Listening Practice

16 Jan 2018 12:01 PM | Michael Kelberer (Administrator)

by Michael Kelberer

The basic practice

After settling into your meditation posture, begin to pay attention to the sounds arriving to your ears. You'll probably be focused on the loud, intense sounds at first, but gradually see if you can make room in your awareness for all the softer sounds as well. And sounds in the distance as well as sounds nearby. 

You'll probably notice right away that your mind has a natural tendency to immediately hijack the listening process. It might label the sounds you're hearing (sound of car driving by), and then attach a story of some kind (that driver is going really fast), express a preference (I wish the traffic were quieter), or bring forth a memory (reminds me of my old Volvo).

Simply notice these mental efforts as they occur, and realize that by capturing your awareness they probably didn't allow you to hear the next sounds that came up. See if you can gently return your awareness to the sounds themselves - their timber, their pitch, their volume. Pure sounds, without analysis or judgment.

As your mind relaxes you may find that your awareness of the soundscape becomes richer and more varied, that many seemingly simple sounds are in fact made up of many tiny sound effects occurring together.

Listening Meditation by Tim Burnett

On our website: Listening Meditation

This meditation is also on Insight Timer: search on Mindfulness Northwest

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