connection and bliss. Amit Ray said, "Silence is the language of Om . . . Both internal and external silence is very important to feel the presence of that supreme Love."

Not bad for a hippie-dippie chant.

When chanted at the beginning or end of a yoga or meditation practice, the vibration of om resonates through the room and each individual. It's also great to chant the word during rush hour or when your toddler is having a meltdown at Target.

So, om is pretty cool. You might even run out to buy a car decal to slap on your window.


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