Have you ever noticed the sound of a clock ticking? How do you feel when you hear it?
In one workshop venue where I facilitated a day of Mindfulness, the wall clock did have a ticking sound. The participants’ responses varied. Some noticed the sound of the ticking clock, some didn’t. Some noticed the sound and it really annoyed them. They wanted to physically get rid of the clock from the room. Some noticed the sound and it didn’t bother them. This became a point of enquiry, as I invited the participants to let the clock be in the room.
I invited them to notice and stay with their experience of the ticking clock. Frustrated by the sound or not, the participants willingly engaged with this enquiry. They were curious about their experience. Interestingly, by the end of the workshop, participants felt it was really useful to have retained the ticking clock in the room, rather than getting rid of it, as they learned something about how they were relating to their varied experiences.
As they stayed with the guided enquiry, the experience of the ticking sound changed for them. The clock was the same clock, hanging on the same wall in the same place, in the same room. Yet, the experience of it changed. It was no longer the same irritating clock. There was spaciousness in which sound was heard as vibration. When the perceiver changes, what is perceived also changes. It was a lived experience for them that the perceiver and perceived are inter-related.
Was it the ticking clock that caused the irritation ( if irritation was the reaction)? In that case we can say the ticking clock has the power to control our mood.
In Existential therapy we say our experience is co-created rather than caused by the ticking clock. This means that we too play a part in how we experience what we experience. This way of looking is empowering. It opens us to fresh possibilities – the freedom to choose within the givens of our situation.
The next time you hear a ticking clock, notice how you react to it. What happens when you rest in Mindful awareness of sound as vibration? Does the experience remain the same or does it change? Enjoy your discovery!