2010s: Exercises in Listening Seven meditations to facilitate contemporary listening

"New Horizon" by ƝƖƇƠ ƬƖMΣ ™

We are celebrating the end of the decade through lists, essays, and mixes. Join us as we explore the music that helped define the decade for us. More from this series


Meditation 1: Laying Down

Wherever you are in this moment, whatever your posture, simply stop. To stop is to cut the thoughts wandering through your mind, to relax your focus and ease the tensions in your body. It may seem abrasive, and in this respect it is not in itself sustainable. But at the beginning, wherever you are and whatever you are, you must stop in order to proceed. To proceed, breathe in deeply through your nostrils, counting in a silent, slow rhythm. Hold your breath for a few seconds, relax your facial muscles into a soft smile, exhale slowly through your mouth. Your eyes may be open or closed, although you may find that it is easier, at first, to keep your eyes closed. Your eyes, it’s true, listen. Images projected inward create a kind of noise, inarticulate and scattered. With your eyes closed, it is easier to begin to hear. You have only your thoughts to quiet. As you breathe, lay your thoughts down. As they float up, gently lay them down again. Let them fall deeper with each exhalation. As they fall, you will become attuned to other senses. Begin listening. Without judgment, listen to the sounds around you. You may be in a room, or on the bus, or outside. You may be sitting up or lying down. Eventually, it will become easier to be anywhere. For now, just breathe and listen. You are amidst the source of all sounds, a tremendous gift.

We are celebrating the end of the decade through lists, essays, and mixes. Join us as we explore the music that helped define the decade for us. More from this series


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