Discover the Power of Soundscapes

Place of Serenity | Discover the Power of Soundscapes

We live in a noisy world, and wherever we are, we are surrounded by soundscapes.

These are the sounds around us that may be chaotic and noisy, yet also immersive and healing.

Wherever you are, you are surrounded by a soundscape… a soundscape describes the audio of all the sounds around you. If you close your eyes, you can paint a picture of your surroundings based on sound.

~ Acoustic Nature

Place of Serenity | The Power of Soundscapes

I listened to Krista Tippett speaking on her podcast with Gordon Hempton who is an Acoustic Ecologist.

The recording is here, much recommended.

Gordon Hempton describes:

Earth is a solar powered jukebox.

He has spent his career interested in finding pure nature soundscapes around the world, and he says:

Silence is not an absence of sound but an absence of noise … Silence is an endangered species, and is on the verge of extinction.

Hempton points out how there are some wild animals (such as the Star-nosed Mole, the Texas Blind Salamander and the Eyeless Huntsman Spider) that are blind, but there is no known wildlife that is deaf. Sound is crucial to all species for their survival.

As humans, we may take our hearing for granted. To simply listen to our surroundings is essential for our quality of life. It is part of mindful practice to do this. We can be anywhere in nature, yet oblivious to the sounds around us.

As noise pollution from humans extends throughout the world, there are fewer places pure and undisturbed. These are the places Hempton seeks out and records. Some of these incredible places, such as the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador and the American Prairie, you can experience on his website here.

Soundscapes for Wellbeing

There is a growing interest in soundscapes for wellbeing. We find ourselves bombarded with noises, not just traffic and nearby construction from outside but the noisy hum of our fridges and electrical appliances in our homes and the constant aggressive tones of humans talking at us.

Discover the power of soundscapes for your wellbeing when you close your eyes and surrender into a state of utter relaxation. To listen to a nature soundscape allow yourself to relax into the experience. Nothing else to do, simply sit back and listen.

Follow these links to experience soundscapes of nature and music:

1. Follow this link BBC Soundscapes for Wellbeing and scroll down to listen to a range of soundscapes for your wellbeing.

2. I also include some music for the evening – the link here to Night Tracks Mix on Radio 3 has the feeling of a soundscape – tracks designed to relax and comfort you.

Sounds we are Drawn To

Gordon Hempston wonders ‘did our ancestors evolve to hear birdsong, because when they followed the sound of birdsong it led them to places that were prosperous to live.’

What sounds are you drawn to? I have found recent early January mornings drag on my motivation. Yet as I lie in bed wondering how I can get up, the chirpy sounds of a robin outside my window have helped call me to the day ahead, when nothing else does.

Sometimes we get caught suddenly by a sound that makes us think of home, childhood, holidays or family. What does that sound like for you?

Mine include the cooing of pigeons which seems to be an enduring sound of childhood, distant aeroplanes flying overhead or someone mowing their lawn, cars passing by in the rain, the sound of rain on the rooftop.

The British Library Collection has 90,000 selected recordings of sounds including natural environments. The link to explore this is here.

I invite you to put on your headphones and listen to a variety of natural soundscapes from this website including;

Moorland English Nature
The Sea into a Small Cove
Deciduous Woodland in England

Allow Yourself Time to Benefit from Natural Soundscapes

… First, I stood still

and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness––
and that’s when it happened,

when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree––

… Listen, everyone has a chance.

… Quick, then––open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.

~ From ‘Such Singing in the Wild Branches’ by Mary Oliver

We can sit wherever we are to listen to all the sounds around us. Or we can take a journey outside to seek a different soundscape. Whenever we choose to do this, wherever it is, this is a wonderful chance to connect in with the earth, our true surroundings, our quiet selves. Whether it is a soundscape of nature or music, we benefit from slowing down to listen and value the miracle of our hearing.

… a momentous and
beautiful silence
as comes to all of us, in little earfuls, if we’re not too
hurried to hear it.

From ‘This World’ by Mary Oliver


Blog Posts:

Listen to the Dawn Chorus

I Hear You with Mindful Listening

Mindful Walking for Clarity and Calm

Yvette Jane

Place of Serenity | Place of Serenity



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