Using Ear Muffs During Meditation?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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ehensens
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Using Ear Muffs During Meditation?

Post by ehensens » Sun May 06, 2018 1:35 am

Hello everyone!

My schedule requires that I do my daily sitting early in the morning before work. At this time, my 4 month old son is often quite noisy, sometimes crying and the like, and he is physically close to where I sit (and there is nowhere else in the house that I can easily sit).

I have been using some very powerful ear muffs during my sitting that block out pretty much all sound. On one hand, I know that ideally I should meditate without aversion to specific sounds. On the other hand, I am very new to the practice (only around 7 months) and I am attempting to build my samadhi and I feel like silence is the best way to do so.

I've heard very respectable people give various teachings on this subject. Larry Rosenberg talks about a specific retreat at the Insight Meditation Society in which construction noise at the retreat center bothered the meditators, but Larry insisted that a pleasant noise and an unpleasant noise are the same in that neither should be attached to and neither should prevent meditation. I see his point.

However, I've also seen a YouTube video in which Bhante G. talks about the various levels of Jhana and he specifically talks about setting up the environment just right - turning on a humidifier, making sure the dog isn't going to disrupt you, etc.

Does anyone have any opinions on this subject, i.e. is it skillful/unskillful to specifically create silence during your meditation as opposed to just being with whatever is in your environment?

Thank you very much in advance for any thoughts! :thanks:

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mikenz66
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Re: Using Ear Muffs During Meditation?

Post by mikenz66 » Sun May 06, 2018 3:32 am

Hi ehensens

You are right. Eventually the noise should not bothet you. But when you are starting it can be difficult.

Besides, your son crying is much worse than construction noise, since you can't do anything about construction, but potentially you could help your son. So the distraction is much worse.

So I would use the muffs!

Mike

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Sam Vara
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Re: Using Ear Muffs During Meditation?

Post by Sam Vara » Sun May 06, 2018 6:16 am

I agree with Mike about the use of ear muffs, but would add one small but vital point. Your son's crying is designed to be the most distracting and irritating noise in your world, because his survival depends on you or someone else paying him attention when he needs it. Is he crying to exercise his lungs, or because he is distressed and needs attention? And if the latter, is someone else paying him attention - your partner, presumably?

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mikenz66
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Re: Using Ear Muffs During Meditation?

Post by mikenz66 » Sun May 06, 2018 8:33 am

Ha ha! Yes, I should have added that, but I was giving ehensens the benefit of the doubt that they would not use ear muffs in a way that could jeopardize safety... :tongue:

:heart:
Mike

ehensens
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Re: Using Ear Muffs During Meditation?

Post by ehensens » Sun May 06, 2018 2:05 pm

Thank you both for the replies! Yes, in retrospect I should have added that my wonderful wife is very supportive of my practice and takes excellent care of my son while I am meditating. My plan has been to use the ear muffs for a year or two more until he is no longer diruptive to my sitting and then giving up the ear muffs at that time, it sounds like you both would agree that that is a skillful way to go? Anyone else agree or disagree? Thanks again!

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ryanM
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Re: Using Ear Muffs During Meditation?

Post by ryanM » Sun May 06, 2018 2:21 pm

As Ajahn Chah said... It's not the noise that disturbs you, but you who disturbs the noise. Can you make peace with the crying? Honestly, I think that having the right attitude towards the crying will make your sittings a lot easier in the future because we can't control what our ears pick up. Either way, sitting is good with or without the ear muffs.
sabbe dhammā nālaṃ abhinivesāya

"nothing whatsoever should be clung to"

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Dhammarakkhito
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Re: Using Ear Muffs During Meditation?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Sun May 06, 2018 7:24 pm

different levels of grasping are involved
for jhana you have to or should be secluded but you are not secluded with craving as your partner
this is why it's important to make merit. dana and sila and then it will be easier to let go of your surroundings
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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ehensens
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Re: Using Ear Muffs During Meditation?

Post by ehensens » Sun May 06, 2018 11:05 pm

Thank you all very much for your thoughts. I am going to ditch the ear muffs so that I don’t get attached to the silence. Your quoting Ajahn Chah inspired me; I am just now at the end of Food For The Heart and I remember that part... I suppose I was just stubborn in the face of his teaching. :thanks: :bow:

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Mkoll
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Re: Using Ear Muffs During Meditation?

Post by Mkoll » Wed May 23, 2018 9:25 am

Hello there,

I don't think it has to be either-or. Personally, if it's noisy sometimes I put on my active noise canceling headphones with some deep brown noise to drown everything out (including my heartbeat). Sometimes I'll just meditate with the noise. Either way, I'm putting effort into the practice. So the way I see it, either way is all good. :)

I consider myself a beginner as well. :)
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

auto
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Re: Using Ear Muffs During Meditation?

Post by auto » Wed May 23, 2018 11:53 am

don't use anything to ignore the needy sound.

A cat can beg attention and can make you feel like you have to do something for the cat. Its a perfect opportunity to cultivate. That is where is meant you can meditate thousands of hours but that moment is still more meritous even if it takes only few minutes of your time.

*not that simple, since you actually doesn't need do it physically if you could do it mentally, so the thing is to notice the feeling or urge and then act because to avoid coming it a habit and miss the feeling in the future.

Cultivating that feeling you get perception and can then eventually affect yourself and it works as a cure. Bascially the needy sound comes around back to you.

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