In MIDL Mindfulness Training 45/52 you develop your sensitivity to movements of attention towards the experience of the sense door of hearing. Learning to observe awareness of hearing creates a grounding for mindfulness within daily life and also the ability to observe attraction or aversion as they arise towards what is heard. This sensitivity allows you to soften into your relationship towards what is heard, deconditioning any habitual pattern of attraction or aversion through mindful non-participation. Submit Your Question
Your Question: I'm making good progress experiencing sounds and noises. But I wonder how do you deal with background voices? It's easy to get trapped and react with thinking.
Stephen Procter: Background voices are just sound, the understanding of the sound and turning them into words is just a function of perception. The commentary of thinking about these background voices is also just a sound or a sight. The interpretation is also a function of perception.
The purpose of using sound as a meditation object is to observe the mind playing with it. Observing the feeling that arises when we hear the sound, the perception, like or dislike, desire to hear or desire to not hear, the mental commentary about it and any emotional qualities that arise within the body. Within the hearing of a sound the whole of the MIDL meditation practice can be found.
To create the initial separation from the sound in MIDL first ground your awareness within the sensation of touch, next align your awareness with the change within the sound. Its changing, flowing nature of coming and going rather then the content of the sound itself. In this way you will be able to observe your mind turn the sound into a 'something'.
Your Question: At one point of this meditation I was confused. Why open the eyes before the ringing of the bell? I was in a much deeper state beforehand, and opening of my eyes pulled me away from it.
Stephen Procter: To only be able to be present with an experience while you are seated with eyes closed is to create a separateness between meditation and everyday life. Be careful not to confuse the peacefulness created through fixed concentration with the arising of wisdom. Wisdom is not generated by sitting with sound in a deeply concentrated state but by investigating why you are drawn out into the world and experience a collapse of your mindfulness and concentration when your eyes open.
When you hear the sound it is through one sense door - the ear. When you see a sight it is through another sense door - the eye. Your task during MIDL mindfulness meditation training is to notice the mind move between the Six Sense Doors and to be aware of your relationship towards the experiences at those doors. As I say in my classes "stay on the horses back", this is how you learn about horses, not by tying it to a post.
This is how wisdom is generated and also how seated mindfulness meditation is transferred into everyday life, not just sitting still on a cushion. It is with this ability to make every waking moment throughout your life your practice, that Mindfulness meditation matures and the separateness between seated meditation and daily life dissolves.