Stilling the Mind with Sound

January 31, 2010

Sounds are around us always. You can close your eyes and block vision from affecting your mind as an outside stimulus, but how do you close your ears? When performing asanas or dhyana, choices can be made to include sounds or not. Even with the choice not to include sound, there will be sounds in our environment we have no control over. This contrast can be applied to your choice of sound to be considered. For example, I’ve made simple stereo recordings of waves crashing on a shore at night for the purpose of listening back when I was nowhere near a beautiful beach. This kind of sound is more universal than something like the sound of a piano or trumpet, and deep in our minds we have a closer connection with the sounds of the earth that have been there since before a piano or a trumpet was invented. The waves are soothing to my mind because I have learned through my experience with the beach to feel that way. Therefore, it is a good choice for me to include this facsimile of an outside stimulus to still my mind during meditation.

Music, in terms of what we buy to feel a certain way, doesn’t have to be the only kind of sound to consider or avoid when meditating or creating a mood. If your asanas are in need of outside motivation to push you through them, music that physically motivates will make it a positive experience for you. Or the sounds of birdsongs may have that affect on you. Everyone’s ear-brain is different because it is based on individual unique life experiences. Think about what soothes and motivates you in terms of available sound and ask yourself if you’re willing to incorporate that into your practice. You may surprise yourself.

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