The Swan, the mantra Hamso and I am that.

In Hindu Mythology the God Brahma, the god of creation, rides on the back of a swan. The transliteration for swan is Hamsa. The translation of Hamsa is “That I am.“

"Across the wide waters
something comes
floating- a slim
and delicate
ship, filled
with white flowers-....." Mary Oliver 

This season I have had a lot of fun with the “Ham-So” mantra as a means of embracing all of me. Embracing all of me has led to an expansion of my capacity for gratitude. The practice has brought me a lot  of  relief from the sense of separation that comes from thinking I am this but not that.  

This is not to say that I don’t practice discrimination. I am careful in what I say and what I do. I try to act and speak in a way that serves friends, family, the whole and myself. I also rigorously try, through mediation and yoga practices to funnel my thought habits onto the happy side of the scale.

If I were to describe my process I could compare my life to cultivating a garden full of perennials. My practices tend the fertile ground of my body and my mind. My garden is not perfect. It certainly has weeds. But they tend to be benign like dandelions, onion grass, and clover. Tending the earth keeps the kudzu from devouring everything.

"...It rearranges
the clouds of it's wings,
it trails
an elaborate webbed foot,
the color of charcoal.
Soon it will be here. 
Oh, what shall I do
when that poppy colored beak 
rests in my hand?...." Mary Oliver

In using the mantra “Hamso”, Ham is repeated on the inhale and So is repeated on the exhale. As the breath is followed, the mind becomes concentrated. As thoughts occur you can affirm them with “That (Inhale) I am ( Exhale)” As sensations arise you can affirm them with “That I am”. Do your best to embrace everything that arises if only for a single breath .You can alternate between the transliterations HamSo and the translation That I Am. This practice will foster feelings of acceptance and well being.

Eventually due to the circular nature of the breath Hamso will flip and become SoHam, I am (Inhale)that( Exhale). It is said that when the reversal happens you actually become the swan. According to Hindu philosophy the Swan, because it is Creations' vehicle, can travel  into outer space. When you become the swan you can go places mere mortal cannot go.

Finally the swan, with its long neck is often pictures as a union of Garuda, the eagle, and Naga, the snake. The eagle and the snake are enemies, Hamsa represents the union of opposites, the union of all things.

"....Oh, what will I do, what will I say, when those 
white wings
touch the shore?" Mary Oliver The Swan

Love your self, all of your self, and practice gratitude for that.

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