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Thread: Background noise meditation

  1. #1

    Background noise meditation

    This morning I find somewhat complex to concentrate in my breathing. The neighbor was working on his flat and noises keep coming and going, hammering, drilling, demolitions you name it...
    After trying to fight it, I remenbered Jundo about not fighting the crowd, but go with the flow (we were talking about annoying crowds moving in a concert) so I decided to turn those noises into my source of meditation. To my own surprise after some minutes my breathing came naturally to my mind, and there I was fully concentrated on my breathing, and didn't pay attention to the background noises. They returned by the end of the zazen session, but it was great, nevertheless.

    Gassho

    Da5id

  2. #2

    Re: Background noise meditation

    Nice. And even when they dont become the source of your meditation, your focus on your breath not set, and just wont quit... thats okay too . Besides who said they have to quit? Do they ("distractions") get to you when your not Trying to do something?! Thank you for sharing your experience Da5id, a very good lesson!

    Gassho
    Shohei

  3. #3

    Re: Background noise meditation

    Thank you Shohei.

    Very motivating words

    Gassho

    Da5id

  4. #4
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Background noise meditation

    What do they distract from?

    Although talking does hook me more easily.

    Chet

  5. #5

    Re: Background noise meditation

    Unfortunately, this is the situation at one of the local zendos that's in the first floor of a five-story building. I swear there's a piano-pushing company upstairs.

    I've found myself to be just as distractable there as any of the other ones, though. The only place that's really hard is home, where the temptation to give up and go back online is more present.

  6. #6

    Re: Background noise meditation

    At Sojiji, when I used to sit there each week, it was mosquitoes and (if can you believe it) a PA system that used to make loud announcements during Zazen, like "Azuma Roshi, you have a call on Line 2". At Taisoji, it was traffic sounds. At Nishijima Roshi's Dojo, it was the children's playground right outside the window as we sat on Saturday mornings. And at the group where I sat in Florida, it was a telephone that kept ringing in a locked office. I think you get the point.

    What is there not to sit with? What is there to push away?

    Suzuki Roshi, who was sitting with his cancer by this time, has this famous little talk about the noisy birdies ...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHNyCAJXUXE[/video]]

  7. #7

    Re: Background noise meditation

    When I'm home from college it's the general rumblings of the family and my younger sister's music blasting away, she's at that point where music is her life-blood and any attempts to change that result in a fair amount of angst :roll:

    At college, well, it's college. So there's everything from yelling, laughing, knocks, bangs, and a variety of other sounds of various origins 8)

    Conversations are what normally pull me away, eavesdropping is a bit of habit sometimes when every word comes in loud and clear :shock: It comes, and it goes.

    Taylor

  8. #8

    Re: Background noise meditation

    The first few times that I sat at the venerable Matsouka-roshi"s temple in Long Beach, he always left the windows open and I was often distracted by the traffic noise, the neighbor mowing the lawn, and even the birds during those Spring afternoons! Under the watchful eye of the Roshi and the keisaku nearby, I anchored myself on the zafu, distractions and all.

    Gasho,

    James.

  9. #9
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    Re: Background noise meditation

    Quote Originally Posted by spinpsychle
    Unfortunately, this is the situation at one of the local zendos that's in the first floor of a five-story building. I swear there's a piano-pushing company upstairs.

    I've found myself to be just as distractable there as any of the other ones, though. The only place that's really hard is home, where the temptation to give up and go back online is more present.
    When I sit at home I find myself spinning off into daydreams more - perhaps because I'm not an early morning person even though I do get up earlier than I used to when I was still single and living the life of sex, drugs, booze and rock n' roll. This is an exaggeration. I didn't get laid as often as I wanted. The point is, my lifestyle was much different back then. But I digress.

    The other thing about sitting at home is I have two alarms. One is my phone, which I set to go off after twenty minutes. The other alarm is my soon-to-be-one-year-old son - and I have no idea when he decides to cry. It could be ten minutes into the sitting, it could be ten seconds after I just bowed. As Jundo so kindly pointed out to me this afternoon though: "Crying baby is still Zazen."

    Anyway, I also sit during my free time in the mountain resort I work in. My family owns the resort and I have my own rest house there - that's where I sit. No sound except the birds...

    ...and the gardener's blaring AM radio. Many times I find myself following the plot of the radio drama. But I just keep sitting. Jundo would probably say, "blaring radio is Zazen. But you still need to sit Zazen." :mrgreen:

  10. #10

    Re: Background noise meditation

    When I first started sitting a few years ago, I used headphones with "white noise" to drown out the outside world. It's been a long time since I've done that, and now it's sort of unimaginable to me that I'd actually choose to drown out everything rather than just sit with whatever came along. I was missing the point (or non-point, I guess).

    Now I've got a nice quiet corner that's pretty silent when the windows are closed, and when they're open it's just natural noise from the outside (birds, insects, wind, an occasional car). My biggest obstacle these days is my 90-pound Labrador, who I'm at eye-level with during Zazen, and she's generally upset that I'm sitting on her favorite sleeping spot. Sitting with the licking is nearly impossible, so now she gets locked out of the room.

  11. #11
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Background noise meditation

    I used to consider my refrigerator and heater/AC unit as nearly evil :twisted: because they disturbed my zazen. I've posted some of my battles with them (really me) here on this forum somewhere (not worth looking up or linking to). Eventually I got over it/them/me and now they don't bother so much, just more stuff to sit with.

  12. #12

    Re: Background noise meditation

    I can certainly relate to this. Often times I'll need to meditate in a separate room at home with a loud television next door, or external noises that are quite loud. It takes a few minutes for me to just sit, and drop all of my judgments on the noise. Like thoughts that come and go, we can either choose to attach onto them, or let them move on like clouds in a serene and infinite blue sky.

  13. #13

    Re: Background noise meditation

    my cat is my 'nemisis" as soon as i sit, she decides its time to use me as a kitty condo and scratching pole! it used to really bother me, (and it still does to some extent :roll: ) but i am learning to see it as real good practice....but now i wear long sleves!

  14. #14

    Re: Background noise meditation

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    I used to consider my refrigerator and heater/AC unit as nearly evil :twisted: because they disturbed my zazen. I've posted some of my battles with them (really me) here on this forum somewhere (not worth looking up or linking to)...
    Hi Alan,

    This thread reminded me of your fridge as soon as I read the first post. Definitely worth a link. http://www.treeleaf.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1687

    JohnH

  15. #15
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Background noise meditation

    Oj yeah, I remember that thread :cry: That neighbor has since moved and my new neighbor is much quieter But regardless, my practice remains my practice, and that's the key point. I always have to remind myself when I struggle in any way that it's just practice! Allen Iverson said it best starting at about the 0:50 mark.
    http://<iframe class="restrain" titl...="0"></iframe>

    Ultimately, in the act of sitting zazen we drop all desires and aversions, and this includes the desire for silence and the aversion to sound.

  16. #16

    Re: Background noise meditation

    On a related note, I have a neighbor who likes to terrorize the neighborhood. He sets off loud fireworks (sometimes early on Saturday morning), lets his kids ride motorized vehicles up and down the streets and sidewalks, etc. I tried talking to him about the fireworks one time and he went off on me like I was the one who was out of line. A real hot head. Always outside, always making noise. I am really struggling with feelings of anger towards him. I could go confront him but we would probably just end up getting into a fight. I can call the cops but I don't think that is going to stop him. I'm struggling to apply the Buddhist teachings to my situation.

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