Here’s how to treat these noises so they do not stay with you and ‘ruin’ your meditation session:
- Acknowledge the noise by naming it: ‘traffic sounds’, ‘talking’, ‘cell phone’, ‘coughing’. Labeling it allows you to be somewhat distant from it, so you observe it rather than allowing it to attach to you.
- See yourself as transparent – the noise just passes right through you and then leaves.
- See these noises as external to you. Don’t take these noises on and let them into your being.
- Notice your own reaction – it may be ‘annoyed’, ‘irritated’, etc – acknowledge your reaction, the bring the focus back to your meditation.
- See these noises and your reaction to them as ‘visitors’. They are temporary, and come and go.
As with anything that distracts you during a meditation session, simply and gently bring your attention back to the focus of your meditation. Do not be hard on yourself when you get distracted.
A healthy attitude to have regarding noises during meditation:
Learning to manage your reactions to noises is a good thing. It builds your tolerance to noises, distractions, annoyances in day-to-day life. As you build your ‘blanket’ of calm through the practice of meditation and mindfulness, you are better able to live your life amongst such noises and rise above them. So don’t worry when there are noises during your meditation practice – it will teach you acceptance and tolerance.
You do not have to create a perfectly quiet space in order to meditate.
Distractions, a busy mind, noises, thoughts – these are all normal to have several times in a meditation session, so do not fret about these, but do learn how to manage them.