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10/16/13 10:20 AM
Hello everyone,

my name is Rafal and if you don't mind I have a question for you.
I've started meditating after reading Daniel's book, about 2 years ago. I did it on and off but now it starts to take a permanent place in my life.
For some time now I hear a sound in my head, something like "siiiiiiii..." It's always there when I look for it and every time I am relaxed (I can't tell if it was there before I started my practice). I've tried to focus on breath meditation, but somehow I feel like I should focus on this sound. Have you ever heard about this or know some practice involving this?

Edit: Also some info about meditation itself: when I meditate on breath, the sound is always the second thing in the background I focus on. It's realy hard to ignore it.
When concetrating on the sound all kind of weird shit start - pressure all over the head (different places, most common between the eyes) visualizations, sound dissapearing - loosing object (dont know what to do then), sound changing to many tunes at once, changing tones etc. I never feel "at ease" doing this.

Thank you,
Rafal

RE: inner sound
Answer
10/16/13 3:16 PM as a reply to Rafal K.
Hi Rafal,

some meditators use the inner sound as an anchor for awareness, just as you describe. Ajahn Sumedho has some talks about this. He calls it "sound of silence" meditation. (See somewhere in this PDF here for an example) Elsewhere I've seen it called nada meditation or nada yoga. Overall, I think using the sound as an object is a good idea, especially if you feel drawn to it. Also, the "weird shit" that happens when you focus on the sound indicates that there is potential insight to be gained by examining it. Keep exploring and let us know what happens!

Best wishes
Christian

RE: inner sound
Answer
10/17/13 3:30 AM as a reply to Christian Calamus.
Thank you. This is what I was looking for. The chapter about the sound of silence, describes exactly what I am having. Will read it further and try to work with it.

RE: inner sound
Answer
10/17/13 4:28 AM as a reply to Rafal K.
I accidentally stumbled into noting sound because I found my computer's fan distracting. In attending to it, I noticed a faint, high-pitched noise that I assumed was also coming out of the computer. Turns out it's totally in my head.

Fast-paced noting of this sound has been my primary on-the-cushion practice, and it was effective enough to land me (what I'm still tentatively assuming is) stream entry last month. I particularly like that it has a very clear pulse. I find it harder to detect subtle vibrations in, say, my breath. But sound has a beat. I even tried toying with sound generation tools to gradually increase the hz of a tone as I got more precise in my noting, but found this too finicky. The inner-sound seems to work well enough on its own.

When you experience all those unusual effects, just note them. Note "unease", "lost", "pressure", etc. Try to discover precisely what the lack of ease feels like: Is it in your body? Where? Is it mental confusion? Follow it. My general rule is that, assuming a trustworthy method (like noting), different or unusual things happening means progress, and progress is progress towards liberation, which is awesome.

RE: inner sound
Answer
10/21/13 4:36 AM as a reply to Rafal K.
Howdy Rafel,
these inner ear "sounds" have been studied by MIT. their results were that there are two major non-auditory tones which most people perceive when they are in a chamber where virtually no audio vibrations can enter.

the deeper of these two tones they correlate with the vibrations due to blood flow and the higher of the two tones they associate with a backgroung hum of "the nervous system".

these tones are very reliable for me in my meditation. i hear them even when not meditating by just moving my focus toward them.

from the vedic tradition to the tibetan these tones are recognized. the lower is generally understood to be "OM" and the higher to be "Shri".

they are different, at least for me, than tinnitus in that they are not seemingly stress related nor annoying but that MAY just be my relationship to them. in any case they don't intrude on my daily life unless i conciously move my mind toward them.

i hope this helps.

tom

ps: note that unease :-)

RE: inner sound
Answer
10/21/13 8:40 AM as a reply to tom moylan.
My 2 cents regarding the high pitch sound: not only it fluctuates like a wave, but you can notice higher harmonics on and off (which I "visualize" as tinny bright spots) and more interesting short stops (or maybe the sound shifts to a pitch out of the human range).

RE: inner sound
Answer
10/22/13 2:47 AM as a reply to Rafal K.
Hi Rafal

Rafal K:
For some time now I hear a sound in my head, something like "siiiiiiii..." It's always there when I look for it and every time I am relaxed (I can't tell if it was there before I started my practice). I've tried to focus on breath meditation, but somehow I feel like I should focus on this sound. Have you ever heard about this or know some practice involving this?


I get that sound, too. I sometimes use it as a meditation object. Like you described it so well, there is a lot to explore (vipassana!) and it can also be an object for pure concentration (samatha).

When concetrating on the sound all kind of weird shit start - pressure all over the head (different places, most common between the eyes) visualizations, sound dissapearing - loosing object (dont know what to do then), sound changing to many tunes at once, changing tones etc. I never feel "at ease" doing this.


Pressure in the head: with me at least, that's a sign I'm straining too hard in concentration. In case you've experimented with staring at a visual object, a "kasina", for tens of minutes, I bet you got similar effects, plus the physical effects of tears and, um, mucus from your nostrils, so there it's obvious when you're straining too hard. With the sound (or any concentration object) it's similar. Straining, tensing up "around" the object.

What I've discovered to work for me in that case is to deliberately relax around the object. In the case of concentrating on the sound leading to tension in the head, it's relaxing the brows, face, ears (if you can wiggle your ears, you can relax them), neck... One way to do this is to imagine these regions to be warm, heavy, comfortable, sinking into something soft and nice such as a pillow or a foam bath or, in the case of the face, a nice warm drizzle from a generous shower (if you like that), and so on.

Here are some old threads about the "inner sound" or "Nada" or whatever you want to call it:

"Nada" Soun

Persistent and Loud Ringing in Ears Since Vipassana Course

Something else you can do with the various experiences of the sound changing, losing it and so on: if you are into the maps&models, try to figure out which jhana/├▒ana these effects correnspond to! For example, "losing" the sound (or "place" where it is) might go into 3rd jhana or dissolution. With a meditation object as present and clear as the sound is to you, this game of "finding the landmarks" can be very useful and instructive. And fun!

I also like what another poster wrote about noting the sense of unease. Good practice!

Cheers,
Florian

RE: inner sound
Answer
10/22/13 6:51 AM as a reply to tom moylan.
Hi Tom Moylan,

these inner ear "sounds" have been studied by MIT. their results were that there are two major non-auditory tones which most people perceive when they are in a chamber where virtually no audio vibrations can enter.

the deeper of these two tones they correlate with the vibrations due to blood flow and the higher of the two tones they associate with a backgroung hum of "the nervous system".


Would you provide the link to the MIT study(ies)?

To me it's like a truck idling outside in the distance. I was just thinking of using it as an object of meditation. I was thinking it had to do with water in the body and I wondered if people who are irritated by something called "the Hum" --- well, if something has changed in the terrain around them which makes this bodily sound more audible.