As I sit at my desk this morning, I am listening unwillingly to the rhythmic, reverberant, and unrelenting blows of a pile driver on cold steel. Wham! (Pause). Wham! (Pause). Wham! The crashes continue for another twenty minutes, as they have for the past few weeks. Charitably regarded, this disturbance of the peace represents the embodied spirit of Progress. Alfred University is building a new recreation center, a half block away from our home. But for many of us who live or work nearby, the noise has been the aural equivalent of a chronic, throbbing toothache. It has been an unwelcome sound.
In this it is far from alone. Most of us, I suspect, have our lists of unwelcome sounds, and more often than not, those sounds are beyond our power to abate, much less eliminate. Under such conditions, a scriptural reminder might be helpful: “And we exhort you, brethren . . . be patient with them all” ( 1 Thessalonians 5:14). But help may also be found in Buddhist teachings, which offer three distinct practices for dealing with unwanted feelings and sensations. (more…)