A cleansing breath into stillness and acceptance. Though the desire to be moving through another place and another time is still strong. Oh, to be away from the thumping of my dog as she scratches at an itch or flea that causes the itch.
“Practice non judgmental awareness of the present moment“. Easy for you to say Internet mindfulness guru star. Yes, it is difficult sometime. That is why we begin by practicing small acceptances –– the gentle whir of the split heater moving warm air into the room for example. A gentle sound, unobtrusive with no particular tonality, melodic curve or rhythmic variation. A soft “pinkish” noise in between a hiss and a shush.
This sound is easy to accept because it is quiet, smooth and soft with a consistency that becomes unobtrusive. So you can begin practicing non judgmental awareness of the present moment with these soft, nearly unarticulated sounds that are closer to formlessness than they are to form.
Of course there is some form present in the sound of white, pink or brown noise. But the form is largely unshaped. There is the energy and near-random motion of air molecules that do not have the shape of vowels, consonants or musical notes. Nearly formless presence of energy.
Paying attention to soft noise, intentionally, is good training for paying attention to formless stillness, the formless stillness from which arises a constant stream of forms –– a rooster, the rustle of bed sheets and blankets as a sleeping partner moves..
Soft Noise –– an excellent place to begin. What at first passes for “a noise” becomes, with closer attention, far more varied and nuanced as the mind begins to notice the subtle shadings brought on by spectral shifts within the noise.
So contemplation (and more on contemplation another time) of soft noise teaches awareness of stillness and the multitude of potentiality that can arise from stillness.
With time, one can transfer this “listening to nothing in particular” to listening to the empty space between short duration impulse sounds. This gives one portable access to stillness within, through resonating to the stillness observed outside of ourselves.
The popularity of “noise machines” on Amazon shows us how deeply people yearn for stillness and with stillness, a natural falling into sleep. Hundreds of thousands of noise devices sold with no other purpose than to help mask intrusive noise and provide a background of near-stillness on which the mind can rest.
The breakthrough use of such devices occurs when the listener brings conscious attention to listenening attentively and, while doing so, to know they are listening. This is the use of soft noise listening as a means of awakening consciousness –– being aware of being aware.
Devoid of voice, devoid of the interrogative or exclamatory statements that so often trigger mental states both positive (attraction) and negative (derision or avoidance), the soft noise source is more easily accepted for what it is, rather than being rejected for what it is not.
Soft noise sources can be readily found, and observed with intent. Wind in trees, the broadband “hum” of distant traffic or the city street observed from the distance of the upper floors of a high rise building are all examples of soft noise that can teach us about stillness.
We could call this “soft noise meditation”. The intentional noticing and acceptance of sounds largely free from the modulations of any particular intelligence imparted by their makers.
Soft Noise, with its equal energy per octave, contains a distribution of all audible frequencies produced at the same time. In this way, soft noise resembles the infinite potentiality of pure stillness from which all form arises. Soft noise IS all frequencies … but they are not shaped into particular forms and made to carry the messages of speech, music or audible warnings.
How blessedly calming is it to intentionally observe soft noise, and feel the exclusion of human intent, human thought, human concept. Soft noise is comforting access to stillness itself.