I've been reading The Listening Book by W. A. Mathieu in the morning.
He has several wonderful exercises about being aware of sound (p. 10-11): "Get a pencil and paper. Become aware of all the sounds you are hearing now, this moment, as you read. Make a list of them. Close your eyes from time to time. Swivel your head slightly to change the mix. Make a sweep from nearby sounds to distant sounds. Fall into the distance. Become transparent. Now fall into the nearness. Make a sweep from the highest sounds to the lowest ones. Disappear into the stratosphere, reappear underground. If your space is quiet enough you will hear your own internal sounds: breathing, maybe your blood in your ears. Or the subtle sounds of cloth against cloth, skin against skin. Count everything; write everything down. Use words economically. Later, if you like, you can set the scene and go into detail."
Here is mine this morning:
car swishing by
clatter of keyboard as I type
cracking joints as I roll my shoulders
scuffing shoe on the floor
plane flying overhead
creaking chair as I sit back
twittering of bird outside
fabric rustling against my hands
distant humming of cars on the parkway
scratching of skin
ticking of clock in the other room
the neighbor's wind chimes
the dripping of the water fountain
the call of the morning dove
Time to go for now, but I feel much more in the present, aware of my surroundings, and conscious too of how bombarded by sounds we often are. No wonder it is so hard for us to sit in silence to find God. We cannot find silence, and the associations that we have with each of these noises takes us away to some place or time, not here, unless we come back, paying attention just to the now. Perhaps this is where God is. "Be still and know that 'I am'--God."