The sound of silence…

When people think about meditation they probably picture somewhere quiet.

On a retreat, in nature, on a beach – generally somewhere that is calm and tranquil.

You rarely see pictures of someone meditating in a busy city centre.

But the reality is we don’t all live in serene and quiet places.

We live in chaotic and noisy towns and cities.

You might live near a busy road, there might be building work going on around you, dogs barking, people playing music… the list is endless.

But this is our reality, this is the world we live in.

So if you want to bring meditation into your world, you have to do it in your world, with all that noise and distraction.

This is where mindful meditation really comes into its own.

The idea is to be aware of what’s happening around you – to see, hear and feel it.

Being present to what is happening now.

Man sitting, observing
Photo by Jimmy Jimmy

You can take a seat anywhere – in a cafe, on a bench in the middle of the mall – and just watch and observe with a sense of curiosity, but without judgement.

Noting what people are wearing, how they interact and move.

Looking at the buildings around you – noticing the different architecture, structures, colours.

Listening to the sounds – initially it might just sound like a droning noise – but then start to pick out individual sounds.

Traffic – different engine noises, horns, sirens.

Voices, accents, laughter, music.

Sounds from a nearby cafe – the coffee machine, the clatter of crockery.

Maybe even what you can smell…

Then tapping into what you can feel, the breeze on your your face, the seat beneath you, your feet on the floor, your clothes.

Bring your awareness to your breath… and while you focus on your breath, keep observing all these sights, sounds and feelings – but at a distance now.

They are still there, but allow yourself to feel a sense of stillness as the world rushes by.

People in a busy city location
Photo by iSAW Company

After a while I find it feels like I’m in one of those time-lapse movies, I remain still but everything else moves quickly around me in a sort of blur.

The beauty is, no-one knows what you are doing, and you will find you can bring a sense of calm into a place of busyness and noise.

I don’t know who said it, and despite searching I can’t find the quote, but it’s something along the lines of ‘learn to meditate in the marketplace before you meditate on the mountain’.

Ann 🙏

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