There are lots of reasons to do daily meditation practice in the morning. It starts the day off right, it separates between private and public time, it cuts off that morning cortisol spike. But for me, the big one is that it’s quiet in the morning.

Our society has not optimized for quiet. We’ve built these monstrous, concrete urban environments and adorned them with car horns and leaf blowers and jackhammers, and it’s giving the birds PTSD and the humans heart problems. Noise is the new secondhand smoke, and I have to meditate before 8 AM if I want to avoid suffocating on it.

Sometimes it occurs to me that this might not be the most skillful way to practice. The world does have noise — it’s probably best to learn to be mindful in a noisy environment. I’m going to great lengths to avoid the noise of my street, sometimes even sacrificing needed sleep in order to sit before the city wakes up. This feels like aversion, which is a fundamental Buddhist no-no. I know my teachers on retreat would say to sit with the noise, to let it be a reminder to come back to center, to be grateful for that. Wouldn’t that be nice.

I think this needs to be a both/and situation. It is important to practice mindfulness in noisy environments, because that’s the real world. But it might also be the case that the level of public mindfulness is so low that people don’t even realize how absurdly noisy the environment is — or what it’s doing to their physical and mental health. This could be a political issue for meditators. Protect our ears, hearts and minds! Stop polluting our world with distractions!

Imagine what might happen if everybody could finally hear themselves think.