The wind was moving amongst the huge trees. And, as you listened the sound of this moving through the trees gave the impression that one was sitting near a beach and listening to the waves crashing. With your eyes shut, your body still, as you just listened you heard the sound of the wind in the same way as you may have heard the sound of the waves. The loud whooshing inwards and then a slow and gradual ebbing away. You could also hear the pressure changing within your ears including a very slight ringing sound. How marvellous the ear is as it constantly attunes itself to the vibrations all around. Sometimes the pressure was loud and at other times quite low. The birds cawing up above. Speaking their own language, calling out to each other. Their language sends a tingle through you. And then, the drip, drip, drip of water into the toilet basin. It used to be a constant flow but since it had been fixed you could only hear this dripping when it was very quiet. In this quietness, you could hear the creaking in our home too. They were quick and you would ordinarily miss them.
When the sound is pleasant the mind becomes focused intently on it and it listens only for that. If another sound interrupts, it quickly diverts its attention back to the pleasing sound. It concentrates in this narrow way and strains to hear for it. Seeking and finding and listening and pleasure. A mind that seeks pleasure is a mind that is ill at ease without it. It needs to be fixated on pleasing sounds because the quick noises cause the mind to jump, panic and when the loud noises come they petrify it. You can feel the body tighten, the muscles contract when an unpleasant noise is heard.
The mind is also terrified of silence and quiet times. It imagines this space to be nothing. It is frightened of nothingness; imagined emptiness. It is afraid of its own impermanence for the mind is as impermanent as the sounds we hear. It comes and goes as do the noises. And so it constantly chatters. The continuous inner noise gives a sense of permanency, regardless of what that noise is about. The stream of thinking is mostly irrelevant but that doesn’t matter as long as there is noise; some chatter.
However, it was the complete stillness, silence and quietness within which grabbed my full attention. Inside was an entire world that vibrated and yet no noise. On occasion, a thought or a series of thoughts would arise and when no attempt to follow them, none whatsoever was made, they faded away. Like the whooshing sound of the waves and then the ebbing away into silence.
If you just persevere in sitting silently the concentration gives way under its own pressure for the strain of it is too much. And there is a release, a letting go. And suddenly, the sound levels appear to have been magnified and noises appear from all directions, near and far. The mind is no longer afraid of these numerous sounds. It is free to be choiceless in being aware of them, accepting and attending to whichever one comes along. Listening instantaneously is easy; listening is welcoming. You are no longer a lover confined to one particular sound. All around you the space expands and there is a multitude of happenings. There is no longer a terrifying emptiness. There is no longer an overwhelming impending doom of nothingness. Instead, within there is a change, not created by thoughts, not brought on by you and certainly not happening through any effort. There is a beauty to the movement of life and a deep feeling of being a part of it.
Try it . Just out of curiosity. Just a life’s experiment.
Today’s Writing was Inspired by The Book of Life by J.K.Krishnamurti.