It is occasionally helpful to have a specific task in our meditation. While the general approach is to allow the mind to become naturally quiet, it can sometimes aid that process to focus on something as a way to anchor the mind, especially if one finds it particularly active in a given session.
We usually use the breath as this anchor but in addition to this, there are ways to use our surroundings as the anchor. After all, if one can develop the ability to focus on whatever is at hand as an object of meditative awareness, it opens the possibility of settling into the serene mind anywhere, anytime as needed. So let’s start with listening. The way I practice this is not an effort in concentration. That would be straining which is the opposite of what I want. No, the idea is to listen to everything happening around me with as quiet a mind as possible. Just simply notice the sounds without focusing on any one in particular.
Take notice of the distance of the sounds. Are they far away, a bit closer, even right beside me? I allow my attention to notice whatever sounds become apparent and take note of the coming and going of both the sounds and my attention on them. Above all, this is done without straining.
It is done quite naturally and with minimum effort. Simply noticing the sounds, their locations, their volume and qualities (sharp, dull, quick, lasting etc.). Notice the quality of the mind when this is done. If you can do this without strain and simply notice both the sounds, and the mind that is listening, you will discover something quite beautiful.
Feel free to comment on what you discover. Remember there is no correct or incorrect response. There is only what you actually find in this act of listening.
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