Want to stop rehearsing the future? Reviewing the past? Be here now! Wherever you are, there’s always sound upon which you can meditate … to focus, stablize, and calm the mind.
Find a seat where you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes. Close your mouth. Open your mind. Open your heart.
Relax. Let go. Give yourself a moment to let your body lead you into the presence of the now … by the sheer physical fact of its being here. Your mind may be elsewhere, but your body’s always precisely right here, right now.
Take a few, slow, full conscious breaths. Feel the freshness of the air in your nostrils, at your in-breath. Notice how out-breath is warmed by your body. Allow your breath to become just barely audible to yourself. Notice how in all the universe this is the closest of sounds you’ll ever hear. Your touchstone. A refuge.
Give yourself the gift of a smile. An inner smile, perhaps faintly visible at one corner of your lips, like Mona Lisa.
Throughout this meditation, stay with the hereness of what you’re hearing. If your mind wanders, let the sounds you hear remind you of this moment. It’s ok to wander off and come back — that’s what the mind does. By being aware of it, we can do less of it — and more of what counts. Being present to our lives. Intimate. Genuine.
Stay focused on the sound of your breathing. Notice too all the other sounds that come into consciousness. Right now. Listen to whatever comes to your ears. Be your ears. Only ears. If you like, you can imagine you have big ears, as of an elf.
Become aware of what’s the most distant sound right now, what’s in middle-range, what’s closer. Enjoy the spaciousness you can feel by hearing yourself situated in space.
That which is aware of sounds is called mind. Don’t try to change it. Just notice it. Notice how conscious awareness brings to your attention a vividness to sounds, perhaps not previously considered. Enjoy the flavors and music of all sound.
As you immerse yourself in the soundstream of the present moment, a special symphony, you might notice your mind has a tendency to judge (“Like this sound … don’t like that one”) … and to even narrate a story around each sensation (“The sound of that car reminds me of the trip I took to the doctor’s office, when … “). Take a kindly attitude towards your mind, but don’t cling. Notice the mind’s tendency to filter, and let the sounds dissolve that tendency, becoming more and more fully what they are. Sounds, in and of themselves.
Without being labeled as to what … traffic might sound like waves. The wind through the trees … might send a small shiver of pleasure across your skin. Without the labels and concepts with which the mind colors our experience, and in just experiencing life directly, we can tune in to the music of everyday life. Mind judges one kind of sound as music, another as noise: it’s all music. The music of being here now.
Imagine life — all of life, yours included, life itself — as a unique performance, and you’ve been given the best seats in the house. “Life, in B-natural.”
Staying with your sense of the spatial quality of sound — its nearness and farness from the sound of your breathing — imagine you’re sitting in a vivid soundscape without limits. At the center of a universe that has only centers, no perimeters, and you’re at the very heart of it all.
Notice too how the special symphony of life you’re hearing has different movements … coming and going. Interweaving. Nothing persisting beyond the moment. In the air, then gone. Unrepeatable. Each once, just so, then gone …
Another name for this unique symphony, at which you’re front-row center, besides Sounds of the Universe, and Life, is … the sound of nonself. All you hear is a part of that of which you are inextricably involved somehow. No puzzle. Enjoy the freedom of not being bound up in a small sense of self. Appreciate that you are also … this … all of this.
Then rest in the calm feeling of spaciousness and clarity and pleasure of the moment, without even concentrating on sound anymore. Enjoy the quiet time you’re experiencing (quiet yet being aware of so much rhythm and tone, register and pitch) as you move through the universe just by sitting still.
When it feels like you don’t want to stop, then you know you’re done.
Time to move on. Only … keep an ear out for encores. In fact, this soundscape never ceases. So don’t feel you have to be addicted to music, earbuds, nothing. Your two ears are here — organs of balance as well as location — and so are sounds (in their myriad forms). Sounds true? Sounds nice?
Whenever you like, just listen and let the surprise of sound slow your racing mind … gently returning you to your true home … the present moment … the only moment every available to us.
The present moment is a wonderful moment. Hear, hear !