If meditators lead lives based on
selfishness, they are likely to bring exactly the same
approach to their meditation and will be short-tempered,
angry, uptight meditators. If their ambition is to have a
completely silent mind, and people close-by make noises, they
will think that all these people around them are disturbing
their meditation and taking away their peace of mind!
Eventually, every noise will become their enemy. When we think
like that, we become very emotional, and then where is our
meditation? Therefore, if we notice that we are becoming
short-tempered, uptight and getting headaches, we should know
that we are meditating in a wrong way. Never allow yourself to
meditate like that!
`Noise is a challenge. If we can make it
part of our meditation, we will really make progress. If we
are able to somehow incorporate the noise into our meditation,
we will feel confident that we can literally meditate in the
middle of the traffic. Noise can no longer bother us.
While meditating, some people get
disturbed by what they see. They close their eyes in order not
to see what is in front of them, but then something else will
start disturbing them. They want to get rid of all sorts of
things and their sight becomes their enemy. Meditation should
not be an excuse to blame something or somebody for taking
away our inner peace. This is a wrong way of thinking, because
if we accept everything that comes our way, then nothing can
bother us anymore and our inner peace is there all the time.
The point is that whatever obstacle arises, if a meditator
blames that for not finding inner peace, then eventually every
object becomes our enemy.
Let me give you an example from my own
life. When I began my long retreat in Woodstock, New York, I
had a nice house next to the monastery and all the conditions
were wonderful for practice, so I was very happy.
However, soon after my retreat started,
the monastery decided to start a major building project right
next to my house. The whole area became a building site, full
of heavy machinery, so my whole house was shaking. They even
cut off my electricity and water supply! I was very upset - I
felt that my retreat was ruined.It gave me so much trouble I
could hardly meditate.
Things got really bad and I was so upset
by the noise and shaking, but then my teacher came to see me
and said: the noise is your meditation. This really helped me.
I stopped fighting it, and began to accept it. This was a real
turning point. It is very important for a practitioner to
accept noise. If you don't, if noise becomes your enemy, then
eventually everything will be your enemy and you will be
unable to practise. During your meditation if you are bothered
with noise instead of seeing it as your enemy, you should make
it your friend. So this was a very important lesson for
However, maybe my noise karma was not yet
exhausted, because when I did my second retreat at Samye Ling
in Scotland, I had a beautiful quiet house with a porch, and
then the monastery decided to rebuild the Purelands Retreat
Centre right on my doorstep. So again the whole place became a
building site! In fact, the workers began to pile up their
tools and dusty bags of cement right inside my porch! But it
was okay for me. I began to think, Lama Yeshe, you must
meditate for them. They are working so hard, they are building
a retreat centre for others to practise the Dharma. You must
practise for them. So I encourage all of you to work with
noise and disturbance and not to feel that they are obstacles.
Then you can meditate anywhere and find peace no matter
Meditation means simple acceptance. How
can we talk about being non-judgmental, non-grasping, if we
have so many judgements in our mind, expecting certain
feelings out of our meditation and completely rejecting some
other experiences? People who adopt such an attitude are in a
way like boxers going into the ring. They are thumping and
punching, but they are the losers, because there is actually
nobody to box! For a good meditator, all mental activities are
nothing more than clouds in the sky. They come from nowhere
and disappear into nowhere.
Many people come to tell me that it's an
easy thing to say, but that these are real things happening!
Real things are happening because you let yourself think it is
really happening! If you go on insisting that it's really
there, I ask you again, how big is it, what shape, size and
colour does it have? If you answer that it has none of these
material characteristics, then how can you call it a real
thing happening? You made it real!
We build up things like, for instance,
friends. We think we really like a person and start thinking
of all his/her good qualities. We build it up and that person
gets better and better every day! But when things turn sour,
we start seeing faults and the next day we notice more and
more. Our belief in the reality of our feelings is what causes
so much unhappiness - unnecessary unhappiness.These feelings
may start as something very small but day after day we nurture
them and make them grow. Whenever you meditate and you think
that real things are truly happening, just investigate what is
there. Instead of running away, confront them and say, OK, I
want to introduce myself to you. I want to know you better. If
you really approach it that way, you will realise that nothing
is actually happening.