Entries in listening (47)
Excerpt from "Finding Peace During Noisy Trips," by Stephanie Rosenbloom, The New York Times, Feb. 20, 2013:
"Denial of what’s going on just doesn’t work,” said Andy Puddicombe, who discusses the benefits of meditation in his book Get Some Headspace and on his Web site, Headspace.com. Attempting to ignore the loudmouth next to you by breathing deeply is what Mr. Puddicombe calls a classic meditation-related mistake — and one that’s likely to frustrate you even more as you struggle to focus on your breath instead of the noise. Besides, there’s not much you can do about a plane or train buzzing with sounds. What you can change, of course, is how you respond.
“The sound — that in itself isn’t the problem,” Mr. Puddicombe said. “The problem is the resistance in our mind.” In other words, don’t sit there fuming about the shouting child and his ineffectual parents. Mr. Puddicombe said your discomfort is not the shouting, it’s the gap between reality (the noisy child) and what you want the situation to be (quiet). What Mr. Puddicombe calls “mindfulness meditation” (essentially being in the present moment) can help bridge the space between reality and desire. “It’s letting go of what we want it to be,” he said, “and moving closer to acceptance of what is happening right now.” (Hint: this can also be applied to matters of work, health, love.)
How wonderfully sane. But how to do it?
First, simply acknowledge that you’re frustrated (in your head, not by lobbing a shoe). “When you look at resistance it starts to lose its intensity,” Mr. Puddicombe said. Then, listen to the sound. Don’t blame the noisemakers. Just listen to the sound.
“If you give that your full attention,” Mr. Puddicombe said, “eventually the mind will get bored of it.” He gave as an example being on an hourlong train ride next to someone with iPod music loud enough for you to hear. Your mind simply won’t stay focused on the music for an hour, Mr. Puddicombe said.
When listening to a noise, aim for “gentle acceptance.” Don’t worry about deep breathing. “Let go of the breath,” Mr. Puddicombe said. “We’re not talking about some sort of escapist trick of the mind.”
Beginners and skeptics may want to try his free daily meditation app, Headspace (on-the-go). It’s brief and includes instruction so you’re not alone with your subconscious and a didgeridoo. His simple mindfulness tips are seen by scores of passengers on Virgin Atlantic, which has a Headspace channel with videos about falling sleep, even meditation for kids.
"When you listen to any soundscape, a natural soundscape, you are listening to information that tells you about biology, about resource management , medicine, religion, natural history, architecture, literature, physics, and many, many others.
For instance, people have asked me why you do this. Well, partly because I suffer from a terrible case of ADHD. I've always had this as a kid. And I had it as an adult, and I'm not much into medication. So the only thing that calms me down is going out into the natural world and listening to these creatures.
And being quiet enough for long periods of time and just shutting up and listening to things. I can't rustle my clothes, I can't move around and shuffle my feet around. I've got to sit very quietly for long periods of time, and that's what this has taught me to do. So in terms of healing and a certain kind if medicine, that's one thing the soundscape does.
It also speaks to us about religion. For instance, it's the natural soundscape from which we acquire spirituality. That was the voice of the divine for us for so many years, while we lived closely connected to the natural world."
~ Dr. Bernie Krause, from "The Great Animal Orchestra," To the Best of Our Knowledge, Nov. 11, 2012
"The problem with listening, of course, is that we don't. There's too much noise going on in our heads, so we never hear anything. The inner conversation simply never stops. It can be our voice or whatever voices we want to supply, but it's a constant racket. In the same way we don't see, and in the same way we don't feel, we don't touch, we don't taste...The essential activity of listening requires at least a minimal point of attention. And that allows us to keep the flow of attention uninterrupted."
See also: "A Conversation with Philip Glass," Studio 360, September 14, 2012
Willsboro, New York, July 31, 2011
Perhaps the most important thing we bring to another person is the silence in us. Not the sort of silence that is filled with unspoken criticism or hard withdrawal. The sort of silence that is a place of refuge, of rest, of acceptance of someone as they are. We are all hungry for this other silence. It is hard to find. In its presence we can remember something beyond the moment, a strength on which to build a life. Silence is a place of great power and healing. Silence is God's lap.
Many things grow the silence in us, among them simply growing older.
We may then become more a refuge than a rescuer, a witness to the process of life and the wisdom of acceptance.
Taking refuge does not mean hiding from life. It means finding a place of strength, the capacity to live the life we have been given with greater courage and sometimes even with gratitude.
See also: The Capacity to Find the Hidden Light