Sounds are a key component of sitting meditation and have a lot to teach us about the impermanent, transitory nature of our experience and our tendency to label things in our external landscape according to how they affect us; namely as being pleasant, unpleasant or of no concern. In this practice the invitation is just to try and notice and experience sounds as sounds, to listen carefully to what arises with curiosity rather than judgement.
Several times a day, stop and just listen. Don’t scan for sounds; wait for them. Open your hearing 360 degrees. You might think of the difference between radar that goes out looking for something and a satellite dish with a wide range of pickup capacity that just sits in the backyard, waiting. Be a satellite dish. Stay turned on, but just wait. Listen to the obvious sounds, and the subtle sounds – in your body, in the building and outside. Listen with beginner’s mind, as if you had just landed from a foreign planet and did not know what was making those sounds. See if you can hear all the sounds as music being played just for you.
You may like to set alerts at specific times of day to remind you to stop and pay attention to sounds or even more simply, put a drawing of an ear in various places in your home and workplace just as a visual cue to help you to stop and bring yourself into the present moment with your hearing.
Really looking forward to hearing your comments and please, feel free to use this blog as a place where you can discuss any aspect of practice. I’d also love to hear from people who have not posted before (as well as our esteemed regular contributors of course!) Take the plunge, it’s not as scary as you might imagine.
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Image courtesy of Ars Electonica