Sound Awareness Meditation Technique

Meditation-MonkPaintingBlueListening Meditation Technique


This simple, yet profound meditation technique, does not belong to any particular religion or sect.  Its origins, generally, lie in the Eastern Philosophies and due to its effectiveness it has been adopted by various schools of meditation.

Tools Required:

  • An alarm clock, stop watch or other time device.


Primary Benefits: 

  • Builds choiceless awareness of the present moment.
  • Builds ability of detached observation – ability to let go.
  • Silences the mind of thoughts.
  • Provides insight into the workings of your mind.

Secondary Benefits: 

  • Develops the auditory system.
  • Promotes health and wellbeing.


Your auditory system will improve significantly by practicing this technique, so please protect your ears when exposing yourself to very loud places as you will be more susceptible to sound induced hearing damage or tinnitus (ringing in the ears).  If you feel the place is way too loud (like a dance club, rock concert, etc.) just use a common pair of ear plugs, they work fine.

Step-by-step Instructions:  Follow the step by step guided meditation below to practice this technique.

  • Sit in a comfortable cross legged position.  You may also lie on your back, sit on a chair or lean against a wall for this meditation.
  • Set your alarm or other time device for 20 minutes.
  • If sitting, elongate your spine upwards, lengthen your neck and subtly bring your chin back and in like a soldier at attention.  This will align the spine with the back of your head.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Rest your hands in any comfortable position.
  • Close your mouth, swallow your saliva creating a slight vacuum and place your tongue against the roof of your mouth.  After this point there should be absolutely no more movement of the body.  No fidgeting, scratching, shifting – nothing – be like you are frozen in time.
  • Take 5 deep, slow breaths though the nose.  This will oxygenate your blood and relax you.
  • Now bring you attention to your breath without trying to manipulate it further in any way, just become aware of its flow.  Spend a few minutes just observing it intimately till it starts to become regular and relaxed.
  • At this point turn your attention to the ambient sounds in the environment.  Slowly expand your awareness to the most distant sounds you can hear and start to pay close attention to them. Just listen to the actual sounds that are taking place without getting thinking involved as best you can.  If the sound is constant, just attend to it, if it rises and then dissolves, notice that.  The quality of your attention should be that of a detached witness – you are just standing apart and listening to the music of life.  If you find yourself lost in a mental story line, notice those thoughts and then gently return your attention to the sounds you were attending to. Spend some time, up to five minutes or so listening to the far away sounds and then slowly bring you attention to sounds closer and closer to you. Continue this till you are listening to the sound of your breath or other sound in very close proximity to you. Thats all there are to this simple, yet very effective meditation.

Hints and Tips:

  • You can practice this meditation anywhere, so take advantage and experiment with it in various areas of your life.
  • Try this meditation when it is raining, using the sound of the rain as the object of your careful attention.  It helped reveal to me the secret below.

Secret of Sound Awareness Meditation:

This meditation is certainly designed to bring you into the present and develop your power of detached observation, but the illusion that this meditation works to dissolve is the illusion that there is an inside and an outside.  Listen very, very carefully and you will realize that all sounds are only taking place inside you.  That everything is only taking place inside you.  You are everything.  Observer is the Observed.  Tat Vam Asi – Thou Art That.

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