The past week ushered in unusually warm temperatures, which urged most of us to—once and for all (until next November)—slide the storm windows aside in favor of breeze-welcoming screens. Along with this momentous move came the great luxury of tossing aside heavy blankets, and instead feeling the fresh touch of nighttime air.
And then: That moment when one awakes to the sound of chirping birds—a Springtime signature sound. This morning, I woke to the light, lilting melodies and became entranced: It was if the musical language of the birds dispelled any thought, concern, or plan. This soft entry into the day reminded me of a lovely meditation that I once created for myself, in order to create a soft sense of peace.
The idea of the meditation is to focus first on external ambient sounds: Count how many different “background” noises comprise the environment you inhabit. For example, upon awakening, I could hear the birds; distant and approaching cars; the clatter of an industrious bottle collector’s grocery cart on the sidewalk; and the low-grade hum of appliances in the next room.
Special note: This meditation takes on a very special quality if you have the opportunity to practice outside. A park, the grounds of a museum, the beach, the woods, your back yard… Wherever you feel content, safe, and solitary is a beautiful backdrop for this exercise. My favorite spot? Deep amidst the trees, stones, and grassy plots of the local cemetery.
Next, venture past those outer sounds to the barely discernible, yet ironically pervasive vibrational tone that underlies all other, more obvious sounds. Attune yourself to that energetic hum that permeates all environments, everywhere, at all times. Even when we perceive “silence,” there exists a reverberating tone, the vibration that exists forever and always: This is the Universal Aum. Note it, retrace how you honed in on individual environmental sounds to reveal it, and then hold its place in your inner ear.
Then, extend your sensory discernment exercise by drawing your attention to your own body’s continuous sounds. An easy way to do this is to plug or cover your ears: Immediately, the pumping flow of blood in your head will become clear. This is but one example of your body’s audible rhythms: Lie on your belly, lay your “good” ear to the floor, and listen carefully for the sound of your heart. And then, take yourself through each of your bodily functions: Know that even if you can not hear your digestive system working—although sometimes you can!—the acids and liquids are flowing and sounding within the caverns of your body.
As you clue in to the orchestrations of your internal environment, you can begin to reveal an inner hum similar to the Universal Aum. This awareness and sensitivity meditation now picks up an active “sorting” effect: With your inner eye, ear, and sensitivity simultaneously at play, find the Univesral Aum that tones outside of you, and quickly return to the awareness of your inner hum: Bat back and forth quickly, seeking to connect the inner tone with the environmental hum. As you begin to draw them more closely together, and as their vibrations begin to link up, you will have yoked your personal energy with that of the eternal Universe. In so doing, your other senses melt away; your thoughts cease to distract; and the calm of true connectedness ensues.