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Mindfulness of Sound

3 Min
Meditation
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William James Davies, DCMT
Psychotherapist & Mindfulness Teacher
A really valuable practice that can reveal a great deal about how our minds work: Labelling, making judgments, creating stories, clinging to pleasant things and turning away from whatever it judges to be unpleasant. This may be why, in some traditions, Mindfulness of Sound is given almost the same prominence as Mindfulness of Breath. Note that the intention here is to be open to whatever sounds are present in the moment, rather than choosing a sound we like, such as music. Sounds of nature, sounds of a busy city, industrial noise, children playing, or even an air conditioning unit, all are perfect backdrops for this practice, none better than the other. Once you have some experience with the practice, perhaps you might choose to deliberately bring it to more challenging sounds, such as a neighbour’s car alarm, this can often be when the greatest transformations occur. 
From the community
21 reflections
P
Patty
Noise!
Living in a city, I am exposed to many sounds that, over the years, I have gotten used to and accepted. Pleasant sounds, particularly of birds, squirrels and other nonhumans are music to my ears. Unpleasant sounds like cars, machines and loud people are a part of our society and can be gotten used to. It's the noxious sounds of incessantly barking dogs or motor bikes screaming down the street late at night that are totally unacceptable. That leads me to be quite judgmental of those who allow/create it. Plus, it makes my face red and my hair stand on end. I'm not sure I could ever integrate and accept those sounds into my life.
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Susie
Mindfulness of Sound
This concept of hearing sound without attaching a "story" to it will be an interesting challenge for me. I like the idea because I feel like my brain is easily distracted and often on high alert. This mindfulness practice offers me another opportunity to relax my central nervous system and be more present to what ever I am doing.
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Anya
Aware without Concepts
Practicing being aware of sounds without labeling or utilizing concepts or stories for the sounds was completely new and a revelatory experience for me. I'm not particularly a feelings-driven person, but I honestly got chills at one point because the practice was so new and exciting for me.
B
Brandy
TIL
TIL that my mind subconsciously connects memories to sounds they make me tense and I feel a negativity and stress creep in when I associate those feelings. I also realized that the sound of a ticking clock is the most prominent sound I hear. It leave me wondering In which way and context that affects me most.
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Iana
Ouch
I learned that meditation does not work well if you have just recently gotten your flu shot because I have and it hurts like all of the cus words in existence. And yes, it's true. Thank you all for caring. Good-bye.
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Heidi
Too auiet
This doesn’t work well when you’re in a quiet environment.
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Hailey
Beginners Sounds
I️ like the idea of listening to a sound without attaching a story to it.
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Niarra
Removing the sound
When i listen to him say remove the sound in my mind my whole mind shut down on everything negative thing i was thinking every sad thoughts became an happy thought
A
Ali
Noticing sounds
Taking in noise and sounds, and to then process them differently.
K
Kelsey
A Fan and Headphones ANC into an Ocean Wave
I found this meditation quite interesting. Most mindfulness practices focus on a noting technique in which the meditator notices different sounds within a soundscape. This practice, however, tells me to let go of noting, and not to associate mental images or stories with the items I hear. It was neat because I heard my ceiling fan and the noise cancellation on my headphones. As the instructor pushed me to really be cognizant of the sounds, I realized that the two combined sounded like an ocean wave. I appreciate this new way of hearing sounds.
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Ariel
Letting go of labeling
Feeling so much more open and receptive to experiencing things as they are without labeling, defining, interpreting them following this calming, and lovely guided meditation on beginner’s mind and learning to explore the soundscape as sounds arise and without judgement.
K
Kimberly
Day 2
Allowing the mind to hear without judgment Work: not labeling what I hear
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Jorge
Los sonidos de la mente
Particularmente hoy mi mente estaba demasiado dispersa. Tan dispersa que, a pesar de razonar ciertas cosas, otra gran cantidad de situaciones se volvieron ruido. Y el ruido terminó por modificar el orden natural de la mente. Hoy no fue un día tan “presente”, sin embargo fue un día de valor.
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Valerie
Mind matters
I learned that I can use the sounds around me to help my mind focus and blotting out the sounds is calming.
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DorDor
This is the first time so many of us are
listening and commenting on the same meditation. It was really interesting seeing the different feelings this particular meditation brought up. I will be sad to loose your input.
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Debbie
Listening to the sounds
I was able to imagine being in a peaceful place with the cars in the distance sounding like the ocean and wind and briefly not worrying about anything.
K
Kayla
I felt very relaxed for the first time in days..
It takes a lot to listen. It is much harder than you may think to focus in on one sense. But it is something that I want to work on more.
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Justice
3/11/18
I still feel the same just a tiny bit better I noticed the sounds of the cars going by, my phone buzzing and the air vent making whistle noises as the air went through the cracks. I didn’t move one bit. Just focusing on the sounds around me calmed me down.
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Matthew
Sounds abound around!
Noticed most of the usual household sounds during this session, but mostly? With earbuds in, the instructor’s voice!🤪
M
Markus
Mindfulness of sound
I learned about how to listen and not label sound and just take it for what it is be aware and listen to it.
J
Jeanne
3/19/18
It’s amazing how just three minutes of mindful listening can quiet the mind.