One of the biggest struggles I face when trying to adhere to certain Buddhist habits is noise. The modern world is loaded with noise. Even when you try to sit in silence, in your own home, you can and will often hear a lot of background noise from the environment around you.
Ever try to meditate with an excited four year old running circles around you? (I ask this as my son Nathan is violently bouncing a rubber ball against the walls next to me as I type, despite asking him several times to quiet down!)
The point is that modern life doesn’t allow for a lot of the serenity you would get from more traditional locations. When I visited the Buddhist temples in Narita and Tokyo, one of the first things I noticed was how quiet the environment was, despite being in the midst of a heavy urban centre. Now, these temples have walls, structures and trees that we obviously don’t have the benefit of having here!
The important point I’m making tonight is that you need to find some quiet time for yourself. This doesn’t just apply to Buddhists and people who meditate, but for everyone in general. Even if it means putting time aside when the kids are at school, or taking a quiet walk outside the city, or whatever you can manage. We often allow life in general to get in the way of our well-being; a big part of which requires some quiet time to ourselves (and no, sleep doesn’t count).
And now, my son is having a spa out tantrum in his bed because he refused to put on his pyjamas! I’m in the basement and I can hear him yelling through the floor! Definitely not the serene environment of the Shinsho-ji Temple! But as with all things in life, where there’s a will, there’s a way! Be certain to find that way, and help maintain your mental and emotional well being.