How To Quiet Your Mind In Even The Loudest Settings

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The building where I used to run a meditation group was on the same street as a fire station; one could almost guarantee that sometime during the meditation a fire engine would come rushing past, sirens wailing. Not surprisingly, people would afterwards complain: “How could I meditate with that going on?”

How often have we felt something similar? There’s an unspoken assumption that the mind can only become quiet if the world around it is quiet. We imagine the ideal meditation setting to be somewhere far from the madding crowd—a retreat deep in a forest, a peaceful chapel, or the quiet of one’s own bedroom, perhaps. It is much harder for the mind to settle down in a noisy environment. Or is it?

I suggested to the group that the next time a fire engine came blasting by they look within and explore whether the sound really was that disturbing? After the following meditation, a participant reported how the noise no longer seemed a problem; it was there, but it didn’t disturb her. The disturbance, she realized, came not from the sound itself, but from wishing it weren’t there.

This was the essence of Buddha’s realization 2,500 years ago. We all experience what he called dukkha. The word is conventionally translated as “suffering,” but in Pali, the language of Buddha’s time, dukkha is the negation of the word sukha, meaning “at ease.” So dukkha might more generally be translated as not-at-ease, or discontent—an experience we all can relate to.


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~ by desertrose on October 25, 2015.

2 Responses to “How To Quiet Your Mind In Even The Loudest Settings”

  1. Great advice for exploring the sound, I think that can be applied for many things we may think are ‘disturbing’ us.

    • Some of us tend to focus on the disturbances in a dismissive manner . Something to be gotten rid of as opposed to something that is to be understood and accepted. It is that myopic approach that limits us in life, IMHO. I think the author of this piece hit the nail on the head. We must accept those things that disturb or hinder us in order to overcome them. Ignoring them or wishing them away will never give the results that facing and resolving them will accomplish.
      Thank you for stopping by and taking t he time to share your thoughts 🙂

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