Hearing Your Own Snoring
Realisation: Hearing Your Own Snoring
Four monks decided to meditate in silence. At nightfall, the candle went out.
The first monk said, "Oh! The candle is out."
The second monk said, "Aren't we not supposed to talk?"
The third monk said, "Why must you two break the silence?"
The fourth monk laughed, "Ha! I'm the only one who didn't speak." -Zen Story
When you hear someone snore, it means you are awake. But when you snore, it means someone probably can't sleep! What a dilemma! Four of us, retreat participants, who all happened to be snorers, share a room. There were no hard feelings, but on the second night, two decided to move out to the hall at bed-time - because one of us snores so loudly that it keeps them awake at night. I was invited to join them but I decided not to. Firstly, I was lazy to shift stuff. Secondly, I wasn't convinced that three snorers sleeping together is any better then two. It seems to make more sense that we divide ourselves evenly - it is better for each of us to hear only one other person snoring!
Snoring is of course involuntary, but this incident reminds me of the Zen story above. Are we not like the monks at some point? When we first hear someone snoring, our first thoughts are likely to be like the monks. We tend to look first at the faults of others, thus missing and fortifying our blindspots - ourselves. I think the three were too kind to tell me how loud my snoring is. Snorers can be heard but the snorer cannot hear himself. Maybe we should record each other's snoring for each other to hear.
It occurred to me that none of us seemed really apologetic about our snoring. Partly because we assume it isn't that bad. We laugh off our own snoring, but we can only imagine how apalling our snoring might be while being apalled by others.' I find this truth very humbling. Thank you for your tolerance, fellow bunk-mates!
I sleep a little extra after breakfast to catch up on lost sleep. The others seem hesitant to nap in the room... maybe in fear of waking me with their snores? Maybe there was no point because I snore too loud? I must record my own snoring one night. How else can I reflect and experience it myself? It is interesting that we all first discovered ourselves to be snorers through someone else's feedback. The value of practising with others on the spiritual path is that it is likened to walking into a hall of mirrors - you get to see facets of yourself clearly reflected from never seen before angles. May we open our hearts and regularly invite spiritual friends to share what they think of us - for their right views of ourselves ought to be realised, while their wrong impressions ought to be reflected upon as to how they came to be. Self-reflection can be limited; we need mutual-reflection sometimes! (Please note that heavy snoring can be a symptom of potential health problems) -shian | pic:indiana.edu
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