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Dear lovely people of NB,
I have just come back from my first meditation retreat in a Buddhist monastery and am now experiencing culture shock. I feel vulnerable without the sangha here to support me. At the monastery, we were committed to keeping noble silence from dinner till breakfast the next morning. I wish to continue the silence at home, but alas, I live with very noisy family members. The blare of the TV, the rap music playing in the room next to mine, the seemingly constant arguments... I feel like I'm drowning in a sea of noise. Would it be cheating if I wore earplugs to mimic (albeit poorly) the atmosphere of the monastery? Or should I try my best to practice a la Ajahn Chah? ("It's not the noise that disturbs you, it's you who disturbs the noise!")
Funnily, they didn't disturb me nearly as much until I went on this retreat. I experienced such profound silence and meditation, it's so hard to adjust to regular life again!