Tonight I tried the Hear In option of "The Way of Thoughts and Emotions." Unlike last night's session, the premise actually is to focus on listening to the voices in your head! Or actually, it is not limited to voices, but any sounds within the mental domain as opposed to a physical, matter-vibration-based external sound.
I've listened to my mental chatter before, but, again, this has turned out to be a bit different.
Just like the previous Hear Out session, this Hear In session is supposed to be an active listening where you note when mental noises appear, disappear, and when all mental sound is vacant.
There's only one problem. In the Hear Out session, I was mentally saying the notations of the external sounds. In this Hear In session, my mind would get a little stuck in a mental echo-chamber or loop. I would mentally note "hear rest" to signify that I was not mentally hearing anything, but that in and of itself was then mentally hearing something! I am not sure if it was because my mind was trying to fill in the vacant space, or because I was trying to completely follow the instructions as I understood them, or a little of both, but at several times I ended up stringing together "hear rest, hear rest, hear rest, etc." into chains.
One part of this Hear In technique is that you are supposed to be listening with equanimity; that you don't really cling to or actively control any thought you may be having. Those "hear rest" chains were not quite allowing this to happen for me, so I had to make an adjustment mid-stream to merely observing when mental noises appear, disappear, and when all mental sound is vacant as opposed to formally "noting" those times. That really freed my mental-ears up to listen with more equanimity.
I'm often a task-focused individual, and apparently that was true even in this trial of meditation. I had already planned on posting about how the session went. So what mental thoughts did I most frequently have during this session? That's right. Thoughts about posting about the session. Too funny.
Other curious notes:
- I heard a little bit of a Sting song in my head, one I had heard last night
- thoughts seemed "anxious" to be initiated, but typically faded out very quickly
- I was surprised that no long monologues were spawned. I guess nothing's bothering me at the moment, but that's pretty common for me.
- The half-hour session flew by. Yesterday's Hear Out did not really seem long or short, but today's Hear In ended much sooner than what it felt like it should have.