Peace and Quiet

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  • lora
    Member
    • Jun 2008
    • 122

    Peace and Quiet

    Hello,

    Two young boys raised in the same village were the best of friends for years. When they were older both left their village and went their separate ways in search of the meaning of life. Many, many years later both headed back to their village from different directions. One was now a Zen Master and the other a highly respected Yogi. They met up and came face to face with each other. The Yogi placed his hands together and gave the traditional greeting of "Namaste". (The Divine in me salutes the Divine in you.). The Zen Master said nothing, he simply bowed his head. After a few seconds, they parted and went their separate ways once more. The Zen Master thought, "That guy still talks too much."

    (I hope this is not too badly paraphrased from a story that I remember from years ago).

    It came to me as I was doing my daily stuff a couple of days ago and I was thinking that it kind of sums up how I'm feeling lately. It's become somewhat of a chore to have an everyday conversation lately. Never thought I'd say that! I'm fed up with the sound of my own voice and the meaningless clutter of everyone else's. I don't really have too much to say to anyone about anything. I'm not depressed, I know those signs very well. This is simply a longing to be quiet. I think that is why I enjoyed the silent retreats that I attended. All pressure was off.

    Has anyone else experience this? Any comments? Anything?!

    Many blessings,
    lora
  • Fuken
    Member
    • Sep 2006
    • 435

    #2
    Re: Peace and Quiet

    Lora,
    Yes, I have experienced this! It is not permanent. I go through times where I step back and become introspective, and have bursts of moments where I just want to reach out and touch somebody. I think this is perfectly normal.

    Gassho,
    Jordan
    Yours in practice,
    Jordan ("Fu Ken" translates to "Wind Sword", Dharma name givin to me by Jundo, I am so glad he did not name me Wind bag.)

    Comment

    • chessie
      Member
      • Jun 2008
      • 266

      #3
      Re: Peace and Quiet

      I had to chuckle at this, with the SO close relating I feel to it! Years ago in college I would spend occasional days just wandering from class to class, and around town, in total silence, just because it felt good. Even to the point of taking Amer Sign Lang for a year, so that I'd have a quiet class! I'm an only child (and even an only grandchild). My husband is also an only child. When we first got married, on the days that he worked that I had off, I'd get up at 5 to make his breakfast, etc, and see him off (still do that after many years). On the days that *I worked and he had off*--he tried doing the same thing to reciprocate. Finally, I just told him that I didn't want him up that first hour, and that I need at least the first hour of the day in silence, by myself. Now that we carpool to work together, I still get up a little before him just to have that silent transition time. It's funny now, when I have to talk often through the day at work, my voice just feels tired, and I'm 'out of words' for the day. I learned years back that men & women each have a daily quota for the day...but that's probably a different thread. Gassho deep, Ann

      Comment

      • Shugen
        Treeleaf Unsui
        • Nov 2007
        • 4535

        #4
        Re: Peace and Quiet

        I now exactly how you feel! I lived alone for a long time and would go for days without talking to anyone. Now, I have kids and dogs and employees. My wife thinks the only reason I sit is for the peace and quiet I get.

        There are days I miss it and days I don't.

        Ron
        Meido Shugen
        明道 修眼

        Comment

        • lora
          Member
          • Jun 2008
          • 122

          #5
          Re: Peace and Quiet

          Hi,

          Thanks Ann and Jordan. Your replies are deeply appreciated.

          This has been going on for me for about 5 years now. It started, or at least when I first noticed, at a retreat (not a silent one) when by the end of the weekend I left everyone sitting in the meeting hall and went outside by myself. I felt like every nerve that I had in my body was jarred. Nothing untoward happened to precipitate this. I spoke with one monk who was there and said it was O.K., nothing to be concerned about and briefly mentioned continuing with my practice (it was Tibetan Buddhism at the time) and reading Shantideva's "Way of the Bodhisattva".

          Anyway, I did and did and nothing much has changed except that when I attended the silent retreats (not alone and three of them over a period of about one year), the feeling deepened.

          Anyway, part of the reason that I joined this sangha was because I felt a need to belong to a sangha of some sort and I liked what I read from others here. I also thought it might be a step to getting back to "normal", whatever the hell that is!

          I'm rambling now, I don't really know how to express what I'm feeling. Thanks again for the input,

          Many blessings,
          lora

          Comment

          • lora
            Member
            • Jun 2008
            • 122

            #6
            Re: Peace and Quiet

            Thank you, Ron!

            Many blessings,
            lora

            Comment

            • Dosho
              Member
              • Jun 2008
              • 5784

              #7
              Re: Peace and Quiet

              I can relate...my wife left for a conference on Sunday and won't be back until tomorrow, so I've had only a 3 year old as a conversation partner and very little time for sitting!

              Seriously though I do know what you mean. It's hard to find people who will just pick up where you left off if one needs to get away, even if it's just being quiet for awhile.

              Hopefully we provide some of that for you and if so that's a grand thing.

              Gassho,
              Scott

              Comment

              • will
                Member
                • Jun 2007
                • 2331

                #8
                Re: Peace and Quiet

                Hi Lora. The main thing I guess, is that you keep practicing Zazen.

                When someone speaks, it can be music. What is really getting annoyed?

                Think of all those yelling and preaching voices as a symphony to enjoy.

                Nothing wrong with quiet, to an extent it helps us see the beauty of the chatter and noise.

                All kinds of sounds are everywhere. Echos, squeeks, grainy, grinding voices, and so on.


                Have a good day

                Gassho Will
                [size=85:z6oilzbt]
                To save all sentient beings, though beings are numberless.
                To penetrate reality, though reality is boundless.
                To transform all delusion, though delusions are immeasurable.
                To attain the enlightened way, a way non-attainable.
                [/size:z6oilzbt]

                Comment

                • lora
                  Member
                  • Jun 2008
                  • 122

                  #9
                  Re: Peace and Quiet

                  Hi,

                  Thanks everyone. It occured to me that I'm making too many judgements, putting opinions on things, making them solid. We manifest exactly what we give our attention to. I shall view others voices and my own as a symphony and not a cacophony! I will accept what is off the cushion as well as on it.

                  Many blessings,
                  lora

                  Comment

                  • AlanLa
                    Member
                    • Mar 2008
                    • 1405

                    #10
                    Re: Peace and Quiet

                    Will's wisdom notwithstanding, which I certainly can't disagree with, but as a practical matter some peace and quiet time can be very healthy and beneficial. As I get older I find I need more of it, or maybe I just appreciate it more. As a young adult I had to have noise and people around and quiet time was something to be tolerated, but now going on 50 I am just the opposite.

                    Also as a practical matter, quiet is better for zazen. My neighbors' TV is always playing in the morning when I do my zazen. It's not blaring, usually, but Good Morning America is loud enough to come through the walls and leak into my head. I know I am to be One with the noise, but my practice has just not evolved yet to place where I can do that at all consistently. I am somewhat torn between learning how to deal with it better, be with it, or just moving my practice place farther away where it will be quiter.
                    AL (Jigen) in:
                    Faith/Trust
                    Courage/Love
                    Awareness/Action!

                    I sat today

                    Comment

                    • Godzilla
                      Member
                      • Jul 2008
                      • 15

                      #11
                      Re: Peace and Quiet

                      Hi everyone,
                      this is definitely something I'm experiencing at th emoment, and something that has been building in me for some time as I look back on it. I've even gone as far as moving out of London as I just stopped being able to deal with people everywhere and the noise.

                      I agree that you can see all the noise and siatractions as a symphony of life. That an aversion to it is just a form of judgement that our monkey mind is making. I've tried to tell myself as I've struggled with feelings of claustrophobia etc that the noises are simply signals from the world to my brain and that beautiful things such as music produce the same signals as someone shouting aggressively or traffic etc.

                      I would say though that I think its maybe a bit too simple to say dealing with this is about letting go of your judgement. I think its similar to the idea that when we sit we are trying to attain a perspecitive of non-attaining. We sit with some kind of intention relating to a goal, whether the goal is enlightenment or being a good zen student or whatever. But in sitting we try to let go of that intention and striving. Its a contradiction.

                      So for me I know that the things I was seeing as being negative aspects of living in London were matters of my mind making judgements and that in an ideal zen world my mind would not make those judgements.

                      But on another level there were aspects of those negative qualities which were on a very real level damaging to me psychologically, emotionally, even physically when you consider the pollution etc. I ended up seeing it as a matter of self-preservation to get out of there.

                      And I truly believe that my zen practice actually helped me realise in myself how damaging I was finding living in London.

                      To me part of zen practice is about accepting things as they are, but I think that also includes that our monkey brains have preferences and limits to what they can accept. Its the same idea that even when we have chattering thoughts, these chattering thoughts are manifestations of our monkey mind, and our monkey mind and true mind are not separate, but the same.

                      A distinct self may not exist, but we still have basic needs for comfort and health which our environment plays a significant role in. I don't think its goes against zen practice to consider that.

                      Comment

                      • Godzilla
                        Member
                        • Jul 2008
                        • 15

                        #12
                        Re: Peace and Quiet

                        Originally posted by AlanLa
                        Will's wisdom notwithstanding, which I certainly can't disagree with, but as a practical matter some peace and quiet time can be very healthy and beneficial. As I get older I find I need more of it, or maybe I just appreciate it more. As a young adult I had to have noise and people around and quiet time was something to be tolerated, but now going on 50 I am just the opposite.

                        Also as a practical matter, quiet is better for zazen. My neighbors' TV is always playing in the morning when I do my zazen. It's not blaring, usually, but Good Morning America is loud enough to come through the walls and leak into my head. I know I am to be One with the noise, but my practice has just not evolved yet to place where I can do that at all consistently. I am somewhat torn between learning how to deal with it better, be with it, or just moving my practice place farther away where it will be quiter.
                        I have tried to practice zazen while drum and base music blares at top volume from a room above me in an old house. Does practice ever evolve to a place where you can be one with very loud drum and base? hmmmm

                        Comment

                        • will
                          Member
                          • Jun 2007
                          • 2331

                          #13
                          Re: Peace and Quiet

                          Hi guys. I also stated there's nothing wrong with a little quiet. Especially in the beginning of practice. However, when is anything really quiet?

                          Perhaps we might live in a noisy place and say "Well I can't practice here." so we move to a more quiet local. Eventually we notice the buzzing, and creeking of the bugs outside or perhaps there is a cow that just won't shut up. So we sound proof our house. Then we hear the blood pumping in our veins. At that point we pretty much go crazy.

                          I have tried to practice zazen while drum and base music blares at top volume from a room above me in an old house. Does practice ever evolve to a place where you can be one with very loud drum and base? hmmmm
                          I live in a building filled with loud, drinking college students who sometimes blast Drum and Base all day.

                          It's not a matter of seeing the noise really any specific way ie. symphony. It's just opening to it without judgement or reaction. Eventually we forget that it is noise.

                          Take the water drop in the sink for example.

                          It's just ego's (or self image's) ability to complain, judge, or try to solidify itself.

                          Gassho
                          [size=85:z6oilzbt]
                          To save all sentient beings, though beings are numberless.
                          To penetrate reality, though reality is boundless.
                          To transform all delusion, though delusions are immeasurable.
                          To attain the enlightened way, a way non-attainable.
                          [/size:z6oilzbt]

                          Comment

                          • Jundo
                            Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                            • Apr 2006
                            • 39419

                            #14
                            Re: Peace and Quiet

                            Originally posted by lora

                            It's become somewhat of a chore to have an everyday conversation lately. Never thought I'd say that! I'm fed up with the sound of my own voice and the meaningless clutter of everyone else's. I don't really have too much to say to anyone about anything. I'm not depressed, I know those signs very well. This is simply a longing to be quiet.
                            Hi Lora,

                            An important part of our Practice is our becoming less dependent on words and thoughts, the constant chatter in our heads morning to night (I sure am less "hooked" on words, compared to 20 years ago).

                            So, so long as your silence is not part of depression or the like, it sounds fine. However, here is a rule of thumb you can use to tell if this (or --any-- aspect of our Zen practice really) is on a sound path ...

                            Ask: looking long term (not just on any one particular day or for a short time, because we all have days or even weeks when we feel "off" or "depressed" or discouraged or like we "got up on the wrong side of the bed"), does it feel to you "balanced"? Does it feel "right" and healthy? If it feels to you balanced, right, healthy and natural ... it probably is!


                            For example, if it feels to you inside like it is somehow "wrong" or uncomfortable when you have to leave a room of people, or if you feel like you are psychologically compelled to do this (for example, that you break out in an agoraphobic sweat if you are around people), or if it feels "off balance" or anything less than natural and "right" ... Then you may just be running from something, instead of simply abiding in silence. The same if it is seriously having harmful effects on your life, family or work. That is a good rule of thumb for what is not "good" practice.

                            Our way is a way of balance and moderation. There are times we push ourselves to extremes (for example, I once did a self-enforced 30 day "vow of silence". For the most part, I was extremely faithful in doing it). But, for our day to day lives, we return to moderation.

                            In that state, when we speak we speak, when we are quite we are just quiet. While we find ourselves less dependent on words and thoughts than when we first started Zen Practice, there are still times to express ourselves, laugh, talk and babble. In that state, we do not run away or toward one or the other. There is a time for all.

                            Which leads to our next topic ...

                            Originally posted by AlanLa
                            Also as a practical matter, quiet is better for zazen. My neighbors' TV is always playing in the morning when I do my zazen. ... but my practice has just not evolved yet to place where I can do that at all consistently. I am somewhat torn between learning how to deal with it better, be with it, or just moving my practice place farther away where it will be quiter.
                            Yes, generally, it is better to sit Zazen in a quiet room, with soft lighting and atmosphere, not too hot or too cold. Calm and quiet surroundings facilitate calm and quite in our Practice. (If you really can't find such a quiet place, just sit with "whatever is". That is your Genjo Koan. It is as Will describes, and we always practice with whatever is ... which is rarely if ever truly quiet and "ideal").

                            However, I also recommend to folks that, at least once or twice every couple of weeks, they take their Zazen on the road to some really unpleasant, noisy, smelly (I am planning one at the garbage dump) or otherwise "disturbing" place. The reason is simply that, if this practice is only for when we are in a quiet setting, it misses the point. It is for, precisely, when we are "in the world". Thus, not all the time, but every few weeks, we sit Zazen like this ...

                            http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2007/06 ... xxvii.html

                            and

                            >http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2008/05 ... ntown.html

                            I also recommend daily "insta-Zazen" ...

                            I would also like to encourage everybody to try Jundo's Patented "Insta-Sittings" © throughout each day. You don't even have to "sit" for these "sittings", but can sit while standing, lying down, jumping on the bed or hanging by one's feet. "Insta-Sittings" © can be of any length, starting from but a moment until infinite time (which may be the same!). We "Insta-Sit" © at times in our day when just a bit of "Zen Mind"© will change our perspective on all things, when a touch of balance will bring life into balance ...

                            Just standing in a creeping postal line, in the dentist's chair, when the car won't start on a cold morning, when driving and stuck in traffic, when the computer crashes, wherever and whenever ... just do what you do in Zazen, with the Lotus Position fully optional (it tends to get in the way while driving or having a root canal, although it might work in the postal line if you keep pushing along.).

                            This is actually not such a radical departure from "traditional" practice. Life in a Zen monastery, for example, is filled with countless opportunities to bring the "Way of Non-Seeking" tasted on the cushion into daily activities ... what's the difference between the "Dokusan" line and the postal line? Even monks need the dentist. If dropping the incense during the big ceremony at the temple, or dropping the water glass at dinner, just pick it up! Each place is a place for Practice. In fact, if what we do on the cushion stays on the cushion, what's the point??

                            So, please try Jundo's Patented "Insta-Sittings" © throughout your day. In fact, for a limited time only, three (3) "Insta-Sittings" © can subsitute for one (1) traditional sitting (if sitting 2 or more traditional sittings each day).
                            Gassho, Jundo (who cannot manage a posting in less than 2000 words!) ops:
                            ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                            Comment

                            • Jundo
                              Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                              • Apr 2006
                              • 39419

                              #15
                              Re: Peace and Quiet

                              Originally posted by Godzilla

                              I would say though that I think its maybe a bit too simple to say dealing with this is about letting go of your judgement. I think its similar to the idea that when we sit we are trying to attain a perspecitive of non-attaining. We sit with some kind of intention relating to a goal, whether the goal is enlightenment or being a good zen student or whatever. But in sitting we try to let go of that intention and striving. Its a contradiction.

                              So for me I know that the things I was seeing as being negative aspects of living in London were matters of my mind making judgements and that in an ideal zen world my mind would not make those judgements.

                              But on another level there were aspects of those negative qualities which were on a very real level damaging to me psychologically, emotionally, even physically when you consider the pollution etc. I ended up seeing it as a matter of self-preservation to get out of there.

                              And I truly believe that my zen practice actually helped me realise in myself how damaging I was finding living in London.

                              To me part of zen practice is about accepting things as they are, but I think that also includes that our monkey brains have preferences and limits to what they can accept. Its the same idea that even when we have chattering thoughts, these chattering thoughts are manifestations of our monkey mind, and our monkey mind and true mind are not separate, but the same.
                              I believe this is well said. We practice without goals, to the marrow, not trying to change a thing. We embrace all situations "just as they are" without judgment of good or bad.

                              Yet we also must constantly make choices during life. The two ways of being (no choice/choice) are not in conflict, and exist as one.

                              So, yes, when you choose to live in London, just live in London. And when you choose to move to another place, just be in that new place. And when you want to move to another place, but you must live in London ... just live in London!

                              The one word of caution, whether about changing towns (or changing wives/husbands for the matter! :? ): Don't do what modern people do, namely, just run run run from one thing to another, always believing that happiness is "over the next hill", that the grass is greener over the fence. People have lost the ability to be content where they are. So, if you make the decision to leave London for a more healthful environment, then leave London. But do not run from London. Got my point?

                              Our Zen Practice does, I find, make us more attracted to quiet places, the country, nature. That is why I now live more in the country (though we still have a big town right here ... I am not a hermit in a cave!), not in downtown Tokyo as I did for many years.

                              Gassho, Jundo
                              ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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