If you regularly meditate or engage in contemplation, you might sometimes find a bit of difficulty engaging in that sweet, quiet space within. That’s normal, even the most advanced meditators have admitted that they sometimes encounter those situations.
Trying to engage the mind in creative pursuits and remain focused on the task at hand can also be challenging for many of us. This is especially true these days with the plethora of gadgets and the web with its own universe of distractions.
I’m having one of those tests right now as I write these words. It’s a lovely spring morning with temperatures in the low 50s Fahrenheit. The birds are singing and screeching, the sky is perfectly clear and the ground is bright green. The sounds of roofers installing new shingles on my roof are foremost at hand.
Humans are very perceptive, sensitive creatures. Sometimes we love to engage in extreme activities that include brilliant light, high speed, intense stress and loud noise. Generally, those experiences are not only enjoyed, they are actively pursued. There are other times where stress and noise are actively shunned and avoided because we don’t plan them or the intense sensations are just something to endure. I think of having a tooth filled at the dentist’s office.
Endurance is my opinion of this morning’s noise level. The men who are engaged in the hard work of installing roofing materials are polite, skillful folks providing a much needed service to society and to me. I know that the job will be finished by the end of the day. The result being protection from weather elements. I’ll be snug and comfortable in this little house. I’ll be largely uninterrupted, too.
But now, there is a radio blasting hard rock music, an air compressor cycling on and off to power the nailing guns. From time to time a worker tosses a bundle of shingles onto the roof making a loud crash that vibrates my room. I hear footsteps and the shuffling of material. Sometimes voices shout out and other times I hear laughter. But mostly, I’m aware of constant sounds. Sounds that are unfamiliar to me. These sounds are normal to the roofers.
Just paying attention to these various aspects and writing them down does much to bring a sense of centeredness to the process of writing this post. Instead of fighting against the interruptions and extreme noise, I am going with the flow, as much as I can. I don’t think I can sit in quiet meditation and contemplation in this environment, but that is not my point, now.
My point is to appreciate being a part of the real world. Much of that appreciation is in the active gratitude of the effort put into improving my real life living space. The roofers’ efforts make my life better.
This is not airy fairy thinking. It’s also not heavy philosophy. It’s just the act of paying attention and finding that space inside that accepts the world for what it is and how my little life fits into the grand scheme of things. In doing so, I find that I not only endure the inconvenience of the construction activity, I can find something of interest in the toil that is taking place above my head.
In my own opinion, I’ve found that in order to become centered inside, I need to let go, accept and engage in the real world outside my habitual bubble.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Ted Shawn. “I wanted to see if the American man in plain brown pants and a bare torso could speak profound things.”