Author Topic: Sitting interruption  (Read 4047 times)

TranscenDenist

Sitting interruption
« on: May 07, 2012, 12:48:52 PM »
I wonder if anyone can help or relate a similar experience to two major interruptions I recently had in my sitting routine.

After some advice in the forum, I decided to start sitting for 2 x 20 minute sessions per day.

On Friday I did my morning 20 mins and in the evening a friend stayed over at my flat. We drank lots and smoked cannabis.

Interruption 1: In a solitary area, I tried to meditate but was overcome by the intoxication/inebriation so I gave up and fell asleep.

Interruption 2: When I woke the next morning, my friend had been awake all night drinking vodka and smoking cannabis. He is in the process of selling his home and asked me take care of the viewing for him as he wasn't in a fit state to show someone around his house. I agreed to this but explained that I had adopted a morning routine over the last couple of months which included 20 minutes meditation. I made sure he understood this properly and asked him not to disturb me but I would be OK with him playing loud music/watching TV. I also made sure he understood that the 20 minutes would still give us plenty of time to leave my flat and get to his house in time for me to meet the potential buyer.

About halfway through the sitting he walked into my session and became increasingly vocal thinking that we wouldn't get to his house on time. As I was meditating, I struggled to incorporate this and it became increasingly difficult as he upped his game in trying to bring me round by tipping the contents of my washing basket over me and slapping me in the face several times.

When my 20 minute alarm finally went off (I was determined to stay focussed on my meditation to illustrate a point), I told him in no uncertain terms not to do anything like that again.

He was very drunk/stoned so I can't tell if he listened or took it on board. Several aspects of the experience(s) has brought about me breaking my routine and not meditating for a couple of days.

Having just typed the story out loud, I've realised it raises lots of questions/decisions so any input/feedback etc will be greatly appreciated.

Masauwu

  • Member
    • chipping away
Re: Sitting interruption
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2012, 02:08:22 PM »
It was an incident and it passed, don`t carry it around with you. You can easily do the 20 minute sits anytime during the day when you are as free as possible from distractions, no need to have them at the same hour each day. If human interaction interferes with your sit despite your explanation you want to be left alone for a bit, then get up and just do it later when there aren`t people like that around.

Probably not a good idea to try sitting after consuming intoxicants. Try lowering those as much as possible and sit when your mind is not affected by them.
The summer river:
although there is a bridge, my horse
goes through the water.

DarkNightOfNoSoul

  • Member
  • Lots of sharp rocks on this here path
    • Sayagyi U Ba Khin/Goenka, Mahasi Sayadaw
    • Slow learner
Re: Sitting interruption
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2012, 08:55:37 PM »
With friends like that, who needs enemies?  :)

Vivek

  • Moderator
  • Member
    • Advaita & U Ba Khin's tradition
Re: Sitting interruption
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2012, 06:31:39 AM »
It will do you good to stop expecting to have an interruption-free practice. Interruptions may or may not come. There is no way you can control that. Adapt and adjust so that you can maintain a daily practice. You may not be able to maintain a regular time or place, but still, keep trying to adapt and ensure that you sit for some time every day.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

Falkov

Re: Sitting interruption
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2012, 02:06:16 PM »
If you have two minutes, then sit for two.  If you have five minutes, then sit for five.   But, make sure you really do it, preferably at about the same time -but not necessary.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Sitting interruption
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2012, 05:24:30 PM »
Aside from the above good points I would ask if your friendship with this person may be based around alcohol and cannabis consumption? If so then this friendship (and any others like it) may increasingly conflict not only with your basic morality and your practice, but with the changes in how you live your daily life that will likely accrue from meditation.

It is not unusual when you start making changes in your life that you may need to leave some people behind (those with whom you may have shared an enabling attitude to mindless consumption or other unwholesome habits and who are not willing or not in a position to walk the path of change with you) .
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

TranscenDenist

Re: Sitting interruption
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2012, 11:36:26 PM »
Thank you all for your feedback.

Masauwu:  I saw it for what it was and incorporated the ‘letting go’ of it into my outlook. There are plenty of opportunities when I’m not in company that I can sit so I started to fit my routine into my day rather than vice versa.

DarkNightOfNoSoul:  :). Many a true word, etc.

Vivek: Certainly a good learning experience. Mainly that expecting the rest of the world to stay out of my way for 20 minutes every time is (paradoxically) incredibly egocentric of me!

Falkov: I’m afforded the luxury of having at least 40 mins per day almost daily. Although, I have since snatched a couple of minutes here and there when the activities of the day are stacked high.

Matthew: Yes. Pretty much every time we see each other is over a few drinks or a smoke. Partly tradition and old habit but I suspect that as he is now married with a child, the monthly visits are as much about him cutting loose as it is to spend some time in my company.

A different friendship has conflicted with meditation where that friend was apprehensive and dismissive but that was soon resolved by me just carrying on without drawing attention to my meditation any more. 

I am aware of, and have felt, the immense inner benefits of sitting. My tendency for impatience along with the distorted presentation of meditation via various fiction and movies I’ve read/seen regularly brings the lack of concrete effect on my external environment (dream job, no money troubles) to the  forefront of my thoughts. I am aware this is an issue and I am formulating mental strategies to handle it.

As for the friend, I texted him afterwards telling him that I’d been thinking about the interruption a lot and he rang to apologise. I’m not sure if he meant it or whether he just cottoned on that an apology was what I was fishing for.

Thanks again, all. Very much appreciated.

Alexanderjohn

Re: Sitting interruption
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2012, 01:10:39 PM »
TranscenDenist, I'm glad you shared this story with us all. It's another great example of how even a story alone can lead to such wise input from everybody here.


Quote
Aside from the above good points I would ask if your friendship with this person may be based around alcohol and cannabis consumption?

This is a very good question and one I've deeply underestimated in myself. When I going through phases of smoking weed, my motivation to interact with people suddenly has another hidden motive and it's nothing skillful that's for sure. Do you think your friend would still come and hang out with you if you were just going to sit, talk and drink tea?

TranscenDenist

Re: Sitting interruption
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2012, 02:11:38 PM »
When I going through phases of smoking weed, my motivation to interact with people suddenly has another hidden motive and it's nothing skillful that's for sure.

Weed has a different dynamic than alcohol because the availability of getting hold of some is often highly sporadic.  A few years ago, I would often associate with people who's company I didn't enjoy just to get a smoke. My friend used to be a lot more extreme than this as he regularly took pills, speed and coke so lots of his associates were less than savoury. As I say, this was a few years back so now its just the occasional binge smoke.

As for the alcohol, we're based in the North of England so booze is a large part of growing up. As well as being ingrained into our culture, it weighs heavy on many people's consciousness (including mine). There was a period at the start of this year where I gave up drinking full stop. This worked for around four months then I consciously decided to start having the 'occasional' drink which rapidly deteriorated into boozy overindulgence hence the incidents described by me at the top of this thread.

Do you think your friend would still come and hang out with you if you were just going to sit, talk and drink tea?

My honest answer to your question is that he probably would still come round (albeit even less frequently) as I became a tea junkie when I gave up the beer for a while so I can make a smashing variety of cuppas! I was in the pub with him last night and I broached the subject of meditation and spirituality and he was respectful but challenging. I took his views into consideration but also recognized that he probably shares my hang ups about social interaction without booze. I can often become shy, embarrassed or start babbling due to an inner feeling of uncomfortableness that suddenly (and quite regularly) descends upon my conversations, even with close friends and family.

You're right about the feedback as well. Some great perspectives caused me to look at it in several ways I'd not considered previously. What's your position in terms of 'drug' friends? Have you been in a similar situation?

Alexanderjohn

Re: Sitting interruption
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2012, 05:31:38 PM »
Yea man definitely, that's why I mentioned it. I've had heaps of drug friends and it's something that really made me happy to give up smoking pot, I realised that not only was it the only reason I was interacting with these people but it was also the only reason they were interacting with me. Now alarm bells go off when this motivation comes to mind so it's easy to be mindful of it and not fall in that hole. For 6 years I lived in a muslim country with the death penalty for holding over 15 grams of pot, I went through a period as an avid pot-head and to get high, you had to have the right friends. I had given up smoking for the last year I lived there and I saw very few of those friends ever again.

Another interesting side to this is that I had a friend who I would only ever see if I went round to get high. I was 15 or 16 at the time and really looked up to this guy, he was incredibly wise for his years (he was 20 at the time) and didn't think the same for me, so the only time I got to enjoy his company was if I was getting stoned with him. I learned a hell of a lot from him and he influenced me in a very positive way which I can now see even today. He fell into a coma from a ketamine overdose whilst I was taking my first retreat actually and died shortly after I got home. This massively impacted me and I haven't stopped practicing ever since.

I guess what I'm babbling on about here is that there can be a time and a place for everything, including smoking pot. There are situations I have been in which I definitely wouldn't have been in if I hadn't left pot smoking on the table, as a possibility. I guess the thing with it for me is not to deny myself it altogether but know when my motivations for doing it are wrong and not act on it then and not act on it if I know it's not the right time. My guts tell me that though.

 
Quote
I can often become shy, embarrassed or start babbling due to an inner feeling of uncomfortableness that suddenly (and quite regularly) descends upon my conversations, even with close friends and family.

Perfect example of being aware of your motivations for doing it. I know exactly how you feel and I don't drink at all anymore, to the point where I don't even enjoy it if I do. Becoming comfortable with that feeling of uncomfortableness is the key. Seriously, its OK. I feel this too sometimes, I have a habit of wanting to be perceived as cool and calm, funnily enough thats a quality of the friend I just mentioned! I'm getting over that though, who gives a shit if I choke on my words? Who am I trying to impress?

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Sitting interruption
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2012, 08:47:34 PM »
...
As for the alcohol, we're based in the North of England so booze is a large part of growing up. As well as being ingrained into our culture, it weighs heavy on many people's consciousness (including mine). There was a period at the start of this year where I gave up drinking full stop. This worked for around four months then I consciously decided to start having the 'occasional' drink which rapidly deteriorated into boozy overindulgence hence the incidents described by me at the top of this thread.

....

This is exactly why part of the basic morality training of Buddhism, in the form of the precepts, proposes restraining from intoxicants - because they lead to heedlessness.

I'm a Brit too mate so I know exactly where you're coming from. Fact is if alcohol was discovered/invented today it would be a class A drug along with Heroin and Crack cocaine.

Not going to lecture you because I still have a beer and sometimes one too many. My basic morality needs work and is holding me back on the path. It's hard work to change sometimes. That's the challenge and the opportunity.

Warmly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

 

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