True Nature: Listening Within and Without
A Receptive Listening Meditation
As spring approaches and nature begins to stir, Lauren invites us to open up to the symphonies of our environment through a beautiful receptive listening meditation inspired by the work of Michael Stone:
Find a seat in nature. Anywhere will do. Get comfortable and steady your being. Close your eyes. Cultivate a balance of both softness and vitality in your body. Feel your breath.
Settle your attention upon the aperture of the ears and pay attention to the interplay of sounds arriving here. Open your sense of hearing with receptivity. Allow the ears to simply receive sound. Sounds come in and leave. Just listen. Hear how nature around you is unfolding in all its perfection.
Be aware of your calm breath in the background. Soften the muscles of your body. Receive your breath as you receive sounds. Your ears are wide open. Your ears are vessels of sound. Pay attention.
Hone your skill of receptive listening and feel the sounds simply as they are, as vibrations happening around you. Is it possible to listen below language? There's no need to create definition or stories with the sounds. Experience underneath understanding.
Keep coming back again and again to the raw material of sound and the sensations of permissive listening. Maintain a gentle body, a natural breath, a soft face and an open heart space. Your whole field of awareness is open to the interplay of sounds unfolding around and within you.
Notice the way your ears often reach toward sounds. Instead, soften your edges and allow vibrations to come to you. Surrender any tightness or holding to welcome sounds. It's as if your ears are microphones, collecting tones and bringing them into you.
You might sense a warmth in your ears. Perhaps you can feel the tiny hairs inside your ear canal being tickled by vibrations. What does it feel like inside your body as sounds are brought inward? How is your body influenced by the movement of songs around you? What do you feel?
Broaden your mindfulness of your entire body. Can you listen with every cell of your being? It's as if you had tiny ears on the pores of your skin. Now the surface of your skin is your organ of receptive listening. The entire ground of your skin is open to sense sounds. Your whole body is breathing and your whole body is listening. Your whole permeable being is open to the interplay of life around you.
Sounds come in and leave again and again. It's like the ripple effect of movement on a still body of water: each sound permeates you and creates subtle change. Yet you are steady, aware and open to receive the dance of life happening around you. Your living, breathing body is interacting with life around you all on its own. Stay with it, stay here and keep getting closer to the raw sensations of what is happening in the field of sound.
With this receptivity of listening, sense how your body merges with life around you. As you receive sound, your nature is affected by it. You become intertwined with the environment, a part of it. As you feel nature playing out inside of you through breath and sensation, you are also aware of the interplay between you and world. Revel in this merged experience where the boundaries of nature within and without dissolve.
For more receptive listening meditations - listen here!
Photos: Julia Corbett