I think back to my grade school years and how, although I was interested in what was being taught, I was so easily distracted by the sound of a tapping pencil, creaking chair or bird singing outside. As we know, our minds are constantly drawn into many directions. We are being hit with millions if not billions of pieces of information at any minute and focusing on just one can seem like an impossibility.
Now, consider the last time you were in silence. What did you hear? One would hope the answer is "nothing," but it's most likely that you heard something. Perhaps a buzzing or high pitched ringing or maybe, just maybe your own internal "Aum."
Using sounds as part of our practice to find one-pointedness and mediation can be very helpful. Sounds can help us to become centered and to draw us inward. Of course, they can do the opposite, as well. The sound of screeching tires or an alarm can certainly draw you outside of yourself. In opposition, the sound of your own voice in a hum can draw you inward. A deep bass can connect you to your belly and your favorite song can rush in memories of old.
This month, as we focus on finding stillness in our asana practice, we will also use the sounds around us to help us draw inward. Even the pounding of the dancer's feet on the floor above offers the opportunity of practice to bring our attention inward. As your physical practice becomes more still, so shall your mind, breath and spirit.