So, hmmmm…. A Calm Mind

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Welcome to the second post in a series on meditation techniques and lessons.  You can read the first post here.  Meditation can be a powerful tool to help calm your mind and anxieties.  We hope you enjoy!

“So, hmm…”

My first meditation teacher gave me this entry into meditation.  I still use it regularly now.  After finding a comfortable seat and taking some big, full breaths to feel my body, I’m ready to enter into my mind.  Sometimes this is the last place I want to be.  It can be full of noise, loud with instant daily replays and to-do lists.  Especially if there is anything I can be planning.  My mind likes to put on the hats of “planner”, “organizer”, and “perfecter”.  Dangerous trio.

So, as I enter my mind through my breath, I start with the mantra of “So, hmm”. (Sounds like so hum)

With each inhale, I think “so” and with each exhale, “hmm”.

Like in a conversation with someone (or yourself), when you need a pause to think, or just a pause of silence.  So, hmm… I wonder…  I can’t even say the phrase without offering my mind a moment to pause.  And that is exactly how to use this phrase as you sit with your eyes closed and pay attention to your breath.

Inhale.  (So…)

Exhale.  (Hmm…)

Space.

I like to set a timer and then just follow this so hum meditation mantra, this phrase, through the rise and fall of my breath for the whole time.  Sometimes the phrase will slip away.  Sometimes I find myself jumping down a rabbit hole of other thoughts.  Whoops!  I just realize I’ve taken a detour and get back to the So Hmm.  Other times I find that the rhythm of my breath and these words overcoming my thoughts bring me to the complete stillness of meditation.  The pause to wonder becomes large and empty and I can be with myself, just as myself (none of those roles listed above).  And there is this moment of peace, bliss, contentment.

And then I realize that I’m distracted by thinking “OH!  This is IT!” and I’ve lost it!  So I begin back with the So Hmm…

The words, our breath, this back and forth from thought to stillness – are all linked in a cycle.  We go forth, we come back.  Maybe a little different, maybe a little changed.  Maybe with clarity that will offer up rewards as we take it into our day or our night.

What roles does your mind like to play?  What have you used to help you meditate?  Have you tried the so hum meditation mantra?

P.S.  For the philosophical roots of this mantra, check out this article on Yoga Journal!