Day 11: Explore breath and sound
A mindfulness of sound meditation
LISTENING TO THE SILENCE
Being mindful of sounds is another way of training our attention to be where we want it to be.
Through this practice we explore how mindfulness can connect us more deeply to the environment around us and to the people in our lives.
Instead of relating to sounds around us as a distraction from our meditation, I invite you to try using sound as an anchor for your practice. This means that if you’re meditating and, say, your neighbour’s car alarm goes off, this repetitive beeping just becomes part of the meditation.
When you’re meditating and you hear a sound that grabs your attention, see if you can notice your reaction.
If the sound happens to be unpleasant and triggers an emotion such as irritation, practise allowing the irritation to be present, simply noticing this feeling rather than trying to change it.
In this way mindfulness meditation helps develop our frustration threshold, which in turn helps us find emotional balance. As American novelist and political activist Anne Lamott wisely wrote, ‘It’s good to do uncomfortable things. It’s weight training for life.’
The triggers we discover during our meditation practice often reflect where we get easily triggered in life.
If you can relate to feeling like you ‘can’t stand it’ when an unpleasant sound intrudes into your meditation, you could be suffering from what psychologist Albert Ellis called ‘can’t-stand-it-itis’, and no doubt if you reflect on your daily life, you may find that you have a tendency to get easily frustrated when things aren’t quite how you want them to be.
Through mindfulness, you can learn to let go more easily with the flow of life and that which you cannot control.
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