An Introduction to Meditating on Sound (to be read prior to the meditation)
Our experience is informed by our sense doors. Putting our attention onto the contact at a particular sense door can be an interesting and calming way to meditate. It can be one’s primary focus of meditation or one of many points of interest that arise during a particular sit.
This is one way of using sound as a focus for meditation.
I invite you to sit still somewhere and just listen. It doesn’t matter how much noise you hear.
Just listen and notice what else happens. Just listen and be with what this process brings up.
If you can’t just listen, what replaces or interferes with listening? How does this change over time? What else is happening?
Where is the sound? It may be internal or external. Where does it seem like the sound is being picked up?
Are there any preferences or movements of mind within listening? Does the attention stay with sound or does it move?
How does the body, mind or feelings respond to certain sounds? Are certain sounds accompanied by visions, labels or emotions? Does this change?
While listening is happening, is anything being missed?
These are some questions that you may ask yourself during or after the sit, if you wish.
Sometimes, questions or interests arise during the sit. Sometimes it is helpful to ask them of yourself after the sit.
Sometimes the act of listening can be relaxing, calming or unifying for the heart-mind and points of interest may not arise much at all.
Using Sound as a focus for meditation (to be read during the meditation)
Construct your usual meditation posture. Check the base, the points of contact. Belly, spine, shoulders, hands, face. Ensure you feel balanced and at ease.
Take attention to the breath, or to a place of familiarity or stillness in the body.
Once there is a sense of ease and being settled, open the attention outward to sound.
Be there for all sounds.
Allow the sounds to be registered. One may focus on a particular sound, or on an overlay of many. You may pick up all sounds equally, or you may have preferences. There may be responses to the sounds.
Images, labels and sensations in the body may arise. Feelings or other responses may arise.
Open up to it all.
Just listen. And be with all that arises with listening.
The sound may be internal, external or a mix.
The attention may wander… and then after a time move back.
Sounds may land on your attention, or attention may reach out for sound.
There may be no sound... just listening.
Other occurrences may take over from sound.
Just be there, receiving.
After a time, move the attention back to the body or breath or place of sitting. Open your eyes and be in the room for a time before moving.
Reflect on the experience of being with sound.