Being Sound

The difference between sound and noise is your perception of it. This is an idea from a Dharma talk by Suzuki Roshi.

Sound is all around us. Most sounds we are exposed to we ignore.  It is very difficult to actually hear silence.  Natalie Goldberg wrote about monks meditating with such focus that that they can hear the ash falling from the burning incense.  If you can hear ash falling from incense, then there is really no such thing as silence.  Silence is internal.  It is ignoring all the sound that your ears are translating for you. When we cannot ignore sounds and we do not like the sounds, they annoy us, those sounds become noise.  I suppose those monks could be annoyed by the noise of falling incense ash.

When we experience sound without judging the sound, that sound becomes our experience. The source of the vibration sets the air moving and our ear turns it into sound, our mind turns the sound into an opinion, which can turn a sound into noise.  With music, the difference between sound and noise is our taste.

Without our ego sorting sounds into categories, there is no noise. Any sound is capable of bringing us face to face with our Self. When we get beyond ourselves, there is only sound. Hear the bell. Ding-dong.


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