The light is out so early now; I awoke this morning and the whole house was illuminated, except for the sleeping children in their shade-darkened rooms. 

I went downstairs to meditate and passed the open windows, hearing the dull thread of traffic a mile or so away on the highway below us. It traveled this far to make an ambient noise background for our quiet house.

My house can only get so quiet because of where we live. Yes, we are an urban suburban family, with all the trappings of a suburb just a step beyond the city limits. This neighborhood has been here a long time. Friends have traveled further northwest, further out, past the ambient highway sounds to a place where the nighttime whispers of crickets and tree frogs and animals that rustle through the darkness.

It’s quieter at my parents’ house, too, and more stars shine in the night sky. We’ve thought of moving but ultimately, the cost and effort of picking up and packing up seemed  higher than the cost of living with ambient noise in a house that works for us.

This week, we put on a new roof so we’re not going anywhere. And yet I notice the background sound and the fact that it never gets pin-drop quiet here.

It occurred to me so clearly as I crept downstairs to meditate that there is ambient noise in everyone’s life – some of it actual, like our highway traffic, and some of it metaphorical, which we have too.

The ambient noise of battles with teachers over a child’s education or disgruntled clients or co-workers with an attitude or just the sheer weight of a relationship that you love, but the fact that it’s there, day in, day out. Ambient noise blankets us in some way all the time.

Which is why it’s such a gift to go inward.

And now I see why it is so necessary to do so every single day, ideally multiple times a day.

Yesterday, reading Eckhart Tolle’The Power of Now, a paragraph grabbed me as wise insights do when you need them most:

“Most human relationships consist mainly of minds interacting with each other, not of human beings communicating, being in communion. No relationship can thrive in that way, and that is why there is so much conflict in relationships. When the mind is running your life, conflict, strife, and problems are inevitable. Being in touch with your inner body creates a clear space of no-mind within which the relationship can flower.”

I know I lost some of you at the “inner body” comment, but stay with me a moment longer.

I’ve been meditating for more than a year now and I understand that phrase completely.  Even the highway traffic mutes when I meditate. It is a wonder, really. I close my eyes and recite my mantra in my head and it is this state of bliss where I float between awareness and reserve, a completely calm, mellow state devoid of worry or anxiety or stress. 

And I come out of it with a renewed focus – stresses melted away or become insignificant in scope finally. All it takes is that 20-minute space and I am truly transformed.

So much that we worry about doesn’t actually matter at all.

Imagine if we took that perspective into our relationships. Or even better, into our work. Imagine what the outcomes would be.

A vast world of infinite possibility.

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