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Mindfulness of Sound

5 Min
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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
11 reflections
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Too auiet
This doesn’t work well when you’re in a quiet environment.
Beginners Sounds
I️ like the idea of listening to a sound without attaching a story to it.
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
Noticing sounds
Taking in noise and sounds, and to then process them differently.
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.
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.
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