That quote came over my Facebook Timeline recently attributed to the often quoted and well-respected spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh (the Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Monk).
That’s put so simply that it startles one—or it did me. I collect images of the lotus flower and really love that symbol related to spirituality. Then I had to break out laughing thinking how my downstairs neighbors from India are like my mud and tonight when their voices trailed up alongside me at my computer desk… the quick, choppy straining human voice sounds began to distract while I was writing. No mud, no lotus I thought. Likely, I’m their mud too in reverse. We hear each other mostly because they do not put on their air conditioning to muffle the sound and have no furniture to absorb sound and the floor has no sound proofing!
I had a message for a client this evening and there was a reference to using others in relationships in order to process mental energy. Suddenly, I wondered if this is like the two Indians beneath me—maybe they have to ‘talk it out’ all the time in order to process busy intellects. Sounds like venting; releasing — lovely.
It’s neither their fault nor my own that there is no insulation and that we are living in essentially a mocked up tent and that they love the heat (apparently) and don’t run air conditioning. The maintenance guys tell me that Indian apartments are stifling. I sometimes resent that I run my unit to keep their noise down and they don’t and their heat rises to my upstairs apartment—no mud, no lotus.
I’ve essentially been dealing with the neighbor issues much better—although no one would know it but me; it’s all an inside thing. Tonight was a mild setback—their incessant talking got to me. But Nhat Hanh says that dirty dishes, red lights, and traffic jams are spiritual friends on the path to “mindfulness”—the process of keeping our consciousness alive to our present experience and reality. Same for the boisterous and talkative downstairs Indian couple—when they go at it, it brings me to the present reality too.
Should be this way since I have Saturn transiting my 3rd house in Scorpio now; well, maybe not ‘should be’ but the location of the planet of lessons in the house that represents neighbors does explain a few things.
I’m going to turn to Nhat Hanh for more spiritual teachings because I do like that one–its simple, direct and profound:
No mud. No Lotus.
No challenges. No spiritual evolution.
Okay, I still wish they would go away… meanwhile, mindfulness of the present reality is what it is.
WARNING: this is a vent; read at your own risk. Awakening at 3:30 AM
So anyway. Okay. That’s probably IT. Neighbor karma! And they say if you don’t fight against the karmic consequences; that is if you accept without resistance, this releases the karma.
Are they butchering their own meat for dinner with a chain saw? Or grinding up ice cubes in a blender to make frozen margaritas to get drunk on? Or shoving what they can shove down the electric garbage disposal? You have to love the way they yell right over the top of the noise—even when the grinding sound isn’t happening and they are within two feet of one another—yelling at the top of their lungs! What’s that about, huh? Say, What!?!!?? If you are Indian (from the country of India – not to be confused with Native Americans), please ask yourself why you scream at the top of your lungs when it isn’t necessary?
Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? This ain’t no monastery and (that’s not all!). Besides that…
I can’t get no… I can’t get no…. I can’t get no… SATISFACTION! (Rolling Stones)
Remember back in the mountains when the new neighbor massacred an acre of perfectly healthy and happy trees displacing numerous trees and deer and birds, et al –? (I’m talking to long time followers of my blog.) There was a disturbance in the force – a horrid ripping up of the pre-peaceful energy field – it felt terrible. Awoke to that same feeling at 3:19 AM! Voices shouting—a woman’s voice! NO, don’t tell me they’re at each other again downstairs.
Lovely! The young people in the next building were on their patio whooping, hooting and hollering to the silence of the night. Humans around here are just blowing off steam, releasing their stresses is the guess. Why oh why does this particular kingdom of beings (human kingdom) who have the most advanced brain potential on the planet act like dogs? No, dogs are much more intelligent; they bark for a reason; at least most of the time. Unfortunately, this same level of intelligence is not able to be attributed (at least by me) to the downstairs Indian neighbors and the young “drunk-at-3:30 AM-hooting-into-the-trees-neighbors” who live in the next building a mere 30 feet from the one we’re in. Watch out! There’s competition for the human idiot of the weekend prize around here—the Indian couple below me now has competition.
Come to think of it, I’ve always had neighbor issues (karma?) even back into my late teenage years. The man in the house next door used to stand on is porch (only feet from bedroom window) and call his little black dog named “sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooH-TEEeeeeeeee”, correctly spelled “sooty” until I wanted to pull my hair out! Then years later there was the neighbor who would send her son to my house to play soon as she got home from work so she could entertain her latest boyfriend. And then we had the old couple who… well, never mind. Yeah, neighbor karma.
Maybe they (downstairs Indian couple) got some message yesterday—who knows? Loud Indian People, I’ll say it again–Loud Indian People! Well, let’s start with Friday night; they always come back from Monsters, Inc. (Lowe’s Headquarters) on Friday nights really geeked up and louder than any of the other days of the week. I was into my writing when they blasted in downstairs, their voices escalating as the night wore on. I tried to be tolerant—obviously another bad day or week for them and they’re fighting about it again. I put my headset on and piped into my ears via my headset the meditation and relaxation music that I’d spent hours ripping off CD’s last week. I was prepared!
Go ahead freakazoid Indian peeps! I’m prepared. Can you believe that over certain music –which I had playing full blast as loud as it the volume will go—that I could still hear them at certain times?
I was writing the lesson on astrological elements and modalities—earth, air, water, fire and cardinal, fixed and mutable signs. The lesson I was writing was a bit complicated to explain so to keep my focus, keep myself sane and to keep my sense of humor, when they’d yell out below me, I’d yell back that the male part of the couple has won the biggest mouth of the week award and I congratulated him duly and properly in my own language to match their voice volume (loud) while they barely took a breath, not listening to a word! Not that they could hear a thing over their non-stop vocal drama. She would wail out in a long vocal diatribe on occasion and at the same volume, I’d hoot and holler back in response that unfortunately, try as she might, she wasn’t nearly as obnoxious as her male counterpart although at times it was rather close. Then I’d wish her better luck for next week and go back to my typing certain they did not hear a word over their own vocalizations. Did you ever hear pig calling? No. Really. It’s a sport in certain parts of the American’s—they have pig calling contests. I really think this Indian couple should enter; they’d win@! — hey, don’t judge me; this blog and that are my ways of DEALING.
I can’t imagine what the heck they’re grinding down there but from the shouting, it’s getting pretty exciting for them right now.
Yesterday morning I played an hour of Her Eminence Mindrolling Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche for their listening pleasure (and mine). She may have (who can know for sure?) out talked them putting them into a more quiet trance for the rest of the day. Who knows really since I made it a point to be out most of the day with the family—it was my grandson’s birthday. But before I left, their voices were subdued. Thank you Rinpoche!
There’s the Mindrolling Monastery in India. Do theses Monkey Mumbai’s (as I lovingly call them) know about it I wonder? It’s located in the foothills of the Himalayas in Dehra Dun in North India. Well, if they can calm down downstairs, I’d like to contemplate further the Yanas! The first step to this is to accept my neighbor karma with love, compassion, toleration and did I say acceptance, yeah, several times now.
May I accept what I cannot change! I am no longer in the peaceful serene mountains. I am not in living in a monastery. I am in the middle of slumdogs, making the best of it, accepting my karma, learning toleration, but to love this is a bit of a stretch; I’m tolerating until I get to go home. Let there be peace on Earth (the kind that doesn’t come from alcoholic overdose or scream fighting with others until exhausted – the real kind).
Well, the grinding stopped downstairs, so maybe I can get some work done now. Yeah, it’s Sunday but parts of me don’t know that—an old throwback habit from my peaceful, serene days in the mountains. Many times I did not know what day or time it was.
Oh, to finish on a positive note—the celebration of my grandson’s birthday was such a contrast! We had a lovely dinner together at Olive Garden Restaurant (his choice) and came back to a little party at home wherein we played a few rounds of Catch Phrase, and then his mother read to him a list of memories about him that we all submitted to her beforehand at her request. His task was to guess whose memory it was. Then we each read 15 things we love about him (since it was his 15th birthday, 15 attributes or virtues, etc.). Again we had these prepared ahead of time to read. It was very beautiful actually.
His aunts gave him a savings account in their name that they opened for him and a booklet of the account and deposit slips – the account being for saving for his first car. We supported this with our own monetary gifts and he received a few video games and his mother’s big gift to encourage his music and this he was so thrilled with it—a violin! We all then enjoyed a totally awesome ice cream cake which was especially good since we’ve all been dieting. A warm, beautiful family evening!
Later I came home to bathe, sleep and be awakened at 3:30 AM to the party of drunks hooting at the trees on the balcony next door. Such is life, the acceptance of my neighbor karma, and now we’ve come full circle.
Judging from the voices below, I feel another teaching from Her Eminence Mindrolling Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche in my immediate future!
PS—why do people SLAM cupboard doors? Answer?: because they can (I suppose?) Accepting my neighbor karma—trying to send love; help me Buddha!
….and as I end this diatribe they are screaming at each other below me. Meditate? Ha! Perhaps a charnel ground meditation for me today? Chad– Perhaps and if I must.