Most of us are wearing our ear buds and we have barred ourselves from our surrounding sounds. What are we listening to? Music, self-improvement, YouTubes, spiritual discourses and other subjects. Are we practicing pratyahara by shutting ourselves from external sounds?
Our sense of sound is very powerful, it enables us to draw connections with speech. Sound is considered the ultimate source of the sense objects. It is said that the mind was attracted by the senses and the senses by the sense objects which are forms, tastes, smells and sounds. This resulted in the concept of space.
There are different types of sounds, audible, inaudible, pleasant, unpleasant, soft, loud noises and music.
Let us address the sounds we miss when we wear our ear pods or ear plugs.
There are so many different sounds the birds make. Chirping, rattling, whistling, trilling, croaking, drumming and cawing.
Animal sounds, the most common are the barking of dogs and mewing of cats. If we walk near a farm, we will hear the roosters crowing, goats and sheep baaing and bleating, cows mooing, horses neighing. If we pass a pond, we may hear frogs croaking and there are other animals like the squirrels which make a chittering sound. I have heard frogs in Borneo, saying, ‘Wat, wat, wat’ and it sounds like what.
Insect sounds are many, flies and bees buzzing. It depends on the species and it can be a high or low buzz. Mosquitoes make a whining sound; cicadas make a droning sound and crickets chirp.
Sounds of nature like the breeze rustling through the leaves, leaves falling on the ground, water flowing, thunder, lightning and rain.
Sounds of the civilisation
When we walk in a crowded area, we can hear people talking to each other. Sometimes they make a comment about another person and it can be very rude. They can be quarreling or they can be addressing terms of endearments to each other. Sounds of traffic, buses, cars, motor cycles, horns and the sound of wheels.
Then there are diverse sounds. Sounds of children playing in a park or school. Sounds of sports like tennis, football, etc. Sounds from a temple, mosque, or church bells. Sounds from an ambulance or fire engine.
Is it not surprising that the number of sounds one can hear and they are not always a disturbance. Yet we shut them off. We miss so much of life and isolate ourselves.
To be able to listen to the sounds and allow them to generate memories is a method of calming oneself. One of the best ways is to practice Antar Mouna, which means inner silence.
Practise 20 minutes Antar Mouna
One sits in a comfortable pose with eyes closed. One must remain still and listen to the closest sounds and the furthest sounds. One does not identify who or what is making the sound. One lets one’s sense of hearing operate like a radar beam. One can hear the sound of the clock ticking in the room, one can hear sound of the heater or fan. There are so many different sounds but one is not identifying them. One should practice for twenty minutes. What happens is that one has quietened one’s mind because one is not reacting to the sounds. Therefore, one is not thinking or adding to the sound of church bells or an ambulance.
Sounds play a very important role in our lives by wearing eye pods we are disconnecting with the beauty of life. I have given the sadhana of Antar Mouna but when we have our eyes open, we connect sound with sight and Antar Mouna gives us the gift of not awakening negative memories. It works both ways, it is essential to discard toxic memories and also allow new memories to rise like connecting with bird song or the patter of raindrops.
Aim Hrim Klim