Meditating on sounds

Well the New Year has arrived and maybe some of us have made a resolution to refresh our meditation practice. The trouble is, we are not always very good at keeping our resolutions and by the time the winter is over, they are soon forgotten. Maybe all we need, sometimes, is to be reminded of our original intentions. So what I thought I would do in this blog, periodically, over the next twelve months, is offer some tips to help keep your practice alive. Perhaps these will be little mini-meditations that can be dropped into everyday life, or maybe more challenging suggestions. I don't know what will come to me yet, but I intend to have fun finding out.

Here's my first offering - meditation on sounds.

I like to do this in the early morning but any time is ok. The wonderful thing about it is that you don't have to do anything at all; sounds are everywhere and you don't need to search them out,  but you do need to be receptive to them.

Sit still or stand or lie down and close your eyes. Now just make yourself available to the sounds in the world around you. You don't pick or choose which ones to attend to, you accept them all. This means you don't scan for them, you just let them arrive. And they will, all by themselves; the rumble of a distant aircraft, the splashing of rain against the pavement, a pneumatic drill, magpies arguing in the trees, an electrical hum; it will all just arrive in your ears and you don't have to do a thing. One thing you will notice, however, is your tendency, almost immediately, to label these sounds and create some kind of story about them. OK, when that happens, we call it "thinking" and return to the sounds. Sometimes we notice how we find some sounds pleasant and others unpleasant. OK, acknowledge that, and return to your listening.

After a while, and it might take a bit of time for this to happen, you will find that your tendency to label sounds drops away and you become immersed in the sounds just as they are. Your tendency to prefer some sounds over others will disolve as well and eventually what you end up with is a sense of calm awareness. And it only takes a minute. That's the wonderful thing about this practice, it is available every second of every day.

I have adapted this practice from Sylvia Boorstein's book, "Don't Just Do Something, Sit There." I hope you will try it, regularly, and let's see how it works out for you.

Have a peaceful and mindful year ahead, everyone. Until next month, keep breathing!

Donald MurrayComment