(Thoughts from Pauline)
My Deep Listening Practice
Deep Listening, for me, comes from the synergy of my two Natures: Outer and Inner.
Outer Nature listening includes breaking our mental barrier of identification and seeking context. Outer nature is the workings of all of the surrounding universe, of which we are a part. When a bird sings, you notice your thoughts identifying the sound as “bird”, and see if you can learn to not identify the sound, but simply listen to the sound. Identification (“bird!”) and judgment (good sounds and bad sounds) are barriers to active listening, which helps us arrive at non-self: Presence.
Deep Listening to my Outer Nature opens me to be present to the whole space/time continuum of sound around me – encountering as much of the vastness and detail entering my sense of hearing as I can. Sounds’ trajectory, reverberation, absorption, and harmonic content are a facet of the moment. Listening and holding my attention to more than one sound; actively listening to a sound from beginning to through its end in silence. Very enjoyable!
Inner Nature listening includes becoming aware of all of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions at the same time. It is our body’s reaction to Outer Nature, our other senses, memories – and all of the impressions and traces of my current concerns of the day. As in Outer Nature listening, I strive to not name these feelings, or think about them – but just feel them. As my mind focuses on listening to my Outer Nature,
TUNE-UP (Listening out loud)
Exhale singing a note of your choice.
Listen to the sounds around you and match your next note to one of them.
On your next breath, make a note no-one else is making.
TWO CUPS FOR ALVIN
- Locate two coffee mugs, ideally ceramic or porcelain.
- Turn on a white noise generator and set it to a relatively loud level, but not so loud that it hurts your ears. If you do not have a physical one, there are many on the internet, for example: https://onlinetonegencrator.com/noise.html
- Take the two coffec mugs and place them over your ears, so that the white noise is very muted.
- Gradually create an opening between one of the cups against your head. You will start to perceive a tone.
- Now try the same thing with the other cup.
- You will notice that you can now perceive two tones depending how wide the opening is. A small opening will produce low tones, a wider opening will produce higher tones.
Too open, and you only hear white noise.
Now play a short duet for two cups that only you can hear.Spencer Topel, from “A Year of Deep Listening” Day 7 of 365. The Center for Deep Listening, June 18, 2022