We have been talking about awareness – how mindfulness can be another name for awareness. Attention is another word for the quality of paying attention to what is going on NOW. An esteemed reader shared her mindfulness practice writing that on her walks she pays attention to 5 things she sees, 4 things she hears, 3 things she feels, 2 things she smells, and 1 thing she tastes.
Justin Stone (creator of Tai Chi Chih) asks us to pay attention to sounds. Right now I am aware of the dryer’s fairly loud tumbling sound, the subtle hum of the furnace fan, and the reassuring clicking of my keyboard keys.
Here are the complete instructions from Justin Stone:
“Listen but do not embroider the sounds.”
What do you make of his enigmatic instruction?
Personally, I had to read further in the book to see what he meant because the idea of “embroidering sound” intrigued me. Stone says it is not easy to listen to sound without embroidering it.
He writes that to not embroider sound demands our strict attention. That to not embroider sound, we will have to drop our egoistic self-centered concerns, forget our worries and memories, and turn ourselves over to the hearing organ, registering only what we actually hear.
This makes me think that the above report of what I was hearing, was embroidered sound.
Without embroidery, what I heard was the dryer, the fan, and my keys.
I can see how this feels more mindful. Not embroidering sounds leads towards real mindfulness.
Do you embroider sound? What do you think Stone was getting at? Please let me know in the comments section!