Yesterday I was leading a meditation session at my local library which is right in the middle of town. We were in a lovely bright room and there were 11 people at the session. To avoid it getting too warm we had the windows open. Just as we were into our first meditation the dustbin lorry pulled up outside and made masses of noise. Through the banging and clattering I simply continued, pausing every now and then so I didn’t have to raise my voice to compete with the noise.
I thought no more of it and eventually the lorry moved on and we enjoyed peace again. When we had finished the session a couple of the ladies mentioned the noise to me and said what a shame it was that there had been all that noise, they thought it was rubbish! (excuse the pun!). I explained that actually a distracting noise can be really useful…
If you sit to meditate and someone starts clattering about near you, or the phone starts to ring, or your next door neighbour starts to use a strimmer, don’t get cross and frustrated. Getting wound up by such distractions will certainly take away from your meditation session. Instead choose to use the noise as a reminder.
When we sit to meditate our minds wander. They drift off into thought often and part of learning to meditate and train your brain is learning to redirect your attention back to the exercise, usually to your breath. So if a noise begins treat it as a reminder to be mindful. Each time a thought about the noise pops into your head notice it as a thought and then redirect your attention. This way the distraction actually does you a favour, it helps you to spot when you have become distracted from the focus of your attention and thereby gives you the opportunity to correct it. Perfect.
So no more noise stress. Enjoy your meditation whatever is going on around you.
Come on a Revitalise Day to get more useful tips on better meditation and mindful living. The day retreat is a really lovely break from everyday life and could be just what you need to get inspired by this new way of living.