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

"New Horizon" by ƝƖƇƠ ƬƖMΣ ™

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Meditation 2: Decentering

Go outside. Find somewhere comfortable to sit. While sitting, close your eyes and allow the muscles in your face to soften into a smile. Inhale slowly through your nostrils, briefly hold your breath, and exhale slowly through your mouth. As you sit, begin to listen to the sounds around you. You may hear languages, words you know and words you don’t know. You may hear the sounds of birds or other animals. You may hear the sounds of machines, low hums, reverberating pressure, the sounds of speed. In fact, you may hear nothing discernible at first, or simply the slight wisps of wind through the trees, or water carrying through the distance. Listen to these sounds without judgment. When associations rise in your thoughts, smile at them and let them gently scatter. As you sit, as you breathe, relax your ears with each exhalation. Allow even quieter sounds to take shape in your senses. They are there, and there, and there, too. With each exhalation, rest in sound’s thereness. Even sounds that come from your body — the beating of your heart, the sound of your breathing, your stomach rumbling and creaking — are not you, but have a presence, there, in your body. Listen for the sounds that you cannot hear, cellular and synaptic. As noisy thoughts pass through your meditation, imagine their actual silence. As your skin silently sheds itself, imagine its quiet falling to earth. Listen to all that remains; it is not you.

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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