As part of our #MeditationHacks series, we share how to work with external noise in meditation.
Question: I can’t seem to escape from external noise when meditating. What should I do?
Answer: We’re usually counseled to find a quiet nook in which to do our meditation, especially when starting out, so that we can focus on the task at hand. Assuming that you can’t sniff out such a haven, there’s really only one thing you can do: sit with the noise. After all, getting comfortable with “what is” is a big part of the work we do while meditating, and that includes traffic noise and kids playing. Granted, hearing your neighbor’s TV or loud music is good cause to keep looking for a personal sitting sanctuary, because electronic noise is particularly hard to work with. But one Buddhist group we know of met every morning for weeks while a work-crew, complete with jackhammer, was loudly demolishing things just outside their zendo. Yes, there was some frustration among the sitters. But they also shared some good laughs—and learned to keep up their sitting through less-than-ideal, even bone-rattling circumstances.
Your Partner Disapproves?
A new meditator’s spouse disapproves of their newfound practice. Susan Piver, founder of The Open Heart Project, answers.
Other Ways to Practice?
Vipassana teacher Konda Mason answers the question: “Is it OK if I find other ways to be meditative besides sitting on a cushion following my breath?”
Not Enlightened Yet?
Author and musician Miguel Chen comforts a practitioner who doesn’t seem to be getting any closer to enlightenment.
Buddhist Traditions: Which Way to Go?
Rev. angel Kyodo williams, founder of the Center for Transformative Change, advises on what to do when confronted with too many choices.
Author and psychoanalyst, Pilar Jennings, offers advice to a practitioner who continues to feel unworthy and unloved.
Sleepy Mind, Monkey Mind?
Anita Feng, teacher for the Blue Heron Zen Community in Seattle, helps a practitioner navigate the path between drowsiness and daydreaming.
Is Meditation Painful?
Buddhist teacher Mushim Patricia Ikeda suggest alternatives when meditation becomes too painful.
Don’t Like Meditating?
Lila Kate Wheeler, author and trainer at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, answers what to do if you don’t like to meditate.
Practicing for Myself?
A Mahayana Buddhist who is encouraged to practice for the benefit of all sentient being feels like they are only practicing for their own benefit. Venerable Thubten Chodron answers.
Meditation Leading to an Unstable Mind?
Josh Bartok, a Zen teacher, suggest what to do if meditating leads to an unstable mind.
Still a Schmuck?
A reader asks Sylvia Boorstein: “What’s the point of practice if it’s not making me a better person?”
Overwhelmed by Emotions?
Author and lay Zen teacher Susan Moon is asked: “Should I stop meditating when emotions begin to overwhelm me?”
Practicing on Your Own?
An isolated practitioner asks dharma teacher Mitchell Ratner where to look for community.
Too Busy to Meditate?
As part of our #MeditationHacks series, Vinny Ferraro, senior faculty of Mindful Schools, instructs a parent too busy to maintain a meditation practice, asking: Are there moments in your day when you could check in with yourself?
Not Trying Hard Enough?
Tenku Ruff, a Zen priest, answers the question about finding the balance between trying too hard and not trying hard enough.
Eyes Open or Closed?
Whether you keep your eyes open or closed during meditation depends on your approach.
Am I Breathing Wrong?
You can’t breathe wrong. Generally, Buddhist meditation is not a yogic practice in which you’re supposed to breathe in a particular way.
Feel Like Jumping Off the Cushion?
As part of our #MeditationHacks series, we share what to do when you feel like jumping off the cushion.
The Correct Hand Position for Buddhist Meditation?
We share an explanation of different hand positions used in Buddhist meditation.
Two Tricks for Would-Be Meditators
I’ve carved out time and space in my home for meditation. But, I still find it so easy to avoid it! Are there any tricks that can help?