Recording and Listening Blog

August 1, 2020

I recently stumbled across a folder in iTunes that was labeled “to file.”  When I opened it, I found close to 2000 miscellaneous R/L recordings from 2016 and 2017.

Unlike many of my other R/L recordings, these didn’t have names or tags of any kind. Each audio file only had the date of the recording as a label.

This was like finding a huge mystery grab bag of R/L goodies!

I started listening to these recordings randomly and quickly realized what a tremendous gift it was that they were not labeled. Because there was nothing but a date to identify each recording, I couldn’t rummage around in that goodie bag, looking for the “right” recording to listen to at any given moment.

I couldn’t go up to my head to “figure out” what would be best. 

This lack of “identification” allowed me to simply press play and listen.

Since there was no preconceived idea that “this recording is about [insert content here] so maybe it will help me work through my current challenges with [insert content here] and get to a new place,” I couldn’t get bamboozled into thinking I was trying to solve something.

In other words, these unnamed recordings showed me that I often have an unexamined process at play of choosing recordings to listen to because I think they will help me to feel better about some specific content.

In a way, it is as if there has been a belief that recordings are like medicine and different recordings should be consumed for different “ailments.”

This is making me think about the times when I have labeled my recordings. I’m not aware of who is naming them or why they are being named that specific way. Who decides to call this recording “procrastination” and that one “productivity”? Who calls this one “morning anxiety” and that one “morning joy”? Who is deciding what is key to each audio? Who chooses what “defines” each recording?

In the naming of recordings, there appears to be a whole set of unexamined beliefs and assumptions.

In contrast, when I am simply listening to the next “grab bag” recording, there is such a sense of freedom and joy. There are no expectations. No pre-conceived notions. 

The gift in this is that I drop any notion of solving anything or feeling better by listening to recordings; I simply get to calibrate to Presence.

As I was experiencing this process, I remembered an article on the Recording and Listening website that outlines a way of listening to recordings called “seaweed.”

I quickly looked it up and found it describes so beautifully what I have been experiencing:

The practice came about from an insight that “I” would look for a particular recording in order to feel a certain way. And, of course, that never worked because it was actually ego looking to “feel a particular way” and ego ensuring that that feeling was never achieved.

Once I saw through that process, I decided to let Life choose. All kinds of thoughts, emotions, even physical sensations would arise as I listened. One time a particular recording might be deeply inspiring and the next time that same recording played it might be “flat.” I started to relax and just watch, not take it personally. I realized there must be just as much for me to see in what happens as I listen as there is in making the recordings.

There is so much more in that article. I hope you’ll read it.

I feel so lucky that I was given that R/L grab bag from Life. Each item in it has been a gift. AND, the bag itself proved to be invaluable!


  • If you have been naming, sorting, and organizing your recordings, try taking a few dozen of them and renaming them all in a way that doesn’t identify their content. Label them A, B, C, D— and so on.  Or 1, 2, 3, 4 — etc. Allow yourself the “grab bag” or “seaweed” method of listening. Let Life choose what you hear. And leave behind all ideas about solving problems or feeling better. 


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