Tinnitus and long retreat

Tinnitus and long retreat Daniel Brottman 3/31/22 9:41 AM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat T DC 3/31/22 1:42 PM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Daniel Brottman 4/4/22 8:43 AM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat David V 4/1/22 8:52 AM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Daniel Brottman 4/4/22 8:44 AM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat David V 4/6/22 7:30 AM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Still Just James 4/3/22 9:38 AM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Daniel Brottman 4/4/22 9:08 AM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/5/22 4:06 AM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat John Smith 4/4/22 1:10 PM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Daniel Brottman 4/11/22 8:36 AM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Not two, not one 4/6/22 2:14 PM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/6/22 3:10 PM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Still Just James 4/9/22 12:19 PM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/9/22 2:22 PM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Will G 4/9/22 9:16 PM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Still Just James 4/9/22 10:01 PM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/10/22 3:32 AM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Still Just James 4/10/22 8:16 AM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Vicente Cardenas Cardenas 4/11/22 3:08 PM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Galen Omkar 4/13/22 1:16 AM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Arena Heidi 4/16/22 12:19 PM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/17/22 9:56 AM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Arena Heidi 4/17/22 11:31 AM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/17/22 12:08 PM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Arena Heidi 4/17/22 7:39 PM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/18/22 2:50 AM
RE: Tinnitus and long retreat Arena Heidi 4/18/22 7:16 PM
Daniel Brottman, modified 3 Months ago at 3/31/22 9:41 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/31/22 9:41 AM

Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 5 Join Date: 3/31/22 Recent Posts
Hey everyone,

Just wondering if anyone else out there has experience with both chronic tinnitus and extended retreat? Last November I went on my first 3-week retreat at IMS. I had noticed very faint tinnitus (for me, a very high pitched ringing in the left ear) before that, but quite intermittently and not frequently. Just a couple days before the end of the retreat, it suddenly became very noticeable and persistent. This caused me a lot of distress at the time, and I've had to learn how to make space around it and not be reactive to it, like any unpleasant vedana.

I'm signed up to attend the 3-month retreat at IMS this next September, and I'm really looking forward to it. I am apprehensive about this issue though, as I'm sure that so much meditation and so much silence will make the tinnitus really noticeable and kind of inescapable. So I'm just curious if anyone else has had this kind of experience and can share about it.
​​​​​​​
(Also, I know there's a whole school of practice using the nada sound / tinnitus sound as the meditation object; Ajahn Sumedho has written about it. I'm kind of afraid to try this to be honest. I heard Rob Burbea say in a talk that if people try this and then want to switch to using a different anchor, it can be difficult to switch away.)
T DC, modified 3 Months ago at 3/31/22 1:42 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/31/22 1:42 PM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 447 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
In my experience, tinnitus definitely appears worse the more you focus on it.  For that reason I find it bizarre that anyone would choose to practice "nada sound" concentration.  It would personally drive me nuts, and there are many just as ever present and in many ways more functional objects for meditation - the breath, bodily sensations, and their many varieties, etc.

At far as extended retreat or just meditation, if tinnitus becomes an issue maybe try focusing on a different object more strongly to get your mind off of it.  Breathing excersices can also reliably help to take your mind off of persistent ruminations as such.

Personally, I seem to have pretty significant tinnitus at times, but conciously avoiding focusing on it has worked fine.  Kind of like flying only happens when you stop thinking about flying, tinnitus suddenly improves when we cease to fixate on it.  ;)
David V, modified 3 Months ago at 4/1/22 8:52 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 4/1/22 8:52 AM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 3 Join Date: 4/1/22 Recent Posts
First, I should say I don't normally suffer from tinnitus.
But so far on every retreat I have found after a few days that I hear a constant high pitched sound.  
I asked several teachers about this and they all had a similar answer - it's nothing special, just a sign of good concentration. One of them said that this sound is probably there all the time but we are not aware of it because our usual level of concentration is not sufficient to hear it. 
I didn't use this sound as a primary meditation object, and it stayed in the background most of the time. Which can probably be more difficult if the meditator feels some aversion in relation to the sound. I would recommend to observe the aversion in such case. emoticon
(After the retreat the sound always disappeared within 2 days.)
Still Just James, modified 2 Months ago at 4/3/22 9:38 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/3/22 9:36 AM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/3/22 Recent Posts
Hello Daniel,

From my own experience, the high-pitched sound is a reverberation of the concentration of your focus. If you turn your attention to that sound, a move that is known as 'turning the hearing around', and concentrate on it, it will become shriller and louder. Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, said it is like a meter that gives your immediate feedback on the steadiness of your focus and the 'single-pointedness' of you concentration. This was related to me by Erik Pema Kunsang, Tulku Urgyen's senior student, in a private email.

In the Surangama Sutra, it says that 'turning the hearing around' is the best meditation support, and it is 'step 0' of the meditation practice of Avalokitasvara. Which is a little misleading because you only use the sound to 'turn the hearing around' and keep it turned around, while you do other things, starting (step 1) with meditating upon the meditator who listens.

In the Dzogchen tradition, the 'preliminary' practice, which the Yeshe Lama clearly states is the best and most amazing path of all paths to complete enlightenment (but only for those of the highest capability) is the "Yoga of the Supreme Sound of the Four Elements." What does "supreme" mean? The supreme "siddhi" gained through a meditative practice is complete enlightenment (according to the Yeshe Lama), thus, the "supreme sound" of the four elements is not everyday sounds in your external environment. However, today, teachers who have no understanding of what these sounds are, will tell you to just go sit by a waterfall, or sit by a campfire, etc. But that leaves your hearing in its normal stance, so you're just being a beachbum. And others, seeing the 'preliminary' designation of this practice, and ignoring, or not understanding what "highest capability" means, dismiss the practice and feel that they have shown how smart they are.

These element sounds are not the high-pitched sound you are hearing, so it is a different practice. Also, while that high-pitched sound is an 'anahata nada' it isn't one of the element sounds. In the Bindhu-Nada upanishad, there is a long list of sounds, all of which will bring you to actual merger with Brahma if you turn your hearing around and meditate on them, as explained in the Shri Vijnana Bhairava Tantra (practice 38, on the sound itself, and practice 114, on the 'palace' of the sound itself, i.e. the meditator). Interestingly, like in the Yeshe Lama, where using these sounds is declared to be the best of all meditative supports, those two practices (#38 & #114) are the only ones that will attain merger with Brahma.

The connection between the high-pitched sound and the element sounds is this: focusing on the high-pitched sound 'turns your hearing around' to the mind, of which it is an uncaused manifestation (as listening to the sound of a water is a caused manifestation). If your mind was a heat pump, the high-pitched sound is the noise it makes while heating or cooling your house. Really. If you plug your ears (thumbs, wax, or, best, industrial earplugs) and keep your hearing turned around, but allow your focus to become more diffused while paying attention to any subtle uncaused sounds that will suddenly (after some practice) become apparent to you (because they are always already there), you can latch on to one, and use that to great effect. All the way to the top floor.

Or you can listen to people who don't understand what these sounds are, and stay away from them.

And just as an aside, there is a prophecy that is in the collected writings of Jamyang Khyentse Choki Lodro, in which the Buddha says that the practice of Avalokitavara, of turning the hearing around, etc. is the best practice for us today (like the prophecy is for 2026 - 2032, according to one translator and the two Tibetan lamas working with him, and another Tibetan Tulku who published the prophecy, and as well, the head of the Jonang Kalachakra Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism who spoke about it in a teaching and told everyone to do what it says now. I am saying all this out because there is another translation by a young translator who knows better.

I hope this may be of use to yourself and others.
Daniel Brottman, modified 2 Months ago at 4/4/22 8:43 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/4/22 8:43 AM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 5 Join Date: 3/31/22 Recent Posts
Thanks T DC. I also am not attracted to the idea of using it as a meditation object, although I have heard from a teacher of mine that he knows folks who do this and love it. As for consciously avoiding focusing on it - it does fade in my awareness to some degree when I have a broad focus like my whole body and the breath, but I think especially in the context of the extended silence and deep samadhi of a long retreat, it will be pretty prominent in my experience. (It's already pretty prominent in my daily life!)
Daniel Brottman, modified 2 Months ago at 4/4/22 8:44 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/4/22 8:44 AM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 5 Join Date: 3/31/22 Recent Posts
Thanks David. That totally makes sense to me, and I appreciate hearing about your experience. What's different for me is the sound has not gone away at all since the retreat some 5 months ago haha.
Daniel Brottman, modified 2 Months ago at 4/4/22 9:08 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/4/22 9:08 AM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 5 Join Date: 3/31/22 Recent Posts
Hi James,

Thanks so much for your very interesting and detailed reply. My own practice is mostly within the Early Buddhist tradition, so I'm less well versed in Tibetan ideas. I don't doubt that the knowledge you share from your teachers and other sources is borne of true experience and years of practice by many dedicated yogis, for which I am quite thankful. I have doubts still however that what I am experiencing will be best understood through this lens. 

If the sound faded some days or weaks after leaving retreat, it would feel more likely to me that it was only a result of the samadhi in my mind. However, even 5 months later, the sound is just as present as ever, whether I'm 45 minutes into a sit, or totally distracted watching youtube. I also wonder - many many people have tinnitus just like mine who are not meditators at all. Surely they are not all experiencing the phenomenon you describe? I have been a classical musician for a long time now and have probably been around too many loud sounds, and a recent visit to the audiologist confirmed I have a little bit of hearing loss in the left ear in the very high frequencies - exactly where I experience the constant high pitched sound. I do think its onset was related to the deep samadhi I was in at the end of 3 weeks of practice, but given its persistence I still currently think it makes more sense to view it as, at least in part, the medical condition of tinnitus. 

I'm curious if you have any more thoughts, but regardless of if you have time to respond or not, I'm very grateful for the ideas and knowledge you shared with me, which I will keep in mind and continue to reflect on.
John Smith, modified 2 Months ago at 4/4/22 1:10 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/4/22 1:10 PM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 9 Join Date: 2/21/22 Recent Posts
My tinnitus started after I started to meditate and is still with me after few years pretty much all the time. It doesn't interfere with anything and I don't have any suffering around it, so I don't really think about it. 

I also noticed the better my concentration, the richer and more perceptible (not necessarily louder) the sound is.

What's causes suffering in your case? Is it painful, or psychologically unpleasant? I can imagine listening to music you don't like over and over again might cause suffering. If there's no pain (and no fear regarding hearing loss, since it's just a sign of concentration) maybe try to get curious about what exactly causes your stress?
thumbnail
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago at 4/5/22 4:06 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/5/22 4:06 AM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 6433 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
My experience with the nada sound is exactly that it is turning the hearing around. I have phrased it as turning it inside out, but it's more a collapse of the boundaries between inside and outside. I haven't mastered it in any way, only had glimpses, but from the glimpses there is no doubt in my mind that it is a powerful practice. Although based on misunderstandings of the experience one could experience some illusory similarities with tinnitus, it is not the same thing. Tinnitus is caused by damage. The nada sound is not. If you find the nada sound uncomfortable, try to follow it out from your head. You'll notice that it has no location, unless you assign one for it out of habit. The nada sound is nowhere and everywhere. It is spacious, boundless (and so are you). It only appears to be in your ear (or wherever you conceptualize it to be; you can move it around) if you maintain the illusion of separation. 
David V, modified 2 Months ago at 4/6/22 7:30 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/6/22 7:30 AM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 3 Join Date: 4/1/22 Recent Posts
I'm sorry to hear that. 
thumbnail
Not two, not one, modified 2 Months ago at 4/6/22 2:14 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/6/22 2:14 PM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 982 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
Just as a point of interest, there is also a Sufi tradition of meditating on the inner sound, and the instructions for bringing this to prominence are, somewhat prosaically, to stick your fingers in your ears!  

- Malcolm
thumbnail
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago at 4/6/22 3:10 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/6/22 3:10 PM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 6433 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Haha! Why would one need to do that? It is loud enough without such measures, and less disturbed by the pulse and other noices that come from sticking one's fingers in one's ears. 

Or... is this the kind of thing that not everybody can hear without some kind of cheating?

Or are we talking about two different kinds of inner sound? When I put my fingers in my ears, the noice that occurs has a much lower pitch and is grosser and murkier than what I think of as the nada sound. Also, it does not have that nimitta quality that "my" nada sound has. It's just noice, not concentration-related. 
Still Just James, modified 2 Months ago at 4/9/22 12:19 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/9/22 12:15 PM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/3/22 Recent Posts
There are many sorts of inner spontaneous sound. The high-pitched 'ringing' or squeal, tracks your focus and concentration, as you say. The others are subtle, and yes, it helps to seal your ears. And the reason you would use your fingers is if you don't have access to modern industrial earplugs. They work great. The fingers not so much.

You can suddenly find yourself listening to the elemental sounds (Earth, Water, Fire, Air/Wind) of the lower four chakras, the bell/cricket sounds of the throat chakra, or the sound of AUM at the crown. These aren't 'noise', they are the naturing of you. But putting the earplugs in your ears just raises the possibility that you will suddenly notice them. You have to be able to attenuate/shut down talking to yourself first, because it is in the pauses of silence between the arising of thoughts that they become evident. It will take some time to notice them. It's a matter of paying attention, but with diffuse awareness, not concentrated.

The benefits are: 1) Listening to the inner spontaneous sounds, especially the elemental sounds, protects you from being overwhelmed by intense emotional events in your life, even just stressful situations that you are faced with in your worklife. It's an effect of 'turning your hearing around'. 2) These elemental sounds are signposts to a direct experience of mind, and therefore, to realizing directly how reality works. It's kind of like they're calling out to you: "Hey! You! Over here. Look here. What do you see?" ('see' as in understand). 3) You begin to break out of your Wetiko mindset and begin to respond to your life in positive (for all) ways. And 4) It's the most efficient and effective way to complete enlightenment. (That last one is something I read, the rest are personal experiences AND what I've read).

That is why you need to do it.

Ema•Hō!
Having turned my hearing around 
          
[ “Great Responsiveness Meditation” ],
to the ever-present elemental sounds 
          
[ “Overview of The Inner Spontaneous Sound Practices - Part I
of intrinsic naturing within,
          
[ “Inherent Versus Intrinsic: Two Ways to Shape Our Thoughts About Reality” ]
and let go of the mirror-like character of awareness 
          
[ “Breaking The Mirror” ]
and all its phantasms and distortions,
I rest in the
coherent continuity of that which appears to be…   
          
[ “Why Awareness Will Never Be Found” ]
​​​​​​​…and suddenly, spontaneously, an epiphany arises:
          
[ “What is a Spiritual Insight and How Does it Occur? ]
I am not other than this naturing
          
[ “The Decisive Experience of Now” ]
and I dissolve, no longer delimited, distinct, nor other than,
this plenum of Responsive Naturing,
          [ "The Universal Creativity of Responsive Naturing versus The Chaos of Causal Determinism" ]
empty of selfish concerns,
so that only love remains, to benefit all.
thumbnail
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago at 4/9/22 2:22 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/9/22 2:22 PM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 6433 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Okay! That actually sounds really interesting. Thankyou for sharing so generously! 
Will G, modified 2 Months ago at 4/9/22 9:16 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/9/22 9:16 PM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 26 Join Date: 4/7/21 Recent Posts
I developed tinnitus a few months after my meditation practice became serious, and it stuck around for 6 months or so faintly but persistently. It wasn't quite loud enough to be distracting during the day but It was prominent enough during meditation and at night before bed. Lucky it faded and there is now no trace of it! If I had to guess I would attribute it to some kind of increase in signals in some
nerve (vagus?) which eventually gets habituated and adapts either physically or by learning to block out the sound again.
Still Just James, modified 2 Months ago at 4/9/22 10:01 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/9/22 10:01 PM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/3/22 Recent Posts
That would be a cause. These are uncaused sounds that appear in mind. When you empty your mind of thoughts (especially about causes) you can hear the elementals sounds of your own naturing (manifesting of your ontogenetic potential). But this naturing is responsive, not causal. So even emptying your mind of thoughts doesn't cause these sounds to appear, they are always already there, instead, it just opens the possibility that you will notice them.

Approximately 14% of the human population suffer from having heard that the sounds that they hear are a symptoms of an unknown disease. And the only way to diminsh the loudness of the sounds is to occupy your mind with something else. And it works! But hopefully we meditators understand what we are being told: "look away, look away," which makes me wonder how something we instigate with our attention and concentration are the symptoms of a disease (or even a vagus nerve).
thumbnail
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago at 4/10/22 3:32 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/10/22 3:32 AM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 6433 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
The one time the sound faded for me, I took measures to re-establish a good relationship with the elements, including standing with my feet in a lake at mid-winter, surrounded by ice and snow. Luckily it worked. emoticon 
Still Just James, modified 2 Months ago at 4/10/22 8:16 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/10/22 7:38 AM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/3/22 Recent Posts
If it helps anyone, here is a list of the names used in various traditions and by different individuals to indicate these uncaused, spontaneous, unending sounds which have been used in meditation/contemplative practices around the world and throughout history. This list is not complete.

This is the list of names (in alphabetical order):

“Abstract Sound” (see below: sawt-e-sarmad)
     - In “The Mysticism of Sound and Music,” by Hazrat Inayat Khan
“Astral Sound”
“Anāhata Nāda” (unstruck/uncaused sound)
     - in “The Practice of Nada Yoga,” by Baird Hersey
“Dharma Sound of the Diamond Samadhi,”
     - in “The Surangama Sutra” (The Buddhist Bible,” Edited by Dwight Goddard, pg 258)
“Chönyid kyi rangdra” or “Chos Nyid Kyi Rang Sgra” (natural/spontaneous sound of Dharmata)
     - in Tibetan Bardo teachings
"Dharmata Swayambhu Nada" (Self-arising Sound of the Dharmata)
     - in http://levekunst.com/a-gift-from-the-lady-in-the-brilliant-expance/
“Divine Tremoring”
     - in Sant Mat tradition
“Eternal Sound”
     - in “The Practice of Nada Yoga,” by Baird Hersey
“Holy Stream of Sound”
     - In Essene tradition (found in “The Teachings of the Elect”)
“Inner sacred sound”
“Inner Sound”
“Inner Spontaneous Sound”
     - StillJustJames
“Music of the Spheres”
     - In Pythagorean tradition (ancient Greek)
“Nada-Brahman”
“Omkara Dhvarni”
     - According to the shastras, Omkara dhvani was the first primordial sound that permeated the universe.“Primordial Sound”
“Resonance of Emptiness”
     - His Holiness the Dalai Lama, New York City, NY September 2005, from:
    http://www.lamayeshe.com/article/yoga-method-avalokiteshvara-buddha-compassion
“Sawt-e-sarmad”
     - in “The Mysticism of Sound,” Hazrat Inayat Khan, Shambhala Dragon Editions, 1996
“Sacred Sound”
“Shabda” and “Shabda Brahman”
“Sound of Creation”
“Sound of Silence”
     - in “Inner Listening — Meditation on the Sound of Silence,” by Ajahn Amaro
“Soundless Sound”
“Thunder of Silence”
“Transcendental Sound”
“Unborn Sound”
“Unstruck Sound”
“Vajra Sound”
     - Erik Pema Kunsang teaching on Avalokitasvara’s practice. First used by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
​​​​​​​“Word of God”
     - “Meditation can be a helpful tool in spiritual overcoming and growth. It involves concentrating one’s thoughts on the Word of God” (Psalms 119:99).
Daniel Brottman, modified 2 Months ago at 4/11/22 8:36 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/11/22 8:36 AM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 5 Join Date: 3/31/22 Recent Posts
Thanks John, appreciate hearing about your experience. I do not believe my experience is *only* a sign of concentration, what seems most likely to me is that it is tinnitus caused by some hearing loss, made more noticeable by concentration. It's not usually painful (maybe once or twice), but it is mostly psychological distress. I certainly do my best to investigate this suffering with kindness and curiosity, like any other. Thank you for the reminder.
Vicente Cardenas Cardenas, modified 2 Months ago at 4/11/22 3:08 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/11/22 3:08 PM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Post: 1 Join Date: 12/30/21 Recent Posts
Hello there. I've suffered from tinittus in my left ear for more than 3 years. Have you tried 90-150 mgs of Zinc? It helped me a lot along with vitamin C. Push comes to shove, you can get some ear drops that will make it dissapear for at least 2 weeks. I'm not sure if they sell them OTC in the states, one of them is called Dexne. Good luck
Galen Omkar, modified 2 Months ago at 4/13/22 1:16 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/13/22 1:16 AM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Post: 1 Join Date: 1/21/21 Recent Posts
The ringing was my first rope into the inner realms. It started showing up when I first began to meditate, and I quickly found it to be a powerful thing to work with. Yes it helped turn my hearing inside out, and it also helped bring my focus directly into my head, but that's just the beginning! The next move is a bit difficult to describe but I would essentially pressurize my out breath into the crown of my head, and do what felt like a "flexing" or tightening of my brain around my forhead and crown. This allowed me to change the pitch of the ringing. First I would practice making the pitch as high as I could - and it went high... Far beyond the range of hearing in the human ear. What really blew me away was a point where wavelength seemingly collapsed onto itself and pop! I would leave me body. I did less of lowering the pitch but I recall a few experiences of the low frequency filling my entire body. Reverberating I would just melt into the earth. Obviously early on I recognized the ringing wasn't some disease, it was an opening into other realms of consciouseness - like an unknown sound pouring through a crack in the door. My experience was that once stepping through enough times and learning to play with the sound the mind is able to resolve that ringing into a clear signal. i.e. the ringing quiets, and I don't rely on it to shift my state. However, those different states are still accessible and now closer in proximity to my normal waking state. 

Interestingly writing this has brought it back to my awareness. Over the years it comes and goes. I can definitely see how having an aversive relationship to it could turn it into quite the nusance. I hope you can befriend it and that the friendship serves you!



 
thumbnail
Arena Heidi, modified 2 Months ago at 4/16/22 12:19 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/16/22 12:08 PM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 58 Join Date: 4/16/22 Recent Posts
I appreciate the comments and knowledge written on this thread. I did not know about all these paths of using sound. I not familiar with the sound of the 4 elements or much of the traditional teachings described here. Since 2016, I have followed my own path as it unfolded from within. In 2008 I had a dream that foretold of my awakening. When I had the dream, I never expected to literally attain it. But it ended up playing out in waking life as the dream foretold. (Since 2002, I have had dreams in a series that have guided my inner life.) I have published the 2008 dream on my website along with a few other dreams. I intend to publish more. https://www.kindground.org

I meditate primarily lying down in bed before and after sleeping, and whenever I awaken during the night. When I was younger I spent time exploring various Buddhist traditions, but never did a long retreat or progressed beyond beginning stages. (Though meditation always felt familiar to me, like I had done it a lot in a past life.)

I have had experience with tinnitus and the nada sound. (I am borrowing the term nada sound from Linda, because I like the simplicity of it.) I will attempt to describe my experience with both.

My experience with tinnitus occurred this past January. I suddenly woke up one morning to no hearing in my right ear. My hearing loss persisted for about 2 weeks and gradually returned over another week or so. It was much more disorienting than I expected, to suddenly lose all hearing in one ear. My hearing in that ear was replaced with an enormous assortment of tinnitus sounds that shifted and changed over the days that followed. All normal waking life sounds were different also, as I was now only hearing them from one ear. I had a hard time identifying and locating the subtle sounds in my environment. I also had not been aware of the degree to which I relied on sound for feelings of safety.

Some of the tinnitus sounds seemed to open into voices or music from other dimensions. I wasn't sure if my mind was using this new cacophony of inner sound to imagine things, or if the sounds themselves were gateways into other realities that I normally didn't hear or attune to. I understood for the first time how tinnitus could be perceived as painful and difficult to cope with, and felt compassion for all who suffer from it. It was hard to fall asleep at night, because the sounds became especially loud when I lay down and was no longer distracted. I felt relieved when my hearing returned.

The nada sound is always with me now. When typing or doing quiet activities I experience it as a high pitch background hum that feels as if it originates outside of my body, surrounding me and penetrating through me. If I am not paying close attention to it, it could appear to have a spatial orientation, such as around my head and stronger to the right. And so I wonder if perhaps the nada sound merges with residual tinnitus in my right ear? When I am completely preoccupied or there are loud environmental sounds, I cannot hear the nada sound at all. However, it feels always immediately accessible to me, if I just pause and feel for it.

When I lie down and let go into the nada sound it expands into vastness of vibration. I feel it in my body more as vibration than sound. My body dissolves in it. The sound is one sound comprised of infinite hums. I feel as if I am experiencing the sound and vibration of creation. The sound vibration that creates and holds our reality together. To speak of it as sound seems superfluous. I feel humbled and inadequate trying to speak and write about it. It is so much more than sound, yet utterly indescribable. I derive great comfort from it, while the tinnitus sounds were cacophonous and jarring in comparison.
​​​​​​​
However, the tinnitus of a high pitched hum may actually be a pathway into connection with the nada sound as others have described above. My bout with hearing loss seemed like it strengthened my sensitivity and connection to the the nada sound once I regained hearing. From my experience, I think that using a simple tinnitus sound as an open gateway into the nada sound would be a most beneficial practice. I recommend learning from everything, instead of just accepting something with kindness (which is always a good practice) and labeling it a medical problem or unwelcome issue. I relate to much of what others have written in this thread. I hope that my experience may be of help to Daniel or someone else here.
thumbnail
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago at 4/17/22 9:56 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/17/22 9:56 AM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 6433 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
How beautifully described! It also resonates a lot with my experience. 

It can manifest in so many different ways (I recognized several of the sounds that StillJustJames mentioned in one of his articles). I also find that it's basically the same thing as energetic flow as can be felt in the body, and that it can "destill" itself into pure white light. It can draw you into jhanas if approached as a nimitta, and it can take you all the way to cessation. I love it.
thumbnail
Arena Heidi, modified 2 Months ago at 4/17/22 11:31 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/17/22 11:31 AM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 58 Join Date: 4/16/22 Recent Posts
Thanks Linda for your kind and welcoming response. I am glad that you could connect with what I wrote. I also resonate with what you wrote to the degree that I understood it. I confess that I am having language problems with all the terms used here. My path has been very different than the maps and stages written about on this website. Yet, I appreciate much of the discussion here and am trying to find a way to enter into it. Like entering a foreign country, I don't understand the language and customs here. But I know my experience is relevant and fits in somewhere in the middle of it all. Also, there seem to be very few women here. I wonder about that and am glad that you reached out to me. I've been thinking about starting a thread, but haven't been sure yet on how much to explain my path and introduce myself. Thank you again. I look forward to more conversation with you.
thumbnail
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago at 4/17/22 12:08 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/17/22 12:08 PM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 6433 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
I look forward to that too! emoticon

My apologies for the technical jargon! Plese feel free to ask whenever needed. Also, feel free to use your own wordings! You are obviously good both with words and with tuning into nuances of your experience. 

I actually consider myself somewhere on the non-binary spectrum. Being autistic, I feel like I was never fully socialized as a woman and never really understood the gendered expectations and why people follow them. I do warmly welcome more women here, though, and yeah, there aren't many of them/us here. Sometimes I think to myself that I can see why... but I do love this place. 

Since you are new here, I might as well appologize on behalf of us all for the non-functioning message section. It has been like that since the latest upgrade. I'm one of the moderators here, along with Chris Marti, and since there is also no moderator's panel (which I would have preferred to the mailing list system that is in place instead), the safest way to get in touch with me is to email me at linda@orulv.se AND post a comment in my practice log (Polly Ester's practice log, currently nr 14; usually one of the fairly most recent threads) to say that I need to check my inbox. 

I hope you will like it here! All the best wishes for your practice and wellbeing! 
thumbnail
Arena Heidi, modified 2 Months ago at 4/17/22 7:39 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/17/22 7:39 PM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 58 Join Date: 4/16/22 Recent Posts
Thanks Linda for your encouragement and reaching out, as well as your complements about my writing. Writing is really hard. And writing about inexpressible wordless things seems nearly impossible. Yet, it feels important to make an attempt nonetheless. And I try to be accurate and not err too much in one direction or another. (Is there a spell check here? I am not good with spelling.)

My apologies for making assumptions around you identifying as a woman and not asking which pronouns you prefer. I appreciate and admire how freely you talk about your non-binary orientation, autism, Tourette's, and health difficulties. I feel comfortable with you and feel good that you are one of the moderators here. I went and read the most recent page of your practice log and didn't understand most of it. But every so often someone said something that I understood and really resonated with. I appreciate the quality and degree of help that people offer each other here.

My own practice is very simple. It mostly consists of just surrendering to the unknown. Also, I get very clear guidance from within in multiple ways, so I don't feel a need for external advice. I mostly feel content and fulfilled with where I'm at, and how things steadily evolve in a deepening direction. Or at least the appearance of that! When I'm desiring something more, it feels like I'm not with myself and where I'm at. It always feels best to enjoy the process and ride instead of a far off destination. And always the reality of the destination is different than what I think anyhow.

I have enjoyed talking with you this little bit. A very good beginning here. So hopefully I will continue to like it and stick around. I have been mulling over what I may post about and feeling for some sort of clarity around it. Much gratitude and love for your warm welcome. Wishing you all the best with everything, too!
thumbnail
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago at 4/18/22 2:50 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/18/22 2:50 AM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 6433 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Oh, don't worry about it! <3. And thankyou for your kindness! 

Sorry, no spell check here apart from what you might have available on your own advices. Lots of non-native speakers/writers, though, so your spelling will probably not stand out in any way. 

Guidance from within is the best guidance, I'd say. The process knows the way. Tech and terminology nerdery is optional. This is a very tech nerdy place in general, but I hope you will bear with us. Diversity is most welcome. Your attunement to the guidance from within is refreshing and a welcome reminder. When my practice is at its best, it does itself. I resort to playing with tech during the more challenging phases when I have a hard time tuning into the guidance from within. It sounds like you are in a great place with your practice. How lovely! 
thumbnail
Arena Heidi, modified 2 Months ago at 4/18/22 7:16 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/18/22 7:16 PM

RE: Tinnitus and long retreat

Posts: 58 Join Date: 4/16/22 Recent Posts
Hi Linda. I love how you said: "The process knows the way." Such a great line that fits for many things in my lfe. Thank you for that. 

You seem like you have a lot of good external guidance from a wide range of sources. I didn't have that at all. I reached a point where all the external guidance that I had ended up failing and unintentionally harming me. In some instances, (such as a breathing practice) actually caused physical pain and health issues that I sustained for a very long time. I had no idea that the breathing was causing that as I felt good when I did it. Lots of hard lessons and feelings of betrayal forced me to go down my own path. I had a dream in 2008 that foretold of this happening. And how easy it would be once I made this decision. But of course I didn't understand the dream until after it all played out. 

I think my practice is in a good place because I completely let go of trying to attain anything or get anywhere with it. So that unexpected fruits showed up anyhow, makes it seem like a blessing and gift. But mostly there's this feeling like I finally got to and manifested what I came here for in this life. It's a feeling of inner success that isn't really based on any one particular thing. Just a feeling like my life is beginning to bear its first ripe fruit. I have no idea how it relates to paths of enlightenment in the way that's discussed here, and that feels perfectly okay. Some deep internal something has been fulfilled and that's more than enough. Do you feel satisfied with your life as whole? Also, is it okay that we've strayed from the topic on this thread? 

I woke up and starting writing something that I thought would be for a post here. But it turned into an article that I will share in other places. I'm not sure if what I write will fit in here. But I'm especially enjoying my connection with you. And that's ample emough reason to be here for now. 

Breadcrumb