Great Illusion of Our Time (#GIT) Number 2 states that we have mastered the basic elements of life, and that as sophisticated human beings we can now advance gloriously toward more elevated and complex tasks.

Illusion this is, for in many ways we have forgotten how to walk, act and speak. We shovel food into our bellies without attempting to chew or properly appreciate it, we ramble incoherently and we take the advances of modern life for granted, as things we are somehow entitled to. The product of continuing to lead an automatic life will surely be disaster.

Instead, let’s turn toward doing things, basic things, consciously and deliberately. This way opens up a fresh appreciation of what it means to be alive in our modern world. Let us start with a small exercise related to music.

Choose a track you like and are familiar with, but not one that you listen to everyday. Your choice of track should be a personal preference, but this exercise works best with music consisting of tunes, melodies, notes and phrases. Headphones might enhance the experience, but are not essential.

Get comfortable. Tee up the track but don’t play it just yet. First move your awareness into your ears. This is as simple as it sounds. To understand it further imagine what happens when you stub your toe or cut yourself. Immediately your entire awareness moves to the afflicted area. This is the same thing, but without the pain. As a test you might want to place an ice cube around different parts of your body and feel the localised sensation as it touches the skin. In these examples nothing else matters. There is not even time to think. Your awareness is immediately where it needs to be. It takes a little practice, but once you have moved your awareness into your ears try to hold it there as you press PLAY.

You will find that you start hearing the music differently than you had before. I will not try to second guess what happens for you, except to say that it will be a completely new musical experience. You may want to adjust the volume up or down, depending on the track and your feelings. Try to be in your ears the whole time.

Try it with different musical genres. Try the Old Skool fashion of listening to a whole album like this, including the obscure tracks. Listen to vocals and soundscapes.

You will find that as you build your practice you will be listening to the music, as opposed to listening to music. Oh how the words fail to describe the difference between those two actions.

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