Ever notice that we keep getting the same lessons again until we get them right? Or just when you think you've got something down, life turns around and says "Nah ah ahhhh!"
Before I moved out here to the east coast I lived in an idyllic little house on the outskirts of a Mayberry-look-alike town. Occasionally I would hear the neighbor's chickens, or cars passing by, but things were generally pretty quiet. It was a wonderful place to practice.
Then I came out here and stayed with my folks. A blaring TV on for most of the day was certainly a challenge. I tried listening to white noise through headphones, ignoring it, even listening to music through headphones (yes, I know, so much for that not-seeking-entertainment precept). Sometimes I could manage to not let it bother me, but for the most part it was a constant source of irritation.
Fast forward a few months and I am now living by myself again. Initially, it seemed pretty quiet...until my neighbor moved in. Now I get to share his music, football games, and his late night arguments with his girlfriend.
So much for the quiet.
So I think this is something I'm going to have to work on. The craving for quiet brings suffering when that "need" isn't met.
I can hear Ajahn Chah saying "Why is your mind going out and bothering that noise? It's just doing what noises do."
I've tried sending metta to the neighbor, which sometimes helps. I also realize that I am so fortunate and have been a bit spoiled: there are countries where noise is constant, no matter where one lives, and that hearing local arguments is a way of life.
So when I can truly give up that expectation of quiet, and just sit with awareness of what's going on around me, I think there will be much less suffering.
I'll let you know if I get there, but suggestions are welcome.
As long as they're not too loud!^)