The relationship between AUM and 108
The relationship between AUM and 108 has much to teach us in terms of how to conceptualize and expand consciousness.
A primary presentation of consciousness is articulated in the AUM symbol, via its three constituent sounds, A-U-M. Throughout the day we exist in the wake state, the first state of consciousness, represented by the A sound. The second state of consciousness is sleep, represented by the U sound. The third state of consciousness is known as deep sleep state, represented by the M sound. This state of consciousness is what we think of as ‘being in the Zone’. This state is when our abilities are sharpened and we are capable of great feats without great effort.
The fourth state is deep awakening, this is beyond ‘being in the Zone’. This state is said to be rarely attained, and is known as the point behind the veil in the AUM symbol.
The four states of consciousness in AUM are reflected in 108.
The Vibrational Quality of 108
108 is considered the most valuable number in numerology, metaphysics and symbolism. But why is 108 so significant?
Among Eastern theologies, there is said to be 108 emotions, 36 of the present, 36 of the past and 36 of the future. In Hinduism there are 108 names for every god. In Buddhism there are considered to be 108 paths to god, and in contrast, 108 defilements or sins. Mantras are chanted 108 times, and 108 sun salutations are performed by Yogis on solstices and equinoxes. In Sanskrit there are 54 letters, each with a masculine and feminine form, making 108 characters. 108 represents the divine trinity of time: 1 symbolizes the singularity of the present, 0 the nothingness of the past, and 8 the infinity of the future. And as a meditative tool, 108 describes a simple pathway to a meditative state, as our awareness moves from 1 (the present), to 0 (nothingness) to 8 (the infinite whole).
But these celebrations of 108 are just the tip of the theological iceberg.
The celestial orchestration of Earth, the Sun and our Moon is based on the divine proportional ratio of 108 – something that was appreciated by the ancients long before modern astronomers did the math. For instance, the diameter of the Earth at the equator is 7926 miles while the diameter of the Sun is about 108 times that: about 865,000. The average distance between the Earth and the Sun is 108 times the Sun’s diameter: 93,020,000 miles. The average distance from the Earth to the Moon is 238,800 miles, about 108 times the Moon’s diameter: 2180 miles. Through this astronomical, divine and miraculous positioning, 108 is symbolic of celestial order and perfection.
Importantly, as a metaphysical symbol, 108 also represents the three main types of energy and movement in Yoga, meditative movement, Tai Chi and martial arts. In Chinese martial arts, acupressure, as well as Indian fighting techniques, there 108 main pressure points, and numerous forms of Tai Chi have 108 movements. In fact, one of the first yoga systems to be brought to the west, The Five Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation, contains 108 breath coordinated movements.
Along with linear, circular, and spiral movement and energy, there is also an unsaid fourth aspect; that of stillness. Tai Chi may be the practice of flow and moving dynamically, but one of the most potent practices of Tai Chi and Chi Gung is stillness. This is most frequently done in The Universal Pillar meditation position. Twenty minutes of stillness is as profoundly empowering as twenty minutes of dynamic movement.
Thinking about AUM and 108, we can see that the wake state is the oneness. The sleep state is the nothingness. The deep sleep state is the infinite. And the deep awakening state is the unsaid, the silence.
What is Consciousness and What Prevents Us Deepening Our Conscious State?
Consciousness is perhaps best understood as the awareness of awareness. The level of awareness varies in accordance to the level of consciousness. Most are aware that they are seeing, but are they aware of their thinking? Are you aware of the thought processes taking place within? Are you aware what is behind them? The more we step back and observe our emotions and thoughts instead of simply being subject to them the more aware we become.
Carl Jung said, “A healthy man does not torture others – generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers.”
What is customary is often just that, and beyond tradition has no merit. The more unconscious folks are involved, the more tortuous a process may seem. It is typical that most people stop the development of their consciousness right around the time we face the mos peril and trauma, just when we are most incapable of dealing with it. When it is too painful to address and move on beyond a situation we will be stuck there consciously speaking. And yet, just being aware of this and even casually contemplating it can change everything.
Our minds are like great cities of thinking and feeling. And like the island of Manhattan, the avenues and streets of thinking and feelings intersect the islands of our minds. When we are on the block, the city looks one way, and from across the river it looks entirely different, and from above, seeing the whole, it is another thing entirely. Try to cross the river, or fly a plane, to become more aware of your entirety, of how your thoughts and feelings relate with the city, instead of simply seeing things from only your comfortable attitude or neighborhood.
May 20, 2020