For the past three weeks I’ve been doing some kind of meditation for 15 minutes a day. Usually sitting, watching the breath and noting thinking and feeling, and couple of times I’ve gone out walking with the intention of not getting caught up in thoughts (self-talk, imaginary conversations, etc.) but rather noticing things around me — looking at the world with a photographer’s eye, as it were. This morning I did tai chi, which I haven’t done for a while, with the intention of concentrating on the movements rather than letting my mind wander.
This is the longest time I’ve ever stuck to a meditation practice (not counting visualisation), which gives you some idea of my tolerance for boredom. Results?
So far I’ve experienced results in two areas, which is a good thing, as I’d probably have given up if I wasn’t getting results.
Over the past year or so I’ve become rather OCD about appliances, checking several times to make sure the gas is off and so forth, and having trouble believing that something is turned off even when I can plainly see that it is. That has eased. Hasn’t vanished, but has decreased.
I’ve also become very sensitive to noise. That started when we were in the apartment and there was a lot of persistent noise from demolitions (with pneumatic drills) and faulty machinery in a neighbouring hotel. And then at night there was noise from bars. I felt quite oppressed by the noise around me and wore earplugs a great deal.
The sensitivity remained after we moved house, though it has lessened. I still find many mechanical noises troubling, though, and had been using earplugs again to block out the air conditioner in our bedroom.
Not long after I started meditating, I was able to start sleeping without earplugs. I still wish the aircon were quieter, but I can more easily tune it out, rather than get caught up in hearing it and then listening to it.
Last night I was even able to sleep when I could hear the bass of someone’s music — something I normally detest. I have been a loud young person myself. I have annoyed neighbours with loud music. Now I know what it’s like to be the neighbour. I don’t think people realise how far bass sounds can travel. However, I was able to concentrate on relaxing the parts of my body, didn’t get distracted by the sound, and fell asleep. Sure, I still didn’t like the sound, but it didn’t get the better of me this time.
A very loud noise, such as fireworks, is another matter. And I doubt I could cope with, say, a dog barking all night. But just to be able to cope better with a certain amount of noise from machinery and neighbours is a welcome thing.
I feel encouraged by the fact that 15 minutes a day has been enough to produce these effects. I’m going to try to stick with it and see if anything else changes.