Traffic

In my last post, Impatience, I talked a little about meditation and patience. But I left out another aspect that interests me. In a perfect world I’d like to sit near a stream or listen to waves or wind or something natural like that- very New Agey, etc. But I don’t live in the woods or near the shore, I live on a busy city street and it is noisy. The noise is construction, lots of birds and traffic, constant traffic. What to do about traffic when you’re trying to clear your mind?

Fortunately I read some brilliant advice about just this subject in one of my buddhism books. Unfortunately I don’t remember which one, but the writer recommended listening to traffic as a mediation technique! It’s a good one. I like to combine it with feeling my breath. They seem to go together well and by incorporating what could be a big distraction I actually improve the experience.

Now it occurs to me that the vast majority of people who may want to sit probably live in cities- most of us on the planet do. So the traffic technique should be more widely used. The really interesting thing about simply breathing and listening to traffic is how organic it sounds. It is a flowing shifting pile of sounds and when you listen like this it gets very soothing- kind of like that stream or those waves I mentioned earlier. Even that guy on the pocket rocket screaming down East Avenue at about 65 is part of the mix. But the best is the train horn. That one took me right out of myself…

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