The best gift we can to ourselves and others is the gift of listening. When we truly listen to ourselves, we trust our own wisdom and intuition. When we truly listen to others, we deepen our relations. When we respond rather than react, we are more apt to be calm and thoughtful. In this meditation, Karuna has us become aware of sounds either in our internal surroundings or external surroundings, without any judgement to the sounds themselves. Being open to sounds, without judgement, trains our mind to be in the present moment as well as strengthens our response to them rather than our reaction.
Sitting outside in an upright position, I began to notice sounds in my external surroundings. Chirping sounds of various pitch began to activate my stimuli. In my mind, I knew that these chirping sounds were of various birds, but I tried my hardest to just listen to the sounds rather than make a story out of them. In the distance, sounds of a different pitch and tone began to activate my stimuli. Again, in my mind I knew that these sounds were of dogs, but I tried to just listen to the sounds themselves rather than make a story out of them. Every so often, Karuna introduced a bell sound, giving me time to truly listen to how this sound began, stayed a while and then went away.
Training our mind in this way reminds us that all things come and go. Responding to our thoughts and emotions rather than reacting to them will increase our emotional intelligence. When we increase our emotional intelligence, we will begin to have more fruitful relationships with others.