Tat Tvam Asi is a common Sanskrit mantra that is used to express the relationship between the individual and the universe.
The phrase is used widely in Hindu traditions, and the idea is also frequent in many Buddhist teachings.
Tat Tvam Asi Meaning and Definition
Tat Tvam Asi is most often translated as: “I am that.”
This means that when you look at objects in the world, whether in the form of relationships with others or the physical objects and circumstances around you, you understand that everything you observe is an extension of yourself.
The world you witness is a mirror to your own consciousness, and the understanding of oneness begins with your understanding that you are the other, which you appear to be observing.
When you work with this mantra, you will begin to find it easier to practice loving kindness and compassion for others, and to observe the world from a new, higher perspective.
Alan Watts Explains: What Is Tat Tvam Asi?
In this video, Alan Watts reflects on the principles of Tat Tvam Asi and gives a lecture on the two sides of energy and how to begin to see unity and connection in the world around you. The video is set to beautiful background music to allow you to tune in and listen as in a soft, guided meditation.
Meditation and Sutra Statements
When working with mantras, one technique for improving your understanding of the phrase is to combine the mantra with a series of statements, or sutras, that help you to intuit the meaning of the mantra more clearly. Sutras help you to internalize the meaning of the mantra in order to evoke its power from a subconscious level.
In his book, Synchrodestiny Deepak Chopra discusses the importance of using sutras when working with mantras, and he offers the following statements to help you with the implementation of Tat Tvam Asi. In Chopra’s exercise, these statements are to be used on Day 2 of your practice, following your work with the mantra Aham Brahmasmi.
Read these statements slowly, pausing after each, and repeating the mantra: tat tvam asi.
- Imagine that your spirit is not only in you but in all other beings, and everything that is.
- Imagine that everybody is a reflection of yourself.
- Imagine that when you look at the universe you are looking at your mirror.
- Imagine that you see what others see.
- Imagine that you can feel what others feel.
- Imagine that you are the qualities you most admire in others.
- Imagine that others reflect the qualities you cherish in yourself.
- Imagine that you are a person in a hall of mirrors where you can see yourself for miles and every reflection you see is of yourself, but appears different.