There are sounds many of us find pleasant: smooth music, the turning of your key in your front door, an oven timer when cookies are freshly baked. Then there are noises that are less soothing than a Tibetan gong: ridiculous ringtones, dump trucks and street construction, loud voices (on social media). It can be hard to keep the inner peace.
It’s one thing to separate yourself from your environment in a deep meditation. It’s another to accept the noise, even a jarring one, and use it to soothe and lull you into a meditative state. Is it possible? Even the sound of an electric drill? You bet.
Start the next time you hear a sound that irks you.
Close your eyes if you can and straighten through your spine. Pay attention. Analyze the sound.
Does it have a pattern? If so, break down the pattern as you would break down music. Does it have rhythm? Can you listen to that rhythm?
If a rhythm is not possible to detect, detect the notes. Does the sound go within a range, from low to high? Hear the sound and fully understand it.
Then, pay attention to sounds that are nearer to you than that sound. It could be a voice, it could be footsteps, or the hum of your refrigerator. Let yourself hear those sounds with more clarity and more mindfulness.
Then take your bubble of sound and enlarge it beyond the sound that you first dealt with. Take in the whole audio experience and allow it to be a symphony. With time, see if you can allow sounds to blend into one giant sound.
Meditate on the idea. One sound.
Let yourself feel your ears hearing.
Open your eyes, allowing yourself to re-enter the full sensory world with more understanding of the part your listening plays in your consciousness.