Mindfulness of Sounds Meditation
One of the simplest, most direct ways to connect with the present moment and further cultivate our awareness is to become aware of the many sounds that are constantly arising around us. Intentionally paying attention to the sounds filling our ears can not only help us to come back to the present but can also stabilize the mind and further refine our sense of hearing and deep listening.
Sit and pay close attention to the sounds arising around you.
- Settle into a comfortable position and become aware of your breath flowing in and out.
- When you are ready, shift your awareness to the sounds that are present in this moment.
- Without searching for sounds, let them come to you and fill your ears while simply hearing sounds near and far away.
- Notice any judgments or thoughts about the sounds and let them pass away.
- Notice if you find yourself trying to identify or label the sounds and instead focus on hearing the bare sounds themselves.
- Be aware that sounds arise and fade away, and notice if there are any spaces between sounds.
- When your mind wanders or fixates on a particular sound, gently return your attention to the flow of sounds occurring in the present moment.
- When you are finished, shift your attention back to your breathing and gradually open your eyes.
Awareness of sounds is one of the areas of focus cultivated when practicing mindfulness meditation and is found in various Buddhist traditions including Zen and Vipassana.
Some traditions teach a version of mindfulness of sounds by repeatedly ringing a meditation bell and sustaining their attention fully on the sound of each ringing of the bell.