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

"New Horizon" by ƝƖƇƠ ƬƖMΣ ™

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Meditation 6: Missing Out

You may practice this meditation wherever you are, at any time, without any consequence. For later understanding, it might be useful to keep a pen and notebook on hand. You may be sitting, standing in line, waiting for a train, or perhaps, frighteningly, even driving or walking. You will get the impulse to pull out your phone or open your laptop to see what has been happening. This impulse has not always been — or if it has been, it has existed in a different, often healthier mode. You will feel a need to be up to date with an event, a conversation, or often with something far more ambiguous and undefinable. You will have a sense that you’re missing something. When this feeling comes, acknowledge it without judgment. (If you have a pen and notebook, write down the impulse before acting upon it.) Recognize its presence, even if its source remains ambiguous. Show kindness to it. Before acting upon it, breathe deeply. Exhaling, allow a gentle smile to form. Smile upon all your unknowing: all that you will not know in total, all that you believe that you know but truly do not know, and all that you will never know. Smile at your folly, at your perceived omniscience. Smile, too, at all you are missing, although you know not what it is exactly. Without knowing, continue breathing. In this moment, allow what is present to return to your senses. Above all, listen to what is there. In this ambience, continue breathing. There may already be much around you that were already missing out on. There will be precious sounds far more limited than those editions that already sold out while you were breathing. There will be precious life around you that remains present, but neglected and unthought. Whether or not you finally act on the impulse to check your phone or computer is, at this moment, inconsequential. At this moment, you will — only increasingly — be able to understand its presence. In fact, nothing was ever missing.

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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