Relationship between Breath, Sound and OM̐ in Meditation

Inside and outside

There are two breaths, the outer breath and the subtle inner breath which produce it. And there is outer speech and subtle mental speech from which it arises. By focusing our awareness on the outside breath and sound and combining them, we make ourselves aware of the Inner Breath and the Sound of Life.

They occur at the same time and in the same duration. By conforming to them, we conform ourselves to their original spirit. The more attention we pay to the breath and OM̐, the more subtle they become until they manifest themselves as mental acts, and ultimately consist of mind-material (chitta) itself.

Not “thing or object”

When we examine their nature, we see that the breath and sound OM̐ are not “like a thing or object”, but a process which has the power to draw us to the core point from which they arise: the individual soul itself whose nature is consciousness. In this way, the pure Self manifests and works its will, changing all levels of our existence.

Self and Supreme Self

There are many scriptural statements that OM̐ is Ourself or Atman, such as: ”

Self is a characteristic of the OM syllable. So the OM Syllable is Self ”(Mandukya Upanishad 1, 8).

Contemplate OM as Self (Mundaka Upanishad 2.2.3-6).

In the Kena Upanishad we also find:

“The self is the breath of the breath” (Kena Upanishad 1: 2) .

And in the Mundaka Upanishad (3: 1: 9):

The subtle self in a living and breathing body is realized in pure consciousness where there is no duality.

Beyond the Self is the Supreme Self – Brahman – and scripture tells us that OM is Brahman too.

OM is Brahman, the Ancient Being (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 5.1.1).

OM is the highest Brahman ”(Shvetashvatara Upanishad 1: 7).

OM is Brahman (Taittiriya Upanishad 1.8.1).

And they tell us the same thing about breath. Chandogya Upanishad (4.9.3):

Breath is a part of Brahman.

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 2.1.6) says this:

The being who is the breath within – he whom I contemplate as Brahman.… The one who breathes is You, who is in all.… The one who breathes is You, who is in all.… The breath is the abode of Brahman.


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