Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Meditation on Sound

The experience of sound during meditation practice can be both interesting and insightful. I used to think that if there was any unwanted noise during my practice that it was a "bad" experience. Now I welcome sound of all kinds into my practice. 

Sounds are events that arise, abide for a time, and then subside into stillness. They are always neutral events as well, carrying with them no agenda, malice, or forces of good. It is the mind that creates all of these attributes that we often apply to sounds. Even the act of identifying the sound is a coloration of mind.

In this way, we can see how the mind colors all the experiences we have, taking that which is essentially neutral, and making it into something good or bad; wanted or unwanted.

"The Saddest Noise, The Sweetest Noise" by Emily Dickinson:
The saddest noise, the sweetest noise,
The maddest noise that grows, --
The birds, they make it in the spring,
At night's delicious close.

Between the March and April line --
That magical frontier
Beyond which summer hesitates,
Almost too heavenly near.

It makes us think of all the dead
That sauntered with us here,
By separation's sorcery
Made cruelly more dear.

It makes us think of what we had,
And what we now deplore.
We almost wish those siren throats
Would go and sing no more.

An ear can break a human heart
As quickly as a spear,
We wish the ear had not a heart
So dangerously near.

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