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To meditate or not to meditate...in a noisy city?

As a keen mediator I have always struggled with the distraction of noise. It is the one thing that can pull me out of the most beautiful spaces a bit like a jack in the box. Whilst in McLeod Ganj, India the Dalai Lama was in town and meditating just 10 minutes down the road from my hotel in his monastery. The energy was incredible but being located right by the main road so was the noise. I had to crank up the soft lilting music in my iPhone to drown out the car horns so I could take in the serenity of if His Holiness. Sounds a bit like trying to be in two places at once right? Well India being India, and since I was hanging out in the part of her that has a profound Tibetan heart I had a wonderful synchronicity. One day as I was concentrating hard on both avoiding the onslaught of traffic and the open drains than conveniently run along the full length of the road where pedestrians have no other choice but to walk, I came across a random poster on a lamp post. On it was advertised the opportunity to learn how to meditate using sound as an anchor to deepen mediation practice. I couldn’t believe my eyes nor my luck as, I may add, a cow calmly rubbed by me swishing her tail not seeming to be too bothered one way or the other about the traffic or the risk of plunging south into the relaxed and open local infrastructure!
I looked a bit more closely and I noticed the workshop dates and I had missed it. It was the end of the season, it was cold and there is no heating in that town so in the wisdom of their ways most of the meditation teachers go South. But there was the name of a book ‘The Joy Of Living’ by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche that these teachings were based upon. In this book this Buddhist master and teacher weaves together the principles of Tibetan Buddhism and science and it makes a fascinating read. Finding links between these different paths that demonstrates these apples of knowledge and wisdom haven’t fallen too far from one another, one however just may have ripened a long time before the other.

Whilst reading this book I came across the chapter about meditating on sound many months later after my experience in McLeod Ganj and to be honest I had totally forgotten about this concept. Living in London I feel really plagued by noise so I was intrigued to try out the technique and I loved it. I had found a way to turn my number one irritant into an effective relaxant. Another benefit of using sound as the anchor in meditation is that it gradually teaches us to detach from assigning meaning to the various sounds we hear. This reduces any emotional responses we may have whilst listening to someone shouting at us for example. Bringing about a much more relaxed and balanced attitude no matter what noise is happening around us. Hands up who could do with a bit of that in their lives? I thought so. ‘The Joy Of Living’ is a great read written by a great teacher. Jump online and buy it, you won’t be disappointed. All the best, Lisa.

Posted by Lisa Tully 08:24 Archived in India Tagged travel india buddhism meditation tibet lama tibetan mcleod ganj dharamsala dalai rinpoche yongey mingpur

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