Tag Archives: meditation

Noisy neighbours

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In my experience Spirit have a great sense of humour and of irony.  The selection of the topic for this next piece illustrates both. I picked a story ‘at random’ out of a newspaper. I was expecting war, crime, politics…I got a story about noisy neighbours. At the time of writing, I *had* noisy neighbours – ones who stomped about above me and builders who’d been working next door for over a year. At times I felt they’d drive me crazy, and yes I’d often cite them as the reason I ‘couldn’t’ meditate, or write with spirit, or work on my book as I’d planned to do…

Clearly, spirit thought I needed a little pep talk about this more than I needed to produce a piece on social injustice. And as it turned out, so did the rest of the class (need the pep talk, I mean ;)). So I thought I’d share it with you, too. Given my state of agitation when it came to said noise, I wanted someone calming to write with. So there I was, asking Buddha to talk to me about noisy neighbours. I felt a bit bad bothering him with such a trifle but he didn’t seem to mind.

 

Noisy neighbours – Buddha, 19 July 2014

Tolerance is a strange thing. It is something that may be learned consciously but it is something that may also be learned unconsciously.

Think of your noisy neighbours, my child. They may be making the same degree of noise but, depending on how you are engaged at the time, your response is different.

If you are sleeping and their noise wakes you, you feel irritated. You assign to them feelings or beliefs that have no basis in fact. You feel they are inconsiderate. They may well consider themselves to be dutiful and fruitful – carrying out their work at the prescribed time.

Now, when you are happily occupied – absorbed in conversation or activity, or the company of friends or family – you may not even notice that same noise. Consider also the times when you have lived beside a busy road. At first you could not imagine sleeping through – how did you describe it – such a racket. And yet, before too many weeks had passed you slept undisturbed.

The mind, body and soul are interlinked, of course. Each has mechanisms for coping with disturbance. After a time your conscious mind can choose to ignore the disturbance, just as your soul will always choose to note the noise, accept it, learn what there is to be learned from it and move on. It is your mind, your ego, which chooses to label the noise ‘a disturbance’ – to assign emotion to the fact, to react to it emotionally.

It is your choice whether or not to be disturbed. Are they noisy neighbours – or are you simply hearing noises that your neighbours are making?

This concept has much broader applications. Much of human life is busy, loud, challenging. There are myriad opportunities in every day of your lives to be disturbed, distracted, irritated; to feel put upon. And yet, none of them *must* disturb you.

No matter how crowded your day, mind or environment, there is always peace and space within. Choose the peace, the space, which does not depend on others, which is not affected by others – and you will not be disturbed unless you wish or choose to be.

Sometimes distraction is a good and valuable thing. Sometimes it breaks you away from unproductive activity or from negative or destructive thoughts. There is much wisdom in the adage ‘you need to get out of yourself’. You are human; you require interactions, social contact, to fully experience your life and to know its joys.

But when the outside world begins to feel noisy or distracting, step away from the labels, from the judgment of others’ activity, and seek the peace within. It is good practice, healthy practice, for you to be able to move from one state to the other – from interaction to stillness – with ease.

To be human is to be flawed in such perfect ways. To be human is to seek learning from the peace of spirit, just as to be spirit is to seek learning from the noise of what it is to be human.

There is no such thing as a noisy neighbour. There are only people being heard by you. How you respond is indicative of how you view the world and to what extent you are in contact with the stillness that forever resides within.

Peace to you all.

The lesson and the lark

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The following session of writing with spirit felt more like a vivid guided meditation – a feeling that was reinforced when I read it back. If only I could impersonate Jy’s voice, I might be tempted to record this one and play it when I need to chill out after a challenging day.

A country walk with Jy, 5 April 2014

I wish to take you for a country walk, as so many of you will begin to enjoy now your weather is improving. I wish to stroll with you along a lane, across a field and down to the banks of a stream, where we may observe the water and all that lives within it.

As we walk we will talk and our conversation will be joyful. But as we walk and talk we will also observe. We will drink in the beauty of nature; we will use all of the senses with which your fine bodies are graced. We will enjoy each other’s discourse but we will not miss the beauty around us and the joy to be had from it. We will be fully aware.

So let us imagine, bizarre as it may seem, that my words here are our conversation. As we discuss them, as you question me and I playfully respond – for what sort of a teacher, or a good companion, does not have a sense of humour? – as we chatter amongst ourselves, what else is there to see, to feel?

Feel the hard-packed earth of the lane beneath your feet. Feel the breeze upon your skin. Do you feel the warmth of the sun upon your cheek? Hear the bird that chirrups from the tree above, the buzz of the bee as it bumbles by. Now, as we cross through the gap in the hedgerow, smell the blossom, feel the scratch upon your hand of hawthorn. Feel the new softness and give under your feet as hard-packed earth changes to grass.

But do not lose track of what I am saying! Do you need to beg my pardon as you admire the buttercups but miss my joke? Aha – you are not fully open and using all the senses with which you are blessed.

Feel the temperature change as we pass beneath the shade of the oak and discuss our need to be aware. Aware of ourselves but also of life around us; of our direction but also of those opportunities and beauties along the way.

As we reach the stream, refreshing our thirst and cooling our feet within its clear, gurgling waters, we admire the firm brown fish which shimmer in the shallows, the flowing green weeds which bend and sway in the currents. And our shared laughter gurgles like the stream. Time flows like the water. Our energies mingle and mix like the water and the weed, the weed and the fish.

Your journeys through life are like walk. Your attitude, your focus, may change from minute to minute. There will be many calls upon your time, energy and attention. Try to be measured, be prepared. Keep yourself well and energetic, so that you may enjoy the meadow and the mind, the field and the friend, the lesson and the lark.

Life is rich. Partake of its richness. Do not rush so towards the end that you lose sight of the experiences that will bring joy along the way.