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An Old Vedic Trick

tat-tvam-asi-aum-i-you-sanskrit-mantra_designTat Tvam Asi is an ancient Vedic mantra, a worldview in a phrase, an existential cure of sorts. It means: “You are That.” It means (in my own interpretation) that you are both the mirror and the reflection of All That Is.

You see, in our day to day life, we are not particularly reflective: mirrors do the job of reflecting for us. But we ourselves forget that we too are mirrors.  Heck, the entire Universe is itself a self-reflecting mirror! Realize: there is not a single bubble of nothingness separating you from what you consider as “not you/not me.” You are seamlessly connected to All That Is.  You are one with this eternal, boundless self-reflecting mirror of the Universe.

I know it’s kinda heady and confusing but there is a lot of liberation in this way of thinking and seeing.  More specifically, I invite you to literally think of yourself as a mirror now and then.  The practice is to look at the so-called “outside” and actively remind yourself that you are looking at your own self, that you are looking at your own “inside,” that you are both the one looking and that which you are looking at.

And then you realize that your Self isn’t just yours. Your Self belongs to the entire Universe… which is you… that there is no self…

Yes, logic fails but something else emerges instead, something ineffable.


When one sees the world as oneself, one is at peace: no one shoots at their own reflection.


Related: The One Looking

Lotus Effect | Pavel Somov

image: “Tat Tvam Asi/I = You” by Pavel Somov (circa 2010)

An Old Vedic Trick

Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

Pavel Somov, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice and the author of 7 mindfulness-based self-help books. Several of his books have been translated into Chinese, Dutch & Portuguese. Somov is on the Advisory Board for the Mindfulness Project (London, UK). Somov has conducted numerous workshops on mindfulness-related topics and appeared on a number of radio programs. Somov's book website is and his practice website is

Marla Somova, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Pittsburgh, PA. She is the co-author of "Smoke Free Smoke Break" (2011).

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APA Reference
Somov, P. (2013). An Old Vedic Trick. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 21, 2019, from


Last updated: 18 Sep 2013
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