Dharma Glimpse by Frankie Carboni
I’m fortunate to have a spare room which I use both as a sacred space for my Buddhist practice and as a sort of studio for my creative practice.
Now, we live on the ground floor of a small apartment block and it so happens that this room is directly underneath our neighbours bathroom. After some time I became aware, and consequently irritated by the fact that during meditation I could hear my neighbours actually using the bathroom – and I mean I could hear everything! This started to feel a little unsacred to me, a little too much secularity entering into my oasis of calm abiding. I considered various options – earplugs, noise cancelling headphones. Moving wasn’t an option, but perhaps some ambient background noise might help?
And then it occurred to me. Our narratives, the stories we believe of ourselves, and remembering one of my teachers talking about how those narratives don’t have to be our story. Our story can be that we sit in front of the Buddha, that we recite the Nembutsu, that we dedicate ourselves to sitting in formless meditation. Opening the mind in this way can be extended to all challenges that arise – so could I change the narrative about bathroom sounds, could this be a different story?
My story could be that I sit with the beautiful sound of running water – after all that’s just what I was hearing!
And so it became. And when next door’s teenagers arrived for the summer, that loud drum and bass they love became the rhythm of my chanting; the espresso machine and chat from the bar nearby became a reminder of my connection with others.
I realised that I didn’t need space and silence from the outside world to practice, because with acceptance of what is, I discovered that space and silence come from within and are always present, I only need to be like water and go with the flow.
Namo Amida Bu
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