In all traditions, meditation and spiritual practice are linked to the cultivation of silence. The silence and the relaxation have a relationship of very important feedback with the practice. To move faster is very useful to be able to have access to a proper space in which prevails the tranquility and the mind does not see attacked by constant external stimuli that are difficult to control. The silence is really a blessing.
That said, we all know that the conditions of modern life do not provide easily a quiet space and quiet to meditate. Before the march frenzy of productivity and progress, silence has become a rarity, in a species of luxury that in fact it is a necessity. And it is precisely for this reason —because of the enormous stress to which we are subject that the more we have to meditate and seek to create at least one inner silence. As they say popularly: meditate 20 minutes a day and if you can’t even find 20 minutes a day, then meditate for an hour, because really what you need.
So, since it is not easy or even desirable to give up all the world, we must incorporate our meditation to the noisy train of the day to day existence. The monk theravada German Nyanaponika Thera, in his classic The Heart of Buddhist Meditation, he explains that one should not be irritated or upset by the occurrence of unwanted thoughts”, but they are to be taken in themselves as objects of meditation or mindfulness (mindfulness). And if irritation arises and persists, then one should take the opportunity to contemplate in these reactions the own obstacles or poisons of our mind. This may seem like a torture: to meditate on what exactly we want to free ourselves —and by which probably we start meditating in the first place. However, there is a great difference between the state of autoobsevación of meditation and the state of being shaken by an emotion such as anger, lust or aversion. What the buddhist meditation teaches is to observe the afflictions of our mind when they arise, as a scientist would observe desapegadamente the bloodstream in your laboratory or some other object under the microscope (in this case the microscope is mindfulness, samadhi). The scientist does not become what he is observing. So one is creating a healthy distance between your attention and your emotions and allows you to notice them without frustration or engagement.
All of this applies in the same manner to the noises and phenomena irritants and external is that for buddhism there is no absolute separation between external and internal, both are correlative, expressions of the nature of mind which encompasses everything. Says Nyanaponika Thera:
If, for example, there is a disturbing noise, one can notice it briefly as a “sound”; if it was immediately followed by a feeling of discomfort due to the perturbation, one should register it also as “mind with anger.” After that one should return to the meditation that was interrupted. But if one fails to do this in the first attempt, the same procedure should be repeated, If the noise is very loud and persistent and prevents you to stay attentive to the subject of your meditation, one can, until the noise ceases, continue taking it as the object of meditation, specifically as one of the bases of the six senses within the Contemplation of Mental Objects: “The meditator note the ear and the sound, and you realize the discomfort that arises in dependence on both…” On the fluctuations of the sound one can observe the emergence and dissolution; in its occurrence, intermittent, origination and disappearance, and their nature conditional becomes clear.
The key is in the ability not to merge cognitively with the noise or with some kind of external disturbance, but only notice it. If we can realize it and go back to focus on our meditation, this is what we need to do, since we will move faster in that topic or technique that we are using. If we cannot do this for issues of the magnitude of the disturbance or because of our lack of meditative absorption, we must at least be able to maintain a certain distance with the object, and not to lose our attention. We must not forget that we are meditating, we are placing the control of our attention; if we have this “mindfulness”, is not really very important to that object is headed, whether it be the noise of a machine in the street or our breathing, or a symbol subtle. The key is not to add our own mental phenomena, for example, not be listening to the noise of a hammer, and at the same time be thinking, “miserable I am, I want to meditate but there’s a fucking noise of a hammer that will not let me, it is so loud and annoying”. In this case, the phenomenon captures our attention. On the other hand, if one is able to observe so detached, these phenomena seemingly disadvantages can be very instructive. For example, you can appreciate the impermanence of all things or the absence of inherent existence in a sound like a water pump that is apparently constant, but if one observes carefully one will notice that it is composed of many oscillations, that what is constant is their arise and disappear and that in fact the sound is not in the pump itself, but in a whole series of conditions that contribute to our brain is aware of this, it is interdependent with a whole series of causes and conditions, and without them it would not exist. Also, establishing a meditation in an unfavorable environment serves as a basis for making meditation a steady state, to maintain the flow of mindfulness in daily activities, which is one of the essential objectives, as of little use if one can only achieve a state of peace of mind sitting meditating isolated and immediately lose it when they come in contact with the madding crowd.
Says Nyanaponika Thera:
In the awareness of the sensations disturbing one stops at just the mere act of noticing your presence without nurturing these feelings and thereby strengthen them so that one adds to the pure facts, that is, the mental attitudes of self-reference, excessive sensitivity, self-sympathy, envy, etc.
Here the venerable Nyanaponika Thera clearly distinguishes between what can be disturbing —the noise of a power saw, a migraine, the memory of the death of someone, etc., and our development and ruminación about this event within the space of our consciousness. In reality, the suffering does not exist in the mere phenomena, whether external or internal, is always the result of our loitering about them, our identification with them and our grasping conceptual vinculatorio the same. According to Nyanoponika Thera, taking it for the course of the Pali Canon, the great stumbling block that we face and that keep us in the wheel of suffering is our lack of ability to see the impersonality of things —it is only because we identify with a self that is fixed and stable, which are opposed to all objects of the world, that we opened an entire dimension of suffering, without that solid me separate and nothing can stick to us: we are free.
To complement this practice is recommended to study the slogan of mind training lojong in tibetan buddhism known as «taking adversity as the path».