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How can I meditate when I have tinnitus?

Dear Mark,

I came to your site because of an issue around tinnitus and hyperacusis. I have had the tinnitus for a period of time, but have managed it relatively well. However, recently it has become worse, with both low-level and high-level frequencies. I am using the downloads for both of these conditions, but my question is related to meditation.

I also meditate; I do use a technique that is mildly different from the one that is on your download, but it is a bona fide technique from a particular lineage. As I learn to disconnect from external sounds by continually training my attention to return to my object (in my case, the breath), this focus on the breath then has the intrusion of the more continual internal sound of the tinnitus. If I set up a 'battle' around the breath focus and the tinnitus, it defeats the meditation, creates an extra strain on the whole activity, or makes me want to give up the meditation, which I do not want to do at all.

Thank you for any advice.

This question was submitted by 'Amala'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

Hello Amala and thank you for writing in.

I'm reminded of a scene that comes to mind of someone observing a river. The water flows by and they watch it – not judging, expecting, or remembering, just watching. Occasionally, a bird flies down to the riverbank; they have awareness of that bird, but they are really observing the river as it glides and swirls. They are watching the entirety of the river and, in a way, that one river is all rivers that are, were, and ever will be. There are sights from beyond the river and the observer recognizes them, but still continues to identify their very being with the river. Sometimes a twig, dry leaf, or lily may float past, carried on top of the water, and again the seer acknowledges these aspects of their ongoing reality. But, nevertheless, they continue to observe the river because the river, twigs, lilies, sounds, and all part of the river experience are separate but part of it, too.

Life is full of noise, activity, and interruptions and we have to, I guess, see beyond all that sometimes. And maybe that is a better training of the mind than waiting for everything to be perfect, still, and quiet. So I suggest you use these tinnitus sounds as a way of strengthening that part of you that can just watch and observe without judgement or expectation.

All best wishes,


watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - May 20th, 2015 in

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