We've often observed, in our meditation group, that there is no point in regarding extraneous sounds as intrustions, as disturbance to our peaceful meditative atmosphere. Note and be with the sounds, make them part of the present in which you are meditating, might be the advice - perhaps from an unusually self-righteous teacher! Still, good advice. Easier advice to follow with the sound of birds' feet on the roof, or a strong wind. But industrial noise levels?
Next door are having their cobbled outside area pressure-washed today, and the guys are using the noisiest compressor in the history of the world. For a moment, I thought it was an angle-grinder. Perhaps a bass one. We decided to go out in order to escape it, but first I wanted a short meditation.
So I setled me down to meditate, thinking "wonder if this is hopeless?" It really was a loud and monotonous noise.
No problem, to my surprise. Didn't even have to work at concentrating on it or ignoring it. It was simply - there.
Maybe regular meditation can actually make us better at accepting what is happening now, rather than wanting it to be different, wanting to move on to the next thing. If so, it worked this morning.
So I stayed with the noise. Only difficulty was, when it stopped. The sudden quiet came crashing in.
But it was, of course, nice when it stopped.