Earplugs For Meditation, Sleeping and Stress Relief
"Let silence take you to the core of life."
More and more studies have shown that meditation improves overall quality of life by reducing stress, developing critical thinking skills, and allowing the muscles and organs to reset. While this is all beneficial, true meditation really isn’t as easy as it’s made to seem.
I decided to start out on a meditation journey to try to better my mental space and reduce anxiety. I went to yoga classes, and I became even more stressed out since I couldn’t do any of the poses. I tried meditation videos online, and I found myself dissecting the words or phrases that the narrator was using. I even went to a spa that specialized in “nap” therapy, but all I could think about was the beeping I heard from a machine several rooms over. I could not get into the proper headspace to “silence my mind” and “think about nothing.” There was always some sort of distraction around me that makes it impossible to focus on my breathing or inner peace.
On a recent vacation, upon reading this earplugs guide, I decided to wear earplugs on an airplane to protect my ears from the changes in altitude. I was amazed at how the background dim of the airplane engine disappeared, and I didn’t even know about the crying children on my flight until my friend complained about it afterwards. I was in shock at how well my airplane earplugs worked to block out external noise.
I put it all together and it seemed so simple: I was on a meditation journey, I was struggling to block out external noises, and earplugs did just that! It seemed too easy.
I lied on my back on the hardwood floor of my bedroom, put a plug in each ear, and everything around me immediately started to vanish. I couldn’t hear the dishwasher running downstairs or the television from the room next door. I could hear nothing but my breathing. In fact, the sound of my breath was amplified, as though it were echoing inside my ear canals. The point of meditation is to focus on deep breathing and listen to your breath—and the plugs were actually intensifying this effect!
It still took me a few minutes to shut my brain down completely. I began thinking, “Wow these earplugs are great. What else can I use them for? Maybe I should wear them while sleeping? How much did I pay for these? I should give a pair to my dad.” So, yes, at first they were slightly counterproductive. Soon, however, my mind started to calm as the world around me remained silent. It was as though the silence in my ears permeated into my head and slowly started to drift me off into the quiet. It was the first time in my life that I felt completely and utterly calm, with nothing to hear or think about but my breath.
After peaceful moments of relaxation, I removed my earplugs. Immediately the world started pelting my ears with sounds: cars driving by outside, the tick of the clock in the corner, the teakettle screeching. It is a beautiful thing to hear these sounds, to hear the world in all its glory, and it is equally beautiful to tune out these sounds and focus on the magnificence of the inner world—the soul and mind.
Now I take time every day, even if just for a few minutes, to put in my earplugs and listen to the silence. I quiet my ears, quiet my mind, and I work towards discovering my inner peace. As Francis Bacon said, “Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom.”
~ Mr. General