So Ham Meditation



For thousands of years, people have used meditation to contact the stillness that is the source of all awareness. In this meditation, you will learn a simple practice to return to Source.

So Ham* is the greatest of all ancient mantras. You were born with it. It is in your breath. As you inhale, the natural sound of the breath is So, and as you exhale, the natural sound of the breath is Ham (pronounced hum). You repeat this mantra 21,600 times 24 hours a day without awareness. Even during sleep, the So Ham repetition continues automatically.

Breath contains oxygen and the vital life force or spiritual energy. They are inseparable. As such, breath is the connection between inner and outer worlds. So Ham can be translated as ‘I Am/That,’ identifying the individual as the Divine.

The only physiological function that is both voluntary and involuntary is breathing. Breathing can be controlled consciously by the mind or allowed to function automatically like other physiological functions, like digestion, under the control of the body.

During this meditation, conscious breathing and mantra repetition are combined. This type of mantra repetition is termed Ajapa-Mantra because it is done without moving the lips along with the breath.

To begin, find yourself in a comfortable seated position. Allow the body to become still. Direct your full awareness to the breath. Don’t try to control or change it. Just breathe. Spend some time here.

Take a few cleansing breaths. On inhalation, mentally breathe in coolness and light. On exhalation, feel all your cares and worries drifting away.

Mentally repeat So as you inhale, mentally repeat Ham as you exhale. Breathe with feeling and focus. Concentrate on the meaning behind the mantra. See yourself as ‘That’ with emotion. This deepens the impression.

At times, the mantra will reverse itself; So Ham will become Ham Sah. We say ‘God is Love – Love is God.’ Repetition of So Ham – Ham Sah and Ham Sah – So Ham’ becomes more powerful, and strengthens the practice when you combine the two.

Grow this technique gently over time. When beginning, breathe for a few minutes twice a day – preferably dusk and dawn. If you simply concentrate on the breath, if you simply watch the breath, if you simply listen to the breath, that is enough.

Eventually, you will notice breath slows as concentration deepens. No matter how soft or subtle the breath becomes, continue to watch it. Conscious repetition of So Ham will stop when you fall into deep concentration. Return to the mantra as needed.

We hypnotize ourselves daily with an endless barrage of destructive mental chatter. “I am weak. I am helpless. I am not enough. I am broken.” So Ham meditation silences your inner critic.

During So Ham meditation, one gains access to the subconscious mind, source of all programming and automatic behaviors. Through mantra repetition, inner dialogue is transformed. As old outmoded programming dissolves, your original essence – peace – is gradually restored.

Take this practice with you throughout your day. Watch the breath with silent So Ham repetition while sitting, standing, eating, talking, bathing, etc. It will help you transcend upsets and setbacks, keep you in the present moment, cultivate witnessing awareness, and rebuild equanimity and grace.

A simple method of concentration, So Ham meditation is a powerful technique to dissolve stress and anxiety. Your body and mind will become very calm.

*Ham: pronounced hum