Meditating with noise

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Meditating with noise

Postby Ervin » Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:17 am

Can you meditate sucsesfully with noise around you. Like with your neighbour playing music or with some other noise? Can you get the same benefits as meditating without noise?

Thanks
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Re: Meditating with noise

Postby Nāgasena » Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:31 am

Noise exists. I say work with, don't get in its way.
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Re: Meditating with noise

Postby Zom » Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:06 am

No. Such meditation won't be successful.
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Re: Meditating with noise

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:24 am

Ervin wrote:Can you meditate sucsesfully with noise around you. Like with your neighbour playing music or with some other noise? Can you get the same benefits as meditating without noise?


If you want to practise jhanas then probably no. If you are interested in insight then absolutely, you need to learn to be able to meditate under a variety of circumstances and a noisy environment gives you the opportunity to observe what is arising and passing away and to learn to do this without reactivity.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Meditating with noise

Postby David2 » Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:29 am

Ervin wrote:Can you meditate sucsesfully with noise around you. Like with your neighbour playing music or with some other noise? Can you get the same benefits as meditating without noise?


It depends how loud the noise is, how disturbing the notes, and how long it lasts.

If it is not very loud, don't worry too much, ignore it, learn to meditate with it. Your meditation will be successful.

If the noise is very loud, consider using earplugs which will make the noise 30 or 40 decibels more quiet for you.
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Re: Meditating with noise

Postby Aloka » Sat Feb 04, 2012 10:44 am

Hi Ervin,

I prefer to meditate outside, weather permitting. In these circumstances one just gently relaxes - and accepts the natural sounds, as well as any unexpected human sounds which are occuring around one.

In "Intuitive Awareness" Ajahn Sumedho sums it up well , as follows :

"I was once going on a retreat in Chang Mai, northern Thailand, in a lovely mountain resort with a waterfall and a stream. The meditation hall had been built right by the stream and the sound of the waterfall was continous and quite loud.

Somebody on the retreat became very averse to the sound of the stream. "I can't meditate here, its too noisy; the sound of the stream is just too much, I can't beat it !"

You can either listen to and open your mind to the sound, or resist it, in which case you are fighting or resisting, and that creates suffering. "


http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/intuitive-awareness.pdf


with kind wishes,

Aloka
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Re: Meditating with noise

Postby Alobha » Sat Feb 04, 2012 11:04 am

Ervin wrote:Can you meditate sucsesfully with noise around you. Like with your neighbour playing music or with some other noise?
Thanks


Make friends with the noise. If the noise gets too loud and you feel distracted by it, take the opportunity to listen to the noise. Focus on the noise. I use to meditate on longer traintrips and the bumping rails, voices and movements of passangers are quite loud there, too. Instead of struggling with it, use it to your advantage.
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Re: Meditating with noise

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Feb 04, 2012 11:46 am

there is nowhere that there is no noise!
you can work with its presence or you can fight against it, personally I would suggest working with it.

there is a long tradition of meditating with sound, one could simply treat it like any object of the six senses, and let go of the reaction to it.
or one could use it to look at reaction, or both.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Meditating with noise

Postby Cal » Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:00 pm

In a short book on meditation, Ajahn Amaro relates a story about a meditation session in London attended by Ajahn Chah in the 1970s, where the quiet was disturbed by rock music from the pub opposite. When the hosts apologised for the disturbance, Ajahn Chah apparently said :-
You think that the sound is annoying you, but actually it's you that is annoying the sound. The sound is just what it is; it's just the air vibrating. It's up to us whether we start an argument with it.


Ajahn Amaro, Finding the Missing Peace, pp50-51
http://forestsanghapublications.org/viewBook.php?id=13&ref=deb

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Right Speech: It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will. [AN 5.198]

Personally, I seem to gain the most insight when I am under the most pressure, when life is at its most unpleasant. There is something in me on those occasions which feels that there is nothing left but to be aware of 'this'. Ajahn Sumedho - Don't Take Your Life Personally, p288
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Re: Meditating with noise

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Feb 04, 2012 1:23 pm

Cal wrote:In a short book on meditation, Ajahn Amaro relates a story about a meditation session in London attended by Ajahn Chah in the 1970s, where the quiet was disturbed by rock music from the pub opposite. When the hosts apologised for the disturbance, Ajahn Chah apparently said :-
You think that the sound is annoying you, but actually it's you that is annoying the sound. The sound is just what it is; it's just the air vibrating. It's up to us whether we start an argument with it.


Ajahn Amaro, Finding the Missing Peace, pp50-51
http://forestsanghapublications.org/viewBook.php?id=13&ref=deb

Metta
Cal

:goodpost:
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Meditating with noise

Postby JustThis » Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:22 pm

For the most part I prefer not only no noise but also extreme quiet. I realized several years while on an individual retreat that, for me, the most powerful aspect of retreat was deep silence. I feel that my practice at home went to a new level when I started to recreate the silence that I was immersed in while on retreat. To accomplish this I started to use 'noise protection' or isolation headphones that are meant to protect hearing from workplace noise. I also carry ear plugs in my truck and keep a set at work for those occasions when I have the time to practice. I realize that the party line on noise and sound in general is to make it part of the meditation but I think that for most of us who practice at home concentration is what is lacking and to this end isolating oneself from all sound is of great benefit.
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Re: Meditating with noise

Postby jabalí » Sat Feb 04, 2012 6:45 pm

From "Gifts He Left Behind. The Dhamma Legacy of Ajaan Dune Atulo"
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/dune/giftsheleft.html:

Wat Burapha, where Luang Pu spent each Rains Retreat without exception for more than 50 years, is situated in the heart of the town of Surin, right in front of the Provincial Offices and next to the provincial court. For this reason, the noise of cars and trucks was constantly disturbing the peace and quiet of the monastery. Especially during the annual Elephant Fair or any of the holidays, there would be noise and bright lights for seven or fifteen days at a time. The monks and novices whose minds still lacked resilience would be especially bothered by this.

Whenever they'd bring this to Luang Pu's attention, they'd always get the same response:

"Why waste your time being interested in those things? It's the nature of light to be bright. It's the nature of noise to be loud. That's what their functions are. If you don't focus on listening, that's the end of the matter. Act in a way that's not in opposition to your surroundings, for that's just the way they are. Simply reach a genuine understanding with them using deep discernment, that's all."
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Re: Meditating with noise

Postby contemplans » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:12 pm

I would say, how obtrusive is the noise? If this is your only place/opportunity to sit, then just work with it. If there is a better/quieter spot or time, then meditate then. I wake up at 4:30 in the morning to meditate, and I can hear dogs barking, my kid moving hither and thither in his bed, sometimes coughing, and sometimes cars going by. No big deal, but they are there. If you've finding that you can't get even to the point of quieting the mind, then I'd find a quieter situation to get that established. Once you can get quiet and achieve some stability there, it isn't a big deal to be in situations with noise. Sound is not an impediment to jhana. Getting knocked off you object is an impediment, but sounds can easily be registered as "off in the distance" when in jhana. You won't even be paying attention to them. I find the sounds in my mind to be more of a problem.
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Re: Meditating with noise

Postby bodom » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:33 pm

contemplans wrote:Sound is not an impediment to jhana.


This does not agree with the Buddhas teaching:

The Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus: "Bhikkhus, where are the elder bhikkhus, Cala, Upacala, Kukkuta, Kalimbha, Nikata, Katissa. Where are these elder bhikkhus gone?"

"Here, venerable sir, it occured to those venerable ones: These well-known Licchavis in completely full chariots, are coming to the Great Forest to see The Blessed One, making much noise. The Blessed One has said that sound is a thorn to the higher states of the mind. What if we go to the Gosinga forest reserve. It has less noise, not so crowded, we will have a pleasant abiding Then those venerable ones went to the Gosinga forest reserve which has less noise, is less crowded and has a pleasant abiding."

"Bhikkhus, the great elders have said it correctly! Rightly saying sound is a thorn for the higher states of the mind....To one in the first jhana, sounds are a thorn..


http://www.leighb.com/an10_72.htm

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Meditating with noise

Postby contemplans » Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:24 pm

Bodom, in the context of my reply, I am making it clear that sound is not to be sought out, but worked with if quiet is impossible. "If you've finding that you can't get even to the point of quieting the mind, then I'd find a quieter situation to get that established." A better translation for sadda here is noise.
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Re: Meditating with noise

Postby lutysouie » Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:12 pm

I live in a boarding school, surrounded by excited teenagers, running up and down and shouting all day long so I know what you mean by meditating with noise and don't be afraid of that, the mind can get used to everything. At the beginning I meditated ON the sound, seeing that it is just what it is and that if I accept it, don't try to fight against, then everything is ok, sound by itself is neutral, I am the only one who can decide if it's annoying or not. Now I don't really notice it anymore. In fact it's nearly the contrary, now that's when everything is silent that I have the feeling that something is missing !
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