Listening to the sounds of beauty

We experience beauty through all our senses, but one of the most powerful ways is through sound. Whether it’s a teenage girl’s giggle, the chorus of a favorite song or a bird in your backyard, the music of life surrounds us every day. To truly savor it, we just need to tune in. Here are a few ways to listen for the sounds of beauty daily.

Sink into the moment. Become fully present with the most mundane sounds—the hum of the clothes dryer, your best friend’s voice, or the patter of rain. You may find yourself feeling thankful for the soundtrack of your life. Take note of all the ways beauty and gratitude are intertwined.

Turn off sounds that don’t serve you. Does listening to the news inspire you…or does it make you feel angry or depressed? Is background noise from the TV or radio a help or a distraction? Does conversation make you feel connected, or does it feel like gossip? You have a choice about many of the sounds in your life, so choose what leads to joy, love and healing.

Step outside. Pay attention to sounds in nature that you haven’t heard before. Ask yourself a question and see if nature answers it for you.

Practice active listening. Often when we talk with others, we’re half listening…and half thinking about getting groceries, tomorrow’s To Do list, or what we’re going to say next. Try focusing totally on the person you’re talking to. Trust that everything outside the current moment will be taken care of so you can be fully present now. You’re likely to hear great beauty in the other person’s words that you might have missed.

Listen to your own inner wisdom. Close your eyes and take a deep breath, then see yourself in a giant rain forest. Imagine that whatever external noise you hear is way overhead, above the canopy of the trees. Let that canopy insulate you from the sound. Then sink into your body and your breath until you experience the voice within.

Seek out silence. If you haven’t experienced the treasure of complete silence in your life, it might seem daunting. What if you think about something upsetting? What if you end up facing something in yourself that causes you guilt or shame or hurt? It can take courage to fully embrace silence. But when you do so with the intention of joy, forgiveness, healing, or other forms of love, you will experience it as a sound of infinite beauty.

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