Ukraine Emergency: Disasters Emergency Appeal -  Donate Now

The Sounds Around Us



Have you ever sat to think about the sounds around you and how they are affecting you?

When I first began my training in sound therapy, I learnt about the frequency of everything…from the secret sounds of the planets to the hum of electricity from a fridge. At one point I became so acutely aware of the frequency and effect of the sounds around me that I began to feel a little crazy. Becoming so sensitised to frequency made me aware of just how much input we are receiving. How much of this is helpful and how much is harmful? This is the question.

Let me run a list off the top of my head of the sounds that are affecting me right now as I sit under my duvet in Redwood Park Down Under….

·        Birds chirping – different types, near and far. (lots of them here!)

·        Distant traffic – cars, motorbikes, trucks, buses.

·        The hum of my computer

·        The sound of my breathing

·        The beating of my heart

·        The sound of my fingers tapping on the computer

·        The hum inside my head

·        The silent noise of my turning thoughts

·        The background hum of my room heater

·        The rustling of my duvet as I move my feet

·        The sound of saliva in my mouth as I swallow

·        The distant bark of a dog

·        My heater creaking

·        The patter of claws from my cat on the wooden floor outside


And this is before I step outside my door. What if I were in a shopping mall?

·        People talking – all different emotions. Happy,sad, angry, tired, bored, whiny

·        Children crying, laughing, playing

·        Coffee machines

·        Music from different shops

·        Glasses and plates clinking

·        Footsteps from different kinds of shoes etc. etc….

·        Hums from bright lights

·        Hums from fridges, ovens

·        Phones ringing

·        Announcements over the p.a.

·        Sounds of displays

·        Toys squeaking

·        Cash registers clinking

·        Plastic bags rustling

·        Sounds of escalators and lifts etc. etc…

Listening to these sounds can be a meditation. Just becoming aware of them and how they affect us is a step closer to some kind of awakening. What does this bring? For me, it is an awareness of the inner emotion that arises with the feeling of each sound falling on my ears and on my body. Some grate, some are neutral, and some are pleasurable, according to my own personal pleasure/displeasure radar.

I do this meditation a lot and what happens is that I become a little more free of the stress that I feel in such a space as a shopping mall where silence or just the sounds of nature are rare. In nature, I become more aware of the blessed language and rhythm of sound that is a part of all things.The distance I experience between me and the sounds is created by my desire for non-attachment. If I choose not to attach, my fear could be that I will not just lose the aggravation of the artificial sounds that grate on me, but that I may no longer experience ‘pleasure’ at the sounds I do like. However, this proves not to be true. My detachment from the pleasurable sounds brings a new dimension…a deeper experience of them beyond ‘pleasure’. Something even more delicious. A real connection….a sense of something larger, more connected than my small mind can conceive. But somehow my mind is now larger, and something is different. I feel a sense of oneness with everything, and with this comes a sense of responsibility…that I have something to contribute, that there is something that I care about. Imagine if this was taught to children and teens inschools!!!

I had a friend who made a point to listen to some new music at least once a week. They would sit in meditation/attention pose, and tune into the music. It was apparent, as I joined in, that this experience was fuller and more powerful than listening with my usual form of attention, which might be divided between washing the dishes, talking to a friend, or just thinking about all the things I have to do that day. To completely abandon the outside world and tune into the music is to honour the effort of the creator of the music, and to honour the delicious power of sound to heal, inspire, destroy,annoy, quiet, soothe, whatever… the soul.

So, to conclude this gentle rambling…I guess what I am trying to make a comment on is that sound affects us deeply, and there are many sounds around us that we might not choose or want to have in our sphere, but anyway, there they are. Noise pollution is a form of stress, and for me, the pollution is the artificial. However, with such large input of sound from the artificial, sometimes even natural sounds can become stressful. Noisy birds, waterfalls,etc. We are living in a world of sensual overload. Perhaps we could consider that when we are feeling stressed for no apparent reason. What our soul calls for is silence…and if we can’t find that silence without, then we need to find it within.

Kind blessings.






Posted: 29 Aug 2012 By: Tobias Kaye Tobias Kaye

Dear Karen
Thank you for this.
your words come with all the atmosphere of gentle attention that, as you say unravels the knots we form inside us in everyday life.
This exercise is valuable when applied to each of the senses. we are so sight focussed that we often do not notice any of the others beyond the instinctive fight/flight monitoring.
There is another level that you hint at in this article. the reactions that we have to things happen on many levels. When we begin to observe these reactions, going down through the levels we come, eventually to the forces within us that form the physical body, vessel of the conscious I AM.
In the sense of sight this is easily observable if we go beneath the thoughts that occur when we look at something we can notice the feelings that arise. these are deeper and softer, slightly less 'formed' though no less intense than the thoughts. we might notice that colour affects the way we feel where details of shape affected the way we think.
Going beneath these we find that the form of the thing we see dissolves and the play of light and dark becomes the thing that affects our deepest reactions.
It takes a quiet attention and may take a while before one can notice this but gazing steadily at one point within a bright image then gazing at a blank wall, again keeping the eyes steady, we can see an 'after image,' rise up from within the eye and appear on the blank wall. If given space and allowed to occur it will form light areas where there were dark ones, green where there was red, orange where there was blue, and so forth. From the deepest level of our formative forces we are re-acting to what comes in through our senses.
This deep inner reaction is what is forming us in every moment. sinking down into awareness of it makes space for that which creates us to become our creativity. Finding the three levels of our response to what reaches us through all our senses takes us deeper into what we truly are, makes us firmer in our becoming, releases in us the gifts we have to offer the world through the nature of our true being.
May the Peace within you be allowed to become what you are.
Tobias K.
August '12

Your basket contains:0 items