May 14, 2013


Working the sounds of an excavator scraping rocks into your meditation

I always do some kind of Yoga Nidra practice before I get up in the mornings. In North Van this morning, today’s soundscape included an excavator slowly scraping its bucket  across  huge rocks on the building site about 100 m from where I’m staying. Now, normally these sorts of sounds are not experienced by the body as ‘attractive’ or, to use a technical term, euphonicand in days gone by before I learned how to relax better, my sleep was often disturbed by outside sounds, to the point of being woken up.

So with my body in its present state, allowing the sounds of the excavator scraping rocks (which are about as attractive as chalk across a blackboard) the experience was simply that: an experience, with no residue of aversion or irritation. As well, paying attention to the sounds and allowing the body to remain deeply relaxed changes the mind’s relationship to external sounds. This is a subtle and important refinement of the idea of non-attachment. I wanted to attach a link to these critical Buddhist term but all of the links that I found in a quick search confused detachment with non-attachment; these are not the same things at all.

Instead I found a decent definition of the Hindu equivalent which is normally rendered as Vairagya in Roman script. In the context of an excavator scraping rocks that idea of non-attachment is the simple allowing of the experience of the sound meeting the body, to continue this experience as long as it lasts, and letting go in the instant of its ending and—this is the absolutely fundamental part—not allowing any kind of story to form around the sound. One of my teachers once uttered what were for me pivotal words when he said, “Pain is a sensation; suffering is the story we tell ourselves about it”. If you are so inclined, the truth of this can be experienced the next time you hear the sound is that ordinarily would be irritating to you. Instead of asking yourself questions like,  “Why is that excavator working so early in the morning?”, simply dive into the direct experience of the sound itself.

I recorded a 22 minute relaxation script in a dance studio last night and I attach a link to it for you HERE.

If you would like to know a bit more about the content before clicking on the link, read my short post on forums made this morning HERE. I am attaching these links here because this particular script does contain a number of suggestions for the process of allowing sound to be simply experienced. If there is interest in this topic I can record a script which has a greater degree of specificity in this regard.

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