For most of my life, I have been immersed in sound. When I was small, our house had five people in a two bedroom space. It was never really quiet. When I was 10, I discovered AM radio. I listened as often and as long as I could. I even recorded American Top 40 onto cassettes, so I could replay it during the week. When I was 15 and started driving, I had an FM radio in the car. I would drive places just to have the music going. When I was 20, music was a large part of my social time. Music videos with friends, music when we would just hang out, music while I studied, music while I wrote my papers. As I got older, I swapped in TV for background music. Listen to the news while I caught up on work, or endless student, while I wrote papers or read for class. I had a stereo in my office, and couldn't get through the day without my tunes.
I literally couldn't work without the noise. It was never quiet. I live in the city, and even the nights are filled with sound - cars, racing dirt bikes, sirens, cats in love, dogs barking, foxes with their unearthly cries. When I began meditating, I was really uncomfortable with the quiet. No music, no talking, nothing. Just me breathing. Now I really enjoy it.
I dive into it, submerge, let it lap over me. I bathe in it. And I find that it nourishes me, fills me to the brim. And slowly, in impossibly gentle increments, I begin to hear the softest of sounds. But now I notice them, really hear them. By becoming a convert to quiet, I have gained the ability to really and truly hear.