As I walked along the sidewalk, chimes started ringing above my head. I glanced up at the breezeway ceiling, high above the sidewalk.
Welcome to week eight of “10 Weeks of Mindfulness at Work” where you’ll discover simple tips and techniques to enrich your day with mindfulness. I hope you find some inspiration!
Curiously, tiny chimes and other small wind instruments had been installed on the breezeway ceiling, evenly spaced along the way — part of an Art in Architecture Program.
I was grateful for the sound vibrations rippling through the air, as I was feeling a bit frazzled after driving in unexpected traffic. A perfect time to practice a sound meditation.
I shifted my focus to the vibrations of sound, rather than focusing on the thoughts in my busy mind. A feeling of calm washed over me — thankfully, since I was about to present a mindfulness program to the FDA on how to manage stress!
Sound meditations are a great way to manage stress — and you can practice this type of meditation in so many different ways. Take birds, for instance.
Last month, I was quoted in a Woman’s World article on listening to birds.
As I shared with the columnist, “When I ‘listen’ to the thoughts in my busy mind, depending on what those thoughts are, I can become stressed. This is because of the meaning I give the thoughts.”
“But when I shift my attention to listening to bird songs, I’m not judging the sounds of their songs or giving them a particular meaning. I’m just listening with an open attitude. I don’t have to ‘do’ anything. The sounds come and go on their own. I just listen to the songs and the sounds of silence between the songs.”
“Shifting attention from my busy mind to the sounds of bird songs is a practice I’ve come to appreciate over the years. And it’s a simple practice to do! Simply go outdoors and enjoy the gifts of the natural world.”
After posting about this article in my newsletter and on LinkedIn, I was surprised at how many people responded, saying listening to birds is a practice they’ve come to enjoy, as well.
Sound meditations are simple to practice. Just listen with an open, non-judgmental attitude.
Now, imagine taking this sort of listening and applying it to colleagues and clients. Rather than focusing on how they’ll respond or what you’ll say next (or what you’re going to eat for lunch!), bring your full attention to the person you’re talking to. Listening in this way helps build understanding, trust and strong relations.
WEEK EIGHT PRACTICE SUGGESTION: Practice listening with an open, non-judgmental attitude at work — and even at home with family and friends. They’ll likely appreciate the attention!
Be on the lookout for a 99¢ Kindle promotion July 20 – 25 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of “Meditation Illuminated: Simple Ways to Manage Your Busy Mind,” a step-by-step book for beginning meditators. Also available in paperback and audiobook.