20 Jun Soundscape- A Brief Look At This Mindfulness Technique!
Close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you.
Notice what it is that you hear.
Is it the sound of traffic? Or is it the sound of birds? Or is there a combination of different sounds?
Try to immerse yourself in this soundscape of variety and depth.
Soundscape is just about being mindful or aware of the different sounds around us. It is about being aware of simple things happening around us. Very often we don’t stop to listen.
We don’t pay attention to the subtle sounds around us or even the most profound sound, due to our thoughts overtaking everything. Paying kind attention to the sounds around us will help cultivate our awareness day by day, and enjoy the simpler things in life. Not only does this relax us for a brief amount of time, but it also enriches our ability to lead a more mindful and harmonious life.
As I said before, thoughts are compelling. It can even be considered as immaterial and very open to interpretation. It’s quite the same for sounds. Some might find it unbearable to work in a noisy environment, some might be distracted but can manage to work within the gaps of silence and for a handful of people focus is very easy, noisy surroundings or not.
Why meditate on Sounds and Thoughts?
Sound and thoughts have 2 things in common: depth and variety.
When I first asked you to take a moment to listen to the sounds around you, what did you hear? At first, you might absorb the general noises that surround you. Then you might pick out individual bits like a particular voice, a door shutting, sirens or horns, an aeroplane overhead, etc.
Notice the variety of sounds above. Some sounds might have more presence and volume than others, therefore we see depth too! For example, if you’re in a quiet room, the most prominent sound might be your breath moving through your nostrils or the sound of your AC/ heater. There’s so much depth to sound that even presumed silence has sound.
This lack of silence, a constant soundscape, that is always changing, is just like your thoughts. Sounds come and go, it’s never still or silent. The nature of the waves and the wind is constant but always changing, it can drop and then abruptly rise, both are enormously potent and carry immense momentum. This closely resembles the nature of the mind.
Meditation helps to gradually reveal the similarities between sound and thought because if the ear is the organ that collects sounds, then the mind is the organ that collects thoughts. We associate concepts to sounds (laughter of children = playing, horns= cars) and it’s very difficult to live without immediately placing the corresponding concepts to corresponding sounds. Similarly, when situations provoke you, any flicker of thoughts will trigger a network of associations. We might feel powerful emotions just because a thought activated an avalanche of associations.
That’s why we need some spaciousness in the mind, and we have to be the one’s to create it even if we are encompassed in massive mental noise. Here’s two key elements on how to prevent your thoughts no matter how loud they shout:
Just as we receive sounds as they come and go, receive thoughts with all the emotions and associations they carry. Listen to the moment they appear and see how long they hang around for.
We have been habitually creating associations to sound. We then pursue what we like and ignore what we don’t like. Become aware of this action. Notice how thoughts and feelings can create a network of associations and stories and how we get sucked into negativity. Then gently return to simply receiving the sounds.
Sounds and thoughts really do appear out of nowhere. Even though they are random, they can trigger powerful emotions. So it’s very important to understand that we have no control over when they will make an ” appearance ” – all we can do is let it go. It will arise but we must not pay attention to them. Detaching from chattering noise is not the priority, the objective instead, is to simply watch yourself in the second person and be an observer. This is a great advantage that mindfulness brings. You begin to part take in the journey of how to quieten your inner ” loudness” and manage your thoughts.
Nehita is a mindfulness expert who writes extensively on lifestyle management, wellness and ways to lead a healthier and a happier life. She is a part of Aware’s expert team on meditation. She is also an avid artist who spends most her time dribbling amazing stories through art.