Are noises thoughts or feelings?

Are noises thoughts or feelings?

by Headspace » Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:36 pm


I am sometimes distracted during the meditation by noises/sounds, which might be internal (eg tummy rumbling!) or external (eg dog barking, siren etc.)

Does Andy consider those to be "thoughts" or "feelings" - since I am now up to resting with the feelings and bringing my attention back from the thoughts, I find myself in a dilemma!

Andy's Answer

In answer to your question, I'm assuming you're talking about your own stomach rumbling rather than mine, although if you listen carefully I'm sure you'll hear mine go sometimes too(!)

So in 'noting' thoughts and feelings, we are simply looking to put a little space between us (the observer) and the experience (the observed). Short term this is very helpful, as it is easier to experience a sense of calm and clarity. I'm not sure where you are up to in the Discovery Series, but I'm pretty sure at some stage I explain how you can bring this noting technique to external objects, beyond thoughts and feelings.

So, for example, if you suddenly realise you've been caught up listening to a siren for the last minute or so, then you can gently note 'hearing', acknowledging that there is nothing more than the process of hearing, before returning the focus to the breath.

It's important to remember though that we only need to do this when we realise we've been distracted. What happens more often is that there is an attempt to focus on the breath, alongside an awareness of the sound, and it feels as though the two things are almost competing with each other. In this instance, if the mind refuses to let go of the sound, allow it to go to the sound, but remain aware. So it is as if you replace the breath as the object of meditation with this sound. The same guidelines then apply, if the mind wanders, simply realise it and return to the sound. When you do this, the mind usually gets bored with the sound after a while and is quite keen to come back to the breath again. When this happens, simply replace the sound for the breath again.

Warm wishes, Andy
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