Audio Assisted Meditation or Self-Hypnosis?
Recently I was speaking to a friend who said he thought our take on nature recordings, and the self-hypnotic state they can induce, was akin to audio assisted meditation. Well, kinda-sorta.
When thinking about conventional meditation I have a tendency to picture someone with eyes closed sitting cross-legged while relaxing their arms. Sometimes the meditation involves repeating a mantra and/or visualizing a setting. Other types of meditation involves controlled breathing.
One of the goals of meditation is to release the brain of it's inherent daily distractions and stress.
I began practicing meditation in the mid 1970's. Transcendental Meditation in particular. Being a young man with a short attention span I soon lost interest as my thoughts turned toward blues-rock music. When my insomnia began in the mid 1980's I returned briefly to meditation but found I could not get past my ringing ears... an aftereffect of very loud music with no ear protection. It seemed the meditation made me hyper-aware of the Tinnitus. Ergo-dynamics went into effect as I knew that certain natural ambiance could block out the ringing in my ears. I ended up playing a CD with rain, waves and other nature recordings while trying to meditate. This made visualizing a peaceful setting much easier and, quite frankly, more pleasant. When going through a particularly hard time in Las Vegas I began visualizing climbing a mountain. Then the big idea came to me. What if I made an audio recording that sounded like climbing a mountain? An audio recording with no narration that lets the audio alone define the setting. Would it help me sleep? It not only helped me sleep but surprisingly seemed to turbo-charge my brain's R.E.M. dreaming.
While we have more conventional sleep sounds (i.e. rain on a window, campfires and so on) the main idea behind virtual dreaming audio is not only to relax the listener but also promote visualization. This type of audio assisted meditation (if one wants to call it that) is the result of my own desire to meditate while dealing with two ringing ears. You don't need to be suffering from Tinnitus or dealing with chronic pain to get something out of our recordings. Just relax, visualize and sleep and you just might experience why I always end these journal entries the same way... dream good dreams.
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