White Noise

I lay down on my bed and close my eyes. There is a faint white noise emanating from somewhere in the house. I choose it as my somatic/meditative anchor. I know that my ears are still receiving this signal but I “hear” it only intermittently, as my mind tunes in and out of reality. I observe this. I know (from past experience) that it is normal and inevitable. I marvel at the white noise of thinking that can eclipse the actual acoustics of reality. The sound of thinking can be so loud! Loud enough to mute any actual sound outside (although it’s debatable). I keep observing myself tuning in and out of the sound in the house. I formulate a conscious intention: “stay with the actual white noise sound in the room, ignore the white noise of your mind.” Intention begins to pay. Attention stays deployed at its designated target for longer periods. Mind is ignoring itself. But, every so often, mind still returns to itself with such self-evaluative thoughts as “It’s working, I am staying with the sound in the room …” This is ironic, of course, since these moments of self-reflection take mind away from the actual sound of What Currently Is (at this coordinate of the Universe for this set of ears). Back to the white noise sound in the room, I hear a police siren in the distance. The Doppler Effect is in effect: the pitch is increasing as the vehicle somewhere out there in the city is getting closer to where I am; and then the pitch begins to drop as the same vehicle begins to move farther away. In parallel, I hear the sound of a train on the tracks down below on the South Side Flats. And then the sound of my daughter running across the room on the floor above me. All these sounds of reality now layered on top of each other, with a subtle tickling sensation in my tongue as my larynx sub-vocalizes my thoughts: “She is coming downstairs … It’s been only a few minutes of meditation … It is what it is …”

This is the process of meditation: not an effortful tug-of-war between mind and no-mind, but an effortless toggling between self and non-self.

White Noise

Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

Pavel Somov, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice and the author of 7 mindfulness-based self-help books. Several of his books have been translated into Chinese, Dutch & Portuguese. Somov is on the Advisory Board for the Mindfulness Project (London, UK). Somov has conducted numerous workshops on mindfulness-related topics and appeared on a number of radio programs. Somov's book website is and his practice website is

Marla Somova, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Pittsburgh, PA. She is the co-author of "Smoke Free Smoke Break" (2011).

No comments yet... View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Somov, P. (2019). White Noise. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 22, 2020, from


Last updated: 21 Aug 2019
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.