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These articles are taken from one or more sessions with a particular person. They remain true to the original work with some editing to make them more easily readable.

If you are reading this article as a way to explore and solve a similar issue of your own, we hope you find it helpful.

They are not just narratives of someone else getting help, but are written to highlight three main areas so you can learn along:


pointing out the tools of the LearningMethods work and explaining how they are being used so you can learn how to apply them for yourself,


uncovering more about the underlying causes and seductive traps of specific problems and how to liberate yourself,


and revealing the knowledge about ourselves that we gain along this journey of discovery towards freedom in our lives and harmony with others.

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Even if you have suffered under a problem for a long time, it is very possible to be liberated. With a skilled teacher helping you learn to use the tools of the Learning-Methods approach, real change is just around the corner and can happen a lot faster than you dared hope.

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The Sound of Silence

By David Gorman

Copyright (c) 2021 David Gorman, all rights reserved world-wide



Someone in a class asked me recently whether I had ever worked with anyone suffering from tinnitus.

I had, in fact, worked with someone with tinnitus, but that was over three decades ago. It happened during a short weekend workshop so we were not able to go into much depth, nor were we able to take the piece of work as far as it would have been possible to go on a longer workshop.

However something very interesting did occur in the time we did have which showed me how people can fail to pay accurate attention to their experiences in ways that have the effect of tending to trap them deeper in their problem.

It started during the afternoon on the first day of the workshop when someone brought up their problem with tinnitus, which he described as a constant ringing in his ears that he couldn’t get away from and that just about drove him crazy. I had heard about tinnitus in the ears, but had never had a chance to work with anybody who suffered from it.

Unlike this student, most of us don’t notice constant unchanging noise in our ears, but, perhaps like me, you have on occasion noticed a sort of white-noise in your hearing — a high-pitched hiss that is just barely perceptible. Sometimes, once you notice it and start to pay attention to it, it seems to get a bit louder.

At times when I had noticed this faint hissing noise I wondered why it was rare to hear it. As to what I was hearing, I assumed that it was just a background artifact of hearing, somewhat like the soft hiss on a radio station during moments of “dead air” when nothing was being broadcast.

Once I focused on it, it seemed possible to keep hearing the hiss, but sooner or later, my attention would drift, or some other noise would grab my attention, and I’d no longer hear the background noise. Most of the time, I wasn’t even aware that I was no longer hearing it — “out of sight, out of mind” (or in this case, “out of hearing…”.

So I was curious when the student said, “The ringing is there constantly! If you haven’t experienced it, you can’t imagine how annoying it is!”

I could certainly imagine how annoying that might be but my attention was drawn to the word, “constantly”. Could his experience be that different than the faint background hiss I’d experimented with? Was he really saying that the ringing in his ears was nonstop? That it was happening every moment of every day when he was awake? To make sure that we were actually talking about the same thing, I decided that the first thing was to clarify this question. So I asked him, “Do you really mean that you hear the ringing in your ears every moment, that is, literally all the time?

“Yes, every moment. That’s what’s so absolutely infuriating about having tinnitus. It never stops,” he said with vehemence, as if I was maybe a bit thick to not see this as obvious.

I don’t why, but something prompted me to ask him more or less the same question again, though in a slightly different way — just to be sure. “Do you mean that there is no time, ever, when you don’t notice it?”

He thought for a moment, then said, “Well, yes… of course. There are some times when I’m paying attention to something else and I don’t hear it...” He paused… then said, “But it’s still there!

Now this was fascinating! After just insisting that the tinnitus was there all the time — every moment — he was now saying, of course there are some times when it’s not there.

“That’s interesting,” I said, “it’s there all the time, but sometimes you don’t hear it. I wonder, can you tell us, if you sometimes don’t hear it, how do you know it’s still there?”

“Because it’s always there, and when it isn’t, it’s right back there again a moment later,” he said, “so it must have still been there. I just wasn’t paying attention to it for a moment.”

“But maybe,” I said, “it actually did go away for a moment, which is why you couldn’t hear it…” I paused... “In any case, at least it appears that there are times when it is not there for you… So it isn’t actually quite true that you hear the tinnitus ‘all the time’".

This seemed significant enough to me, but I could tell that he wasn’t quite persuaded. Unfortunately, we had come to the end of the workshop day and we had to stop until the next day. I said we could pick up this issue again for a little bit of time the next day if he had any other thoughts or insights between now and then. So we left it at that.

In workshops like this I always give an opportunity each morning when we start a new day to bring up questions, insights, or results of experiments from the day before.

The student with the tinnitus raised his hand and said, “I’d like to start off. Something really interesting happened last night. I usually read for a while in bed before going to sleep, and at one point there I was, lying in bed thinking about what you said about the tinnitus maybe not being there sometimes. I decided to check if it was there right at this moment. I kind of caught myself taking my attention to my hearing to listen if I could hear it. I was surprised to realize that I couldn’t hear it. It wasn’t happening at that moment. But sure enough, as soon as I focused my attention on my hearing to look for it, the ringing was there. Not so loud in the beginning, but it got louder as I focused on it.”

“I realized that, like yesterday, I would normally have assumed that the tinnitus had been there all the time, and I could prove that just by taking my attention to it. And every time I did, there it was, proving that it really was there all the time. Or at least, it had been enough to it prove that to me before you challenged me about it yesterday.”

“It was quite an eye-opening moment. Later in the evening and this morning, I began to notice more times when I didn’t actually hear the tinnitus. In the beginning, because of my assumptions, I immediately went to look for it and there it was. After a few times, I also realized that when I went to look for it, it didn’t come back instantly. There was a distinct period of at least several seconds before the tinnitus began to emerge out of the searching for it. I had never noticed that it took that much time.”

“In fact, it then really struck me… I could distinctly see now that each time I had already noticed that the tinnitus wasn’t there — but what was there was silence.

Before I went to look for it, the tinnitus actually was not there. To find it, I had to turn my attention to my hearing and go listen for it in order to find it. Even then, it wasn’t there right away! Only when I stayed searching for it for several seconds, did it slowly, and almost reluctantly, appear. It was almost like my looking for it was what made it appear!”

“This is a real surprise for me. I’m very excited about the possibilities here…”

We had to stop there because there were other people in the workshop will also needed some time with their issues so we left it that he was going to keep playing around and see what happened.

As I thought about it later, after the workshop, I wondered how to interpret what had happened. What had it showed us? Was it that his tinnitus had not really changed, but now at least, he knew that it wasn’t this constant thing. How much less infuriating a problem would it become for him if he no longer believed he was plagued with it every single moment of every day? Maybe he would be able to enjoy the silences when he noticed them.

Or maybe even could it be the case where his attention focusing on it was intensifying the natural background noise into a something louder? And could his belief about it being there all the time, trap him into a negative reaction loop that lent the “tinnitus” a sense of horrible reality that he was stuck with? In other words, could it be a case of you get what you look for?

If he was able to continue to play with his tinnitus rather than react to it and fight it, would the silences become longer and more frequent? And would the moments of tinnitus decrease and maybe even eventually disappear?

I never did find out because, unfortunately, my teaching schedule was such that I left the next day for another workshop in a different city and was not able to follow up with the student to find out what happened. But I have often wondered.


There is a small biography of personal details about the author below.

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