Noisy Contemplation

In the book, Listening for the Soul by Jean Stairs, she has a section on "noisy contemplation" (pg. 51), which I found very interesting.  She describes how in the midst of our daily lives we can practice noisy contemplation by simply being mindful that, in spite of the "noise" that surrounds our lives, there are moments where we can stop to connect to Spirit.

I found this fascinating on several levels.  First, it is something I have practiced for many years without having a name for what I was doing.  Second, she pointed out that this act of mindfulness is the embodiment of the word, Namaste.

Namaste is Sanskrit, meaning, "I bow to thee."  By using this word, which has become popularized through yoga, what we are saying to another is, "I recognize the Divine in you."  Noisy contemplation is recognizing the Divine in another or in a situation without being sucked into the vortex of noise and confusion.
For example, imagine you are walking down a crowded street, filled with people who are scurrying off to their various jobs.  You notice an older woman shuffling towards you.  She is bundled up in old coats, a hat and scarf even though the temperature is near 80 degrees.  She looks to be carrying shopping bags, but on closer inspection you realize these bags hold all her worldly possessions.  As she comes to the intersection across from you, you see that she is hesitant to venture into the traffic.  She looks up and your eyes meet.  For one brief moment, you see the beauty of this woman.  You smile as you walk towards her, offering your hand.  You guide her across the street, leaving her to continue her journey. Namaste!

Another example of this form of mindfulness - The bills need to be paid. There is no money in the bank. The kids are fighting in the background over a whose turn it is to pick a TV show.  The dog next door has been barking for over an hour. You just got a call from your aging parents lamenting over the fact that you had yet to visit them, when you were just by to see them two days ago.  Suddenly, in the middle of all this chaos, your gaze focuses on the most gorgeous flower growing just outside the window.  

You look at the intricacy of its blossom.  You notice how the bees seem to love diving into its center, rich with nectar.  Your heart sings as you remember how much you love gardening.  You offer a little prayer of thanksgiving for all things green, turning to the children to suggest that the TV be shut off and they go play outside.  As they begrudgingly head out the door, you notice how much they have grown and how fleeting their childhood is.  Namaste!

Noisy contemplation is meditation that goes anywhere.  I have practiced, as I said, for years, calling it simply - talking with God.  I have done this form of contemplative mindfulness during family gatherings, at meetings, while on my early morning walks, in the midst of a crisis and even as my I held my grandchild for the first time.  Noisy contemplation doesn't have any set form or mantra.  It is what you make it. At times, I have repeated a brief prayer, "Thank you, God." Other times, I simply step out of the moment, picturing the situation at a distance.  This is especially helpful when faced with a difficult person or situation.

Mindfulness, whether done intentionally while sitting in a meditation posture, or during moments of noisy contemplation, helps us to stay centered, grounded and able to see the Divine in all situations and people.

May these words from the heart enrich, enlighten and encourage each of you.  Namaste! 
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Alv0808 said…
Not easy contemplate in moisy environment. I did tried once and is not working. Then one of the churche elders taught me about centering prayer..which I found work for me. God bless..
Hi Linda,

I have experienced this often. Every time I contemplated, there was construction noise from the building across the street. I began to welcome the noise as part of my contemplation. When I accepted it, it seemed to disappear.
Linda said…
Centering Prayer is wonderful, Alv! If it works for you, then that is what you should do.
Alexys, my friend! Yes, it is like living near the train tracks; you never hear the trains. It amazing how our minds filter things, is it not?
Soft peace and gentle love to you both!
Anonymous said…
The purpose of sitting to meditate is to practice taking the same posture with us into our daily lives. To experience the witness in all of our encounters is true meditation. You have explained it so well.Thank you Linda.

A heary bow and namaste to you!
Linda said…
Thank you, Miruh. Your words are so lovely..."taking the posture into our daily lives." What a wonderful thought!

Blessings and Peace, my friend!

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