Early morning sounds in the city form an interesting rhythm. There is a buzz — just a little bit of noise, yet not as noisy as it is during the evening. Just enough sound to tell you that the city is waking up and you might want to get up too.
It’s 6.30 am. As I sit down to have my morning cup of coffee, I can hear an interesting mix of sounds from my balcony. I can hear the first metro of the day gliding smoothly on its tracks at a distance. A few vehicles are passing on the street below — an auto-rickshaw, a truck and a moped carrying a stack of newspapers. The diminishing sound of a departing vehicle and the amplifying sound of an arriving vehicle combines to form an interesting rhythm in my ears. An alarm has just went off in some apartment. The neighboring gym has started playing their ‘work out’ playlist and I can hear the faint thumping of EDM from its speakers.
None of these sounds are loud or disturbing. They reach my ears from a distance and amidst all of them, I can hear the clock next to my table ticking at a constant pace. I can also hear the morning birds chirping.
All these sounds, the distant ones and the near ones, merge into a single layer as they reach my ears. It’s like an audio track with a very lifelike texture to it.
The soundtrack is now being garnished with mild honking and the fluttering of leaves as a gust of wind passes by. A thought occurs to me — how would the soundtrack be if I were elsewhere, say in the countryside? How different is the early morning soundscape in the village?
Since I cannot move to a village right now, I do a quick search on YouTube — ‘Morning sounds in village’. There is a 1 min 55 sec clip that pops up. I play it. What I hear is a chorus performance of multiple birds, insects and a few animals (mainly a cow and a cock). The humming of the insects provides a base rhythm while the birds intersperse their high pitched cries like a band of spontaneous jazz singers. The cow’s mooing sounds like a rap singer trying too hard to impress (okay, I am exaggerating a bit here).
What I realize after hearing this clip is that the sounds of the village definitely have a natural appeal to them but somehow they can’t beat the buzz of life the city sounds have. The faint EDM beats with the fading in and fading out of passing vehicles combined with the birds chirping and trees fluttering — there is so much more to this soundtrack — a city waking up, the neighborhood coming to life, nature and urban lifestyle marrying each other. It sets the tone for my morning as my mind boots up for the day.
The purpose of this article is not draw a comparison between the city and the village. I was just curious to seek the differences between the two soundscapes. The actual reason why I am writing this is to share the benefits of this simple morning exercise — meditating on sound.
As I wake up every day, I spend a few minutes trying to become aware of the sounds around me. I listen to each sound arriving from all directions and distances and I focus on the texture and pattern of the resulting amalgamation of sounds. This not only helps me feel lively but also sets a positive start to my day. And here’s why I think you should try this out too -
- Start well — They say, your first actions in the morning usually shape the rest of your day. Hence, it is important to begin the day right. While the quote “All’s well that ends well” is true, ‘All’s well that starts well’ equally holds true.
- Awareness — Meditating on sound helps to be aware of your surroundings. Awareness of the mind helps keep negativity away. Because when you’re focusing on the awareness, you’re not worrying about anything. You’re not brooding over the past or anxious about the future, you’re in the present moment, listening to the sounds and thinking about them.
- Feel good — Once you develop a liking towards your surroundings, you’ll start loving yourself more. You’ll feel good about the place you live in and appreciate your neighborhood.
- Better than headphones — Listening to sounds around you is any day better than wearing headphones and blasting your eardrums with loud music. You can practice this exercise anytime and at any place, preferably a calm one — a park, by the lake, or your home.
- De-stress for free — Don’t we just love stuff that is free? This exercise is definitely better than spending loads of cash at expensive spas or plush lounges to de-stress yourself.
So, go ahead and give it a try. To start with, practice it in the morning before it gets too loud or just when you’re retiring for the day. Make a mental note of the soundscape, and the individual as well as the combined rhythm of the sounds. How do you feel when you listen to them?
Do share your thoughts and let me know what you think of this.