Off the Mat Yoga

Can You See What I Hear? Opening My Ears for Meditation

I love to people-watch. A while ago I was sitting in a very busy place with lots of people swarming about. All were going on with their busy lives, all except me. I was waiting to do something or waiting on someone. I really can’t remember why I was waiting, but the point is that I had a chance to observe all these busy folks. I was observing the diversity of the people around me. There came a point however, when I noticed that I was no longer watching, but I was listening. I had my eyes closed and I was noticing the sounds around me. What I did next surprised me. I chose not to open my eyes. I just continued listening.

How I was listening surprised me even more. At first I listened to everything at once. From all directions I heard different sounds. My ears picked up conversations, dogs barking, trucks going by, small children giggling, and planes in the sky. I was thrilled that I could make out their differences while hearing them simultaneously. It reminded me of listening to an orchestra perform yet being able to differentiate the clarinet from the cello.

Next I found myself isolating the different sounds and conversations. I concentrated on hearing one voice and blocking all other sounds. Then I moved my concentration to a different voice or sound from a new location. I worked my way around 360 degrees. It was a really fun exercise. It reminded me of being in Shavasana and visualizing the breath going to my toes and then to my shins, and then upward and eventually reaching the crown of my head.

It was then the OMG moment hit. While my eyes were closed and I was listening, I was also meditating! At least I think I was. My breathing had relaxed. My heart rate had decreased, and I felt good.

Since that first day, I have done this a number of other times. But I have changed locations. I have closed my eyes and just listened in the woods. Hearing the wind, the birds, and the rustle of ground squirrels. I have listened on the edge of a lake. Hearing waves lapping the shore, children splashing, and the sound of a fishing bobber hit the surface of the water.

Each time I have come away having heard all the sounds together and then individually. I reminisce knowing that the orchestra of life around me is made up lots of individual sounds working together to make wonderful music.

How about you, yogis? Have you ever had this experience of listening meditation?

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1 Comment

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    June 6, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Yes, sure, though my practices have been a little more structured. There’s a whole book, which is pretty good, on the subject (defined more broadly): “The Practice of Nada Yoga” by Baird Hersey. And I sometimes practice nada yoga as per the “Hatha Yoga Pradipika”, though that is a little different (meditating while listening to “unstruck” inner sounds).

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