The rhythm, sights and sounds of birth are easily recognizable.
But what about the sounds of Mother Earth? How did She deliver me? Did my internal wailing and innate restlessness mimic Gaia’s vibration? Did I swell and roll and bubble to her surface? Or did I break through her layers of crust, passing from the ancient to the present?
I had so many questions.
That curiosity took me on a 2500-mile quest across the country, carrying only a small bag and the knowledge of the time, date and place of my birth.
We sat cross-legged in a small room on the second floor of the Chopra Center. This soft-spoken lady was about to reveal three words–my three words–based on a date, time and place I’d provided her. She handed me a piece of paper with the mantra and told me to keep it private. She explained that the seed mantra, the second of the three words, was derived from the position of the moon at the time of my birth.
My analytical brain clamped shut, relieved that it didn’t have to decipher or question it’s this word’s validity. This was my primordial sound. These words were mine; proof that Mother Earth’s labor for me was like no other, and confirmation of my uniqueness.
That’s all I needed to know.
We practiced the chant, “Om, [my seed mantra], Namah.” We said it aloud for a while in order to get comfortable with the soothing, slow, steady pace it required. Then we continued silently.
Group meditation started at 4:00. About 20 seekers and believers spread out comfortably in a room. Some of us sat on tapestry pillows, while others lay curled on the floor. Each of us carved out our own space, ready to dive into our uniqueness.
The instructor rang the bell and instructed our minds to quiet. “Now, think of your dharma, your purpose,” he instructed. I quietly chanted my three words. When my mind wandered, those words brought me back.
I went to a place of peace, a place with no sound, and no time; a river of awe that allowed me to dip my toes in and kick circles with my feet. I had been resting in the gap; the empty space you only know exists after you return from it, when you hear your thoughts again. The only way I knew that I’d traveled there was when the bell rang and I returned. It had been 30 minutes.
My mother recently made her return to the Earth, one of many of life’s changes in the 15 years since that trip. When I find myself straining to remember her laughter or the sound of her voice, I sit quietly and allow my mind to speak these three words that I’ve never shared with anyone, because I know these words will take me to the well of laughter and silence, antiquity and newness – back to my Mothers.
Image: Leonard Davis II