I have, for as long as I can remember, been aware of the sounds things make underneath the regular sounds we pay attention to. In the middle of the night when I get up to blog, meditate, exercise, or whatever, I hear and find comfort in the familiar hum and occasional gurgling of the refrigerator. I know also the underlying electrical hum of the house as a whole – there’s a very faint buzz under the refrigerator that isn’t there when the electricity is disconnected. Outside, I can never hear this sort of faint ambience because the wind in the trees, insects, and birds are always up and at ’em.
It was about three weeks ago that I wrote up some life takeaways from bad doctors. In that post, I commented on the drilling-dentist-under-an-industrial-fan-sound that I heard accompanying a sudden increase in pain in my right ear. Since then, I completed a prescription of antibiotics and the pain is totally gone along with much of the sound… but not all.
I still hear a continual, high-pitched tone. It’s not that loud; when music is playing or I’m in nature I’m usually unaware of it. When things get quiet and still, though, it’s clear and definite. It occurred to me about two days ago that I shouldn’t just be rolling with it as I have been… that the tone is an occurrence that might provide a weird insight or at least a chance for me to become weirder. So of course I’ve pursued it- I don’t want them to take my certification of weirdness away.
As I go to sleep, I’ve been paying more attention to the tone. It’s perfect and steady; it doesn’t change at all in pitch or volume. It’s higher than the register I’m used to mentally making when I practice mantra meditation, but I’ve started to try to mentally reproduce the tone as I go to sleep. I can, with effort, and there’s a sort of resonance that happens when I do that’s very relaxing and conducive to a great night’s sleep.
Yesterday, during meditation I was practicing a half-lotus pose, which is not easy for me as I’m not very flexible and am prone to leg cramps. Somewhere past the half-hour mark, I noticed that the discomfort was a sort of tone. Like the tone I hear, but lower and of course not perceived audibly. Using my experiment with the hearing damage tone as a cue, I tried to reproduce the tone of the discomfort in my mind. Much more difficult, but whether through the distraction of the effort or because of something I’m on the cusp of knowing… it made the discomfort easier to experience passively and as merely a witness.
Today, I woke with a dehydration headache. It works for that too – in meditation I tried to discover the “tone” of the headache and to recreate it mentally, and when I rose from meditation the headache was much reduced (but not completely gone).
Is it all in my head? Well… of course, I’m talking about doing something mentally that seems to make mildly unpleasant or difficult things easier and even relaxing. I have no idea whether or not this is a “thing” – but I don’t really care, since of course there’s an element of exploration of self in meditation that surpasses all objectivism and cultural inheritance. That said, though, if you know something about this practice or try it yourself, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Hey, keep an ear open for me, will you?
Keep on keeping on,