What do you hear? Using sound in meditation

hear - Bright colorful autumn park with yellow and green trees

What do you hear? Using sound in meditation

Today, on an easy jog with Scarlet the pupperina, I focused on sound, specifically the autumn wind I could hear rustling through the trees. I had originally intended to focus on sadness,  confusion, and brooding feelings about a highly charged situation. I intended to allow some drama (my own and that of others) and my flashbright  anger over it to flood my senses to see what might resolve while my feet pounded the pavement.

But that wind caught my attention. I dropped my original plan and shifted my awareness to those leaves. I noticed my impulse to imagine them in my mind’s eye, to “see” them (but not really). Having noted that, I returned to pure sound.

As we jogged along, taking it easy, letting my body rest during what felt like a stressful time, I continued to let any sounds of the wind in the trees fill  my ears. And that’s what it felt like, the sound filled my ears. Mostly pleasant, a crackly crinkle sound as the leaves began to die in preparation for their annual shedding. Again, the image of dried leaves popped into my head. I acknowledged the visual image and let that thought pass on its own.

Soon, my ears again filled with the pure sound of leaves in wind on a fall day.

When the wind slowed, the sound grew faint. I did my best not to strain to hear it, but let it go as it naturally did, practicing equanimity around the quiet. When the wind died down completely, I noticed the space left by the quiet—the absence of sound and relative silence. When the wind started again, I noticed the wavelike quality of it coming and going, arising, doing its little sound dance, and passing away.

Note how I limited my object of meditation to one thing: the sound of the wind in the trees, more specifically, the sound of the wind in drying leaves, a very distinct sound and one I find pleasant. I also noticed impermanence, the changing of the sound. And I did my best to infuse what I was hearing, as well as my reaction to it, with equanimity. It was clear I preferred to hear the sound, but I noticed that and let that go, too. I returned to reality, to  what existed in that moment, including my own desire. And, as is often the case when I practice, the emotional flurry that had consumed me earlier calmed as I carried out this meditation.

I have included more than twenty “Your Turn” exercises in the book Make Every Move a Meditation.

This excerpt is from Make Every Move a Meditation by Nita Sweeney which is available now through Amazon and Mango Media.

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