We’re beginning a chapter of Walden titled “Sounds.” An entire chapter devoted to things that Thoreau could hear at Walden Pond. Have you ever tried this? Just paying attention to what you can hear right now, or walking around focusing on the sounds that surround you, that come and go.
Today the popular term for this is mindfulness, which has its roots in meditative practices and involves paying close attention to different aspects of your experience. It’s a nonjudgmental sort of attention, just taking it all in moment by moment. One of the things you’ll notice about any sort of mindfulness practice is that it makes life a lot more interesting.
You could even write a book chapter — a good chapter — just about the stuff you hear.
”No method nor discipline can supersede the necessity of being forever on the alert,” Henry writes. “What is a course of history or philosophy, or poetry, no matter how well selected, or the best society, or the most admirable routine of life, compared with the discipline of looking always at what is to be seen?”
Or in this case, listening to what is to be heard.
(About “A Year in Walden”)