Earworms, music, and the Dark Night

Daniel M Ingram, modified 3 Years ago at 7/10/21 10:44 AM
Created 3 Years ago at 7/10/21 10:44 AM

Earworms, music, and the Dark Night

Posts: 3275 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Got an email about earworms, those tunes we get stuck in our heads, and liked what reply came, so thought I would post it here:

​​​​​​​Earworms, or loops of music, are remarkable objects!

They are like diligent mantras, saving us the trouble of having to work to repeat them.

They loop and can be irritating and happen on their own and can be observed: The Three Characteristics! Yay!

They show us powerfully the true nature of all sensate experience, but people don’t like these insights, so they reject them, as it so common on the path. Reality pours the gifts of insight in our laps, and we turn up our noses in disgust. A strange tragedy.

They can become remarkably interesting if we play with them, augment them, really listen to them, try to take them apart, dive into the fine details of the process of creating them, with intentions leading to momentary fragments of the earworm, with recognition of that fragment leading to the next intention to create the next one, demonstrating remarkable core insights about both the nature of “doing” and the nature of “observing” if we know to use this as a basis for awakening to the illusion of any stable, separate, non-causal “doer” or “knower”.

Also, finding them really irritating to the point that we would want to give up music has that ring of “disgust”, “desire for deliverance”, and “re-observation”, insight stages 8-10, which are also gifts, and people also don’t like.

Hope that helps!

Best wishes!

Jake Frankfurt Middenhall, modified 3 Years ago at 7/10/21 11:08 AM
Created 3 Years ago at 7/10/21 11:08 AM

RE: Earworms, music, and the Dark Night

Posts: 110 Join Date: 9/12/18 Recent Posts
Thank you very much! 
Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Years ago at 7/10/21 2:36 PM
Created 3 Years ago at 7/10/21 2:36 PM

RE: Earworms, music, and the Dark Night

Posts: 2928 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Here is a good earworm song by our very own DhO Collab Band emoticon 
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Years ago at 7/12/21 2:27 AM
Created 3 Years ago at 7/12/21 2:20 AM

RE: Earworms, music, and the Dark Night

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
This is great stuff. Thanks for the reminder and the tech description! I sometimes do this and find it useful, and then fall back to being annoyed again (gradually less often, though). I often use mantras to explore the subtle shifts between assuming being a doer and finding that it's just doing itself, but earworms are a goldmine in the sense that they are so available. I'll dig into it more systematically. 

I think what makes them annoying when that's the case is the delusion of being the doer, because that stance involves tensions that take efforts to maintain. We do a hell of a job to maintain the illusion, and the earworms threaten to undo all that job if we don't catch up with them constantly, and so we take on lots of extra effort. And of course, it gets extra annoying because the sensations of being a doer can't really catch up no matter how hard we try, and the more effort we put into catching up, the more "threatening" that gap becomes. 

Funny story: there was a fairly long time period earlier in my practice when the earworms would tell me which ñana I was in. The shift into equanimity was reliably accompanied by the soundtrack of Feeling groovy
Kaloyan Stefanov, modified 3 Years ago at 7/12/21 4:44 AM
Created 3 Years ago at 7/12/21 4:44 AM

RE: Earworms, music, and the Dark Night

Posts: 83 Join Date: 2/18/21 Recent Posts
Very well put, thanks for sharing! 3Cs obviously super obvious! Interestingly, thinking in Re-observation generally tends to have very earwrom-y type of feel. 

Also interstingly, when I hit my first DN I gave up on music for like almost 2 years...anyways emoticon
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Years ago at 7/14/21 2:28 PM
Created 3 Years ago at 7/14/21 4:02 AM

RE: Earworms, music, and the Dark Night

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Hey, I could use some qualified advice here. So, this is where I'm at (copied from my log):

Working with earworms is an excellent practice. It really pinpoints exactly that glitch that remains for me, one of them anyway. I get it that I'm not supposed to entirely stop the subvocalizing but just see it for what it is when it occurs, without falling into the mistake of therefore assuming ownership of the doing. And sometimes the subvocalizing seems to happen without that hook in it. However, it is prone to fall into a duality between duality and nonduality rather than remain a dance within a nondual framework where duality just occurs seamlessly without morphing back into that simple duality with all the hooks in it. 

I think I need to practice on going back and forth between that state where no subvocalizing occurs, knowing that it's a state and not the real thing, and the sticky version of reality, too clearly see that difference and the dependent origination of those shifts.

And I also need to go back and forth between the nondual nonduality and the nondual non-sticky duality - when it's accessible - to see the difference there, which is much subtler but crucial to really getting the "one taste".

And I need to go back and forth between the sticky duality and the non-sticky (non-dual) duality to make it fall into place.

I'm not sure if there's an optimal sequential order for how to go about this. I suspect that the most important thing for me is to be aware of which is which, to avoid misunderstandings. 

So I'm wondering if it is a good idea to just jump around with these triangulations or if I risk missing something important if I don't just patiently work with one of them until it's completely seen through.*

I'm also wondering if there's a whole set of different hooks to unravel rather than just one big one, and if so, what aspects I need to watch out for that might be easily overlooked.**


*) Actually, that question doesn't really need an answer, because it regulates itself when I just tune into what is going on. If I'm not ready to see something, I won't see it. If I need to see something more thoroughly before focusing on something else, that's how it manifests. No problem. 

**) Michael Taft already answered "Yes, there are many hooks to unravel. Each one you successfully unravel makes the next ones easier though". This means that the three categories I modelled not only aren’t discrete, but also involve multiple dimensions. That’s what I both suspected and hoped for. I find it reassuring, because it means that the possibilities of a less messy life are vaste. Also, lots of fascinating stuff to investigate, and probably also many different doors into it, which makes it flexible rather than dependent on one huge letting go, which is quite the relief for me.