Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I Hear You.

Mindfulness, week 9.

Wrapping up this week's challenge, allowing yourself to be aware of all the sounds around you, enveloping you, existing outside your person... I sit on the couch listening to what I'm pretty sure is a rodent. I'll have to investigate further.

I have a lot of observations this week. I have been in relative silence, and spent a considerable amount of time saturated in sounds this past week. Here's what I noticed:
  • I'm deeply affected by sound quality. If I'm listening to something that is distorted or off-key, or out of place, that distracts me to a fault... I can't hear anything but imperfection. On Saturday, my friend got married in a church and the pianist played an out-of-tune baby grand. I couldn't concentrate for the overwhelming urge to stop the ugly noise coming from this beautiful instrument.
  • I'm sensitive to volume. I have a friend who is losing his hearing and listens to everything REALLY loud. I couldn't concentrate then either, but mostly because my fillings were vibrating. When he wasn't around, I found myself very aware of how loud my speakers/headphones/stereo were, and turning it down until I was happy with the volume, but also able to listen without body tension. It literally tenses me up to be around music that is too loud and somehow imperfect (see distortion).
  • Sound can alert us to our surroundings. I found a moth in the kitchen, and also this rodent in the walls because I was listening where I wouldn't have before. It's remarkable when we scan our environment and recognize things that are calling out to us.
  • It's painful. I literally have the sensation of pain with some noises, this afternoon... each time I would scrub the bathtub, I'd flinch a little because the racket of the scotch brite against the porcelain was making me recoil. I must take care not to harm myself with these noises if I can help it.
  • I use sound to disconnect. Both in a good and bad way. I like to check out, and use my headphones to do it. Last night, when I wanted to write in a busy place, I plugged into music to distract me. Sometimes this is bad... like when I'm walking in the grocery store and can't hear someone call my name because I'm isolating the world, while walking around in it.
  • Sounds have a comfort associated with their rhythm. It's the repeat that makes us calmed by sound. I like the noise of a wet street outside, it plugs me into my environment. Some people find this with traffic, or trains, or something that repeats outside their door in an environment they enjoy. The voice of your mother was the first thing you listened to on repeat, and it likely still has an effect on you. I experienced this firsthand talking to Mom this week.
  • I have a pair of shoes that have a terribly annoying squeak. I hate squeaks, long before mindfulness, I hated them. Basketball on TV, no way. Mushrooms squeaking against my teeth when I bite, get out. I can't have it on my favorite flip-flops too.
I hope you've been able to tune in a little to your environment this week. Listen carefully.

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