It took just a moment, but the effect has felt infinite.

It's tinnitus, the constant B-flat whistling in my head, which I'm convinced began when one of our sound engineers either "wrung" the sound system before a gig or let feedback from one of the microphones get out of hand.

It took several years before I asked my wife, matter of factly, whether she always heard a high-pitched squealing in the background. The ever-present tea kettle, it turns out, is there just for us with tinnitus .

That's how normal the condition had become for me. Like a diabolical electronic mosquito, the whistle is always with me, as I listen intenently through every piano recital, every string trio concert, every chapter I read, every night, every day. My silence is never silence.

Sometimes the hum is more prominent than at other times, and sometimes, it fades almost entirely.

But I learned a few years ago that the squeal can be a blessing in disguise. The realization came when I was meditating.

I began meditation classes about 15 years ago, and although I'm not religious about my practice, it's profoundly affected my life. Meditation begins for me always by closing my eyes and listening intently to the silence around me ... and then rediscovering my own breathing.

The metta meditation I often practice brings me into a roughly 20-minute litany of self-healing affirmations I've adopted, based on lessons I still need to teach myself after all of these decades: to reject judgment, negativity and impatience, to always embrace generosity, acceptance, gratitude.

The bottom line: "May I find grace in each moment."

It's already there. It's present. And so must I become present.

That's not easy in these days of Instagram, Constant Contact, tweets, posts and yes, blogs.

For me, meditation is about spaciousness: allowing time and plenty of room to take in all that's there, without limitations of my thinking brain or the so-dalled "free stuff" of modern life.

It's about wakening myself to the spaciousness of each precious moment. And curiously, the more I practice, the more the spaciousnessness is present even when I'm not meditating. It becomes the space of life itself.

A friend once reflected, "Meditating is the easiest thing that I do. And it's the hardest thing that I do."

As for me, I enter meditation by closing my eyes, listening to the silence, and feeling every breath, heartbeat, pulse, diaphragm's rise and fall, becoming present to every precious moment. Without trying, of course.

Yet the silence, for me, is never truly silence. And so, as I become conscious of each moment, I listen carefully for every tone, every overtone and the constancy that is, for me, the omipresent reminder of grace.

Gratitude. Forgiveness. Openness. Generosity. Non-judgment.

It's there, always, but for me always aspirational. I'm not there yet, I'm trying. Without trying.


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Check out my books, Inner Landscapes and Good Will & Ice Cream