Noticing sounds

Today after I did my body scan, I recognized that I have often paid attention to my body in meditation — to pain in all its varieties, to pleasure, my chakras, my energy body, electricity.

My sense of hearing has been neglected. I gave it attention today.

I heard nearly constant sound from nearby I-35. A low hum, punctuated by an occasional loud vehicle. I can’t see it, but I imagine the louder traffic sounds are from big trucks or motorcycles and the low hum from cars.

Then there’s the sound of the occasional car driving past my house on this residential street. It sounds closer — the direction is slightly different.

I heard a conversation. It was between two men speaking English, coming from next door near the street. Laughter, a cough, as punctuation.

Inside my house, the slight hiss of the gas stove in the hallway.

The sound of my cat’s feet padding up to me, and her purr.

Then there’s the internal sound I usually filter out — the ringing in my ears. It’s  not exactly ringing like a bell, though. It’s closer to the sound a cricket makes, but constant.

I don’t know what this sound is. Am I hearing my own body at work? Is it my blood pressure? Or is it some malfunction of hearing that comes with aging? I don’t remember hearing it when I was younger. When I first noticed it a few years ago, I felt annoyed about it, and now I’ve gotten used to it. I am curious about the source.

My attention wandered from one sound to another. At times I seemed to hear it all coming in, and then I would notice something I hadn’t noticed before. My breathing.

I noticed that it is difficult for my attention to become engaged in an internal dialogue when I am attending to external sounds.

Everything I heard during zazen were sounds I usually ignore. Background noise, insignificant. Today these sounds filled the space around me and inside me. They entered my ears and filled my attention. The sounds of life as it is.

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