When I arrived home from work the other day, I sighed to myself, “I am home” as I closed the front door and began taking off my work boots. Then the significance of those words hit me like a powerful mantra; I Am Home! Stop for a moment to consider the deeper levels of interpretation this statement carries. What does home mean to you? To me, home is Om, as well as a heartfelt place to rest your head.
Many years ago, I was home free in the woods, owning my own cabin and happy as a lark, until fire destroyed it all. Then divorce took the home we rebuilt, leaving me out in the world with no place to call home. I traveled to India and Thailand, where I always felt like an outsider watching people lead their lives, in their homes, while I just wished I had a home again. Upon returning to the States, I tried creating a new home with others in the Southwest but our attempts ultimately failed, leaving me homeless again. Dear friends let me live with them for awhile, but I longed for my own place. After more years of rental trailers and roommates, I ultimately ended up in prison for a felony DUI. This is where I spent over two years, which became my home – institutional home anyway – until my release. Then, much time was needed to create a new home. I had to put down roots, somewhere; somewhere, where I would feel comfortable with starting life over again. That takes time to find and feel out. Then slowly, the roots of acceptance descended downward, until I just knew this is where I was comfortable and supposed to be. Upon finding an affordable farm house with a picture postcard view of town and the surrounding valley, I settled into what I now call home. For nearly four years, I’ve lived with my three cats, Baba, Maya and Olive here. But this is just my physical home; my real home is Om.
I began practicing yoga, meditation and chanting mantras back in the early 1970s. And that’s when I got hip to Om. Two decades later, I was given the spiritual name of Hari Om, by Baba Hari Das on a yoga retreat on an island off the coast of Vancouver. I’ve had the Sanskrit symbol of Om around my neck on a rudraksha seed mala for four decades and an Om tattoo on my wrist since 1984 in Fiji Islands. I am Om, as you are too. Om, or Aum, is the basis of all sounds and the universal symbol-word for God. This sacred word is found in all religions. To the Christians, Egyptians, Greeks, and the Romans and Jews, it is Amen. To the Tibetans, it is Hum and for the Moslems, Amin. To me, it is home. When I was in prison, alone in my bunk, the only home I really had was right within me; it was the Presence that was always with me, observing but not judging anything and always at peace. This Presence is the Word spoken of in the Bible. It’s the all pervading sound emanating from the Holy Ghost, testifying to the Divine Presence in every atom of creation. When I’ve been real quiet in the woods on walks with my cats, I’ve heard the divine sound within me and seemingly emanating everywhere, like a faint chorus of millions of angels toning all notes in the spectrum from on high. I am home, to a place I’ve never left but only forgotten and then remembered again, when I listen. Om Namaha Shivaya
Singer/songwriter Rob Rideout is the award winning author of Still Singing, Somehow. He lives on a farm overlooking Colville, WA with his three cats Baba, Maya and Olive. He just released a second book of poetry, based on his song lyrics and has a CD of original songs scheduled for release May 2011. These songs of three decades are meant to accompany both books. Rob’s books can be viewed or purchased @ www.stillsingingsomehow.com He can be contacted there too. Be sure to check out his blog on the home page of his website.