Tuesday, March 24, 2009

TV and Yoga

This is something I wrote a few months ago. The neighbor in the story has quieted down for the most part since then, and I'm thankful to her for it.

I've come to really dislike television. I haven't owned one for about 6 years now, and other than a few hours with friends or family, I simply don't have any interest. Given that, I've found it especially funny, and difficult at times, to have moved into a building with a neighbor that watches her television all day and often late into the night. And very loudly, so much so that I spoke in person with her a dozen times. When that failed, a few months ago, I asked the landlord to do something about it, which he did - but still maybe once a week or every two weeks, I end up pounding on ceiling to get her to turn it down. It once was driving me to look for a new apartment; now it's a small annoyance, and interesting experience as far as my practice goes.

This evening, I was doing an immunity sequence from the new Yoga Journal. There I was just beginning my warm up salutations, when the sound of - you guessed it, TV commercial dialogue and music - crept into my ears. Now I've practiced compassion meditation for this woman, have tried to be friendly when I see her, have even returned her mailbox key to her when she left it in the mailbox - yet, it's amazing how quickly my mind can return to nasty thoughts about her and waste of time all that TV is, etc, etc.

So, here I am in prasarita padottanasana (a yoga pose), feeling my legs stretching and having this dialogue/argument in my head about the sound of the TV. It's kind of embarassing, and yet fascinating because I remembered a basic teaching which goes something like if you can do something about it, do it and if you can't, let it go. And so, I went into the next pose, standing forward bend, and watched my mind and also listened as the TV seemed to creep up a little more (I sometimes wonder if I'm imagining it getting louder, or if it's really all about the volume fluctuation for the commercials). Anyway, at the end of the pose, I decided it had gotten too loud, and I hit the wall a single time. She turned it down, as she pretty much always does, but I then worked into the next pose, and watched as a rush of irritation and adrenaline filled me and then passed through.

It's amazing how much I crave silence sometimes, and struggle when I can't get it. I know partly this has to do with working at an overly cramped little school, where my attention in constantly challenged. And also living in the middle of the city, which I love, but sometimes probably need a break from. Maybe you, too, have similar cravings you struggle with?

Somehow, it seems so silly to have spent so much energy on thoughts about a TV, and yet I have. So be it, that too will be compost for the pile.

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