Tips for dealing with intrusive noise when practicing mindfulness?

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philosopher
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Tips for dealing with intrusive noise when practicing mindfulness?

Post by philosopher » Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:01 am

I work very hard to maintain mindfulness throughout the day, stopping every half hour to note how mindful I was in last 30 minutes. I find that intrusive noises - barking dogs, children shrieking, etc - really draw me away from whatever my object of concentration is. I have a number of serious stressors at the moment, including a severe chronic pain condition, and am finding that a huge amount of anger and resentment arises when I hear these noises from my "inconsiderate" neighbors. Any tips for using perceptions to change how I relate to the noise itself? (I think that would work better for me at the moment than trying lovingkindness for the neighbors, etc)

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bodom
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Re: Tips for dealing with intrusive noise when practicing mindfulness?

Post by bodom » Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:25 am

Ajahn Chah knew that cutting yourself off was not the place of true inner peace. This was because of his own years of trying to make the world shut up and leave him alone. He failed miserably. Eventually he was able to see this is not how to find completion and resolution. Years ago he was a wandering monk, living on his own on a mountainside above a village and keeping a strict meditation schedule. In Thailand they love outdoor night-long film shows because the nights are cool compared to the very hot days.

Whenever there was a party, it tended to go on all night. About 50 years ago, public address systems were just starting to be used in Thailand and every decent event had to have a PA going. It blasted as loud as it possibly could all through the night. One time, Ajahn Chah was quietly meditating up on the mountain while there was a festival going on down in the village. All the local folk songs and pop music were amplified throughout the area. Ajahn Chah was sitting there seething and thinking, “Don’t they realize all the bad karma involved in disturbing my meditation? They know I’m up here. After all, I’m their teacher. Haven’t they learned anything? And what about the five precepts? I bet they’re boozing and out of control,” and so on and so forth.

But Ajahn Chah was a pretty smart fellow. As he listened to himself complaining, he quickly realized, “Well, they’re just having a good time down there. I’m making myself miserable up here. No matter how upset I get, my anger is just making more noise internally.” And then he had this insight: “Oh, the sound is just the sound. It’s me who is going out to annoy it. If I leave the sound alone, it won’t annoy me. It’s just doing what it has to do. That’s what sound does. It makes sound. This is its job. So if I don’t go out and bother the sound, it’s not going to bother me. Aha!”

As it turned out, this insight had such a profound effect that it became a principle that he espoused from that time on. If any of the monks displayed an urge to try and get away from people, stimulation, the world of things and responsibilities, he would tend to shove them straight into it. He would put that monk in charge of the cement-mixing crew or take him to do every house blessing that came up on the calendar. He would make sure that the monk had to get involved in things because he was trying to teach him to let go of seeing meditation as needing sterile conditions—to see, in fact, that most wisdom arises from the skilful handling of the world’s abrasions.

Ajahn Chah was passing along an important insight. It’s pointless to try to find peace through nullifying or erasing the sense world. Peace only comes through not giving that world more substantiality or more reality than it actually possesses.

–Ajahn Amaro in Small Boat, Great Mountain

https://www.abhayagiri.org/books/small- ... t-mountain

:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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Cittasanto
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Re: Tips for dealing with intrusive noise when practicing mindfulness?

Post by Cittasanto » Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:41 am

philosopher wrote:I work very hard to maintain mindfulness throughout the day, stopping every half hour to note how mindful I was in last 30 minutes. I find that intrusive noises - barking dogs, children shrieking, etc - really draw me away from whatever my object of concentration is.
The fact you recognize this is a sign of minfulness.
I have a number of serious stressors at the moment, including a severe chronic pain condition, and am finding that a huge amount of anger and resentment arises when I hear these noises from my "inconsiderate" neighbors.
Are they inconsiderate? both the examples you give "barking dogs, children shrieking" are not the doing of the neighbours, rather, it is the doing of dogs and children. where you a child? can you not understand how children are when upset?
Any tips for using perceptions to change how I relate to the noise itself? (I think that would work better for me at the moment than trying lovingkindness for the neighbors, etc)
it is not about you, it is what you can expect in life. (both from the Suttas). you have an expectation in life and it is too high for the situation you live. causes and conditions led to the shrieking and barking.

It is an opportunity to cultivate samadhi, try to develop understanding and develop samadhi regardless of what is happening.

Kind Regards
Cittasanto
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He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
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Goofaholix
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Re: Tips for dealing with intrusive noise when practicing mindfulness?

Post by Goofaholix » Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:55 am

Mindfulness practice is about attending to whatever is happening here and now, it's not about shutting out some experiences and concentrating on others, it sounds like you are doing concentration practice not mindfulness practice.

With mindfulness practice you should notice that you are hearing, notice your reaction to what you are hearing, the reaction to the reaction... notice that settling down again. You do this over and over again, eventually you'll let go of your reactivity to sound. Until you learn let go of reactivity to sound concentration practice will probably be quite frustrating.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

chownah
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Re: Tips for dealing with intrusive noise when practicing mindfulness?

Post by chownah » Fri Aug 18, 2017 3:15 am

philosopher wrote:Any tips for using perceptions to change how I relate to the noise itself?
I recommend something from the dhatu-vibhanga sutta:
One should not be negligent of discernment, should guard the truth, be devoted to relinquishment, and train only for calm.
chownah

philosopher
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Re: Tips for dealing with intrusive noise when practicing mindfulness?

Post by philosopher » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:27 am

Goofaholix wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:55 am
Mindfulness practice is about attending to whatever is happening here and now, it's not about shutting out some experiences and concentrating on others, it sounds like you are doing concentration practice not mindfulness practice.

With mindfulness practice you should notice that you are hearing, notice your reaction to what you are hearing, the reaction to the reaction... notice that settling down again. You do this over and over again, eventually you'll let go of your reactivity to sound. Until you learn let go of reactivity to sound concentration practice will probably be quite frustrating.
Thank you; this sounds like excellent advice. I'm going to put it into practice. Would you recommend using noting to accomplish what you've described above? i.e. "sound," "anger," "jaw clenching," "pain in neck," etc

Dinsdale
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Re: Tips for dealing with intrusive noise when practicing mindfulness?

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:54 am

philosopher wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:27 am
Goofaholix wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:55 am
Mindfulness practice is about attending to whatever is happening here and now, it's not about shutting out some experiences and concentrating on others, it sounds like you are doing concentration practice not mindfulness practice.

With mindfulness practice you should notice that you are hearing, notice your reaction to what you are hearing, the reaction to the reaction... notice that settling down again. You do this over and over again, eventually you'll let go of your reactivity to sound. Until you learn let go of reactivity to sound concentration practice will probably be quite frustrating.
Thank you; this sounds like excellent advice. I'm going to put it into practice. Would you recommend using noting to accomplish what you've described above? i.e. "sound," "anger," "jaw clenching," "pain in neck," etc
I use simple noting at the sense bases and find it a useful aid to maintaining mindfulness. Try it and see.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Goofaholix
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Re: Tips for dealing with intrusive noise when practicing mindfulness?

Post by Goofaholix » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:01 pm

philosopher wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:27 am
Thank you; this sounds like excellent advice. I'm going to put it into practice. Would you recommend using noting to accomplish what you've described above? i.e. "sound," "anger," "jaw clenching," "pain in neck," etc
When I use the word "notice" above you can substitute "note", note and notice are the same thing.

However if you understand noting and labeling as the same thing this is not really the case, labeling is something extra that you add when the mind is unsettled and you want to get a momentum of mindfulness going. If that's where you are at then add labeling to your practice but later when noting is more consistent and automatic labeling will start to feel clunky so drop it.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

jabalí
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Re: Tips for dealing with intrusive noise when practicing mindfulness?

Post by jabalí » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:35 pm

bodom wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:25 am
Ajahn Chah knew ...
Thank you

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