This week, as I was sitting in the Yoga Nook garden between clients, I was filled with gratitude for all those who have helped keep the plants alive and added to the bounty with new shrubs and trees.
Light filtered in through the lacelike structure of the pepper tree leaves, creating a soft green hue. The scent of jasmine and pepper filled the air. In the distance, I could hear the roar of the freeway.
Suddenly a flutter of wings brought me back to the garden as a sparrow came to the fountain for a drink. Then I was aware of water trickling and listened to its music for a while, till I was drawn away again by the sound of the train as it blew its horn across Tapo St.
A mockingbird sitting in the branches above my head abruptly launched into joyful song, and I began to smile as I saw a rhythm in the sounds surrounding me. Then our neighbors arrived home and children’s voices were first loud, then soft as they emptied out of a vehicle and were ushered inside. Our resident cat strolled into my view, sat down and meowed to be fed.
Sounds were arriving like waves, first taking my attention away then bringing it back to the garden. I couldn’t help but draw a parallel between the idea of deep listening and meditation. The sound of life surrounds us, and directing our focus to what we hear in the present moment is a deeply grounding practice.
Listen right now in this moment. Notice how the brain likes to label sound. What if you just allowed sound to move through your awareness, becoming acutely aware of the quality of the sound without labeling it?
Sound changes all the time, each wave unique and rich with life. Can you let your awareness float on the waves of sound? No judgment or story – just sound.
If you catch yourself thinking, return to pure listening. Let the sound of life become a tool for spiritual practice.
Image credit: John Baer via Flickr (CC)