Poll: Earplugs or not?

Morgan Gunnarsson, modified 8 Years ago.

Poll: Earplugs or not?

Posts: 81 Join Date: 1/6/12 Recent Posts
When there are other people around when I meditate I use earplugs and noise cancelling headphones in combination to minimize external sounds. How important are external sounds for the development of insight? Do you use earplugs or similar devices?
Rod C, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Poll: Earplugs or not?

Posts: 88 Join Date: 11/19/12 Recent Posts
Hi Morgan
Although only a few months into practice, I also have been using noise cancelling headphones - I travel alot and they are also great to get some meditation in on flights and in noisy hotels.

At home there is alot of street noise and I am amazed how noisy people are just getting on with their lives - never noticed it before I started to meditate. However, at home I shut windows and ignore it - I think it is actually an advantage for lay practitioners since its possible greater concentration skills are developed to compensate for the added noise etc. I have not done a retreat yet but can imagine that when on retreat, progress would be good since it is quiet - I guess similar to those Kenyan marathon runners training at altitude to get better oxygen carrying capacity in their blood?

Just a thought

Rodemoticon
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Shashank Dixit, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Poll: Earplugs or not?

Posts: 282 Join Date: 9/11/10 Recent Posts
Morgan Gunnarsson:
When there are other people around when I meditate I use earplugs and noise cancelling headphones in combination to minimize external sounds. How important are external sounds for the development of insight? Do you use earplugs or similar devices?


indispensable for getting into concentration/jhanas..especially more so with human sounds around..
no wonder the Buddha recommended isolated places like forests and empty dwellings...earplugs is
the best thing that ever happened to me when I started meditating

but should be totally avoided when aiming for insight practise..nothing like insight arising
due to sounds..
Jason B, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Poll: Earplugs or not?

Posts: 343 Join Date: 8/9/11 Recent Posts
I have a crazy neighbor (downstairs) who yells at his wife and small children morning noon and night. I've practiced vipassana many hours to his soundtrack. It's okay. But progress often comes with better concentration. I use foam earplugs and white noise (simplynoisedotcom - actually, I like the "brown" noise). It probably only cuts out 50% of sounds. More like a buffer. It helps concentration a lot.
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Alan Smithee, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Poll: Earplugs or not?

Posts: 310 Join Date: 4/2/10 Recent Posts
When I'm doing insight meditation -- which is what I'm going 97% of the time -- and there are sounds and whatnot, calamitous or not, I just note them, and my reactions to them as well. When I used to do anapana spot concentration meditation almost exclusively I used to worry about things like sounds and distractions, but vipassana puts things into a whole new league. I note when walking around work, etc. Being mindful means being mindful of what is going on. Plus, I don't want to get into the rut of needing perfect conditions, perfect silence, etc., to meditate.
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N A, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Poll: Earplugs or not?

Posts: 157 Join Date: 7/10/11 Recent Posts
Earplugs are fantastic. In the same vein, I suspect a sensory deprivation flotation tank would be even better.

I don't see any possible disadvantage of blocking sounds for vipassana. You still hear a lot - the constant background tinnitus and the internal sounds of your body. Besides, the really important sensations of the body and mind are not aural and can't be blocked anyway.
Scott P, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Poll: Earplugs or not?

Posts: 39 Join Date: 8/17/12 Recent Posts
Anyone else have any further thoughts on this? My flat is very noisy at the moment next to a hairdressers and on a busy road.

I have some decent ear plugs and was thinking of maybe using white noise or wave sounds, it just seems kind of unnatural...
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fivebells ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Poll: Earplugs or not?

Posts: 563 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
There's absolutely nothing wrong with using earplugs. Meditation itself is unnatural.
Scott P, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Poll: Earplugs or not?

Posts: 39 Join Date: 8/17/12 Recent Posts
Ha terrific answer. I guess my other concern would be being reliant on silence or quiet to be able to practice well. A possibility when using ear plugs?
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fivebells ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Poll: Earplugs or not?

Posts: 563 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
Meditation is all about establishing appropriate conditions for developing the factors of awakening. If you need silence to establish them at first, that is not a big deal. Once the factors are more developed, they will arise without the need for silence.
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dream walker, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Poll: Earplugs or not?

Posts: 1333 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Shashank Dixit:
Morgan Gunnarsson:
When there are other people around when I meditate I use earplugs and noise cancelling headphones in combination to minimize external sounds. How important are external sounds for the development of insight? Do you use earplugs or similar devices?


indispensable for getting into concentration/jhanas..especially more so with human sounds around..
no wonder the Buddha recommended isolated places like forests and empty dwellings...earplugs is
the best thing that ever happened to me when I started meditating

but should be totally avoided when aiming for insight practise..nothing like insight arising
due to sounds..


Great advice...I use an eye mask too when trying the jhana practice..
I practice insite at the gym and everything is fuel for the fire there....lots of clanking noises and conversations...of course there are times I wanna kill someone when I get close to something very subtle and have it chased away some noisy person...
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Poll: Earplugs or not?

Posts: 3192 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
There are many retreats on which I do wish I had thought to bring some earplugs...

I think that for more concentration-related practices they are really great if you are in a noisy place and want to go deep.

I think for insight practices that it really depends on how you practice, what stage you are in, and how well you react to sounds, as if sounds really throw you and get you in some emotive sidetrack, then they could be really useful, but if you are going for more integrated, whatever-arises is practice mode, then obviously they are not likely to be of as high value, or if on the other end, if you are going for really fine micro-phenomenology adhidhamma-level mind-moment technical investigation of something other than sound (which can be a very interesting object), then they are probably useful if it is a noisy environment.

I am lucky in that I currently live in a very quiet place and have a few dedicated cave-like rooms to practice in where there is basically no sound beyond my own breathing and the occasional quite hum of an air-conditioner/heater, but I just got an apartment in Tupelo, Mississississississippi, where I will be working some at my new job, and it is downtown and really loud at times, owing to local bars that are very close, so I may have to reconsider getting some good noise-cancelling head phones, as I was interested in playing around with concentration states a bit more.
A D R, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Poll: Earplugs or not?

Posts: 780 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
I have never tried ear phones, but I find ear plugs a bit uncomfortable as they have caused pressure to build up in my head the few times I have used them.

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