I don’t know about you but I do myself hate to be interrupted when I am having my meditation. For those of you who live alone at the moment, I just want you to know that there are always two sides to a coin. While you may think that living alone is lonely, many married people think otherwise. Assuming that you have experienced your meditation being interrupted, let’s talk about what that interruption does to you and let’s also explore some interesting ideas on how to avoid interruption.
Who Like Interruption While Meditating?
The whole point of having meditation to clear one’s mind. It can be very annoying when your spouse suddenly turns on the TV or asks you to do him or her a favor like getting him or her a glass of water. To solve a problem, you can temporary solve it by removing the cause, but you can only solve in a the long term if you remove the root cause. Before, we look at how to solve the problem, let’s first explore what happens to our mind and our emotion when we get interrupted.
The Commitment Tendency of the Human Mind
If you like to learn some gold-like wisdom, I would high recommend you to read about Charlie Munger, one of the best investors that is properly a even more successful philosopher, although he is not formally or technically one. In his book Poor Charlie’s Almanack, he talked about the 25 human mind biases. One the the 25 is known as the commitment bias. What that means is that we tend to like to stick to what we have committed to. If we somehow can’t stick to our plan, we can easily lose our calm. For example, if you have already decided to eat that piece of delicious cheese cake and somehow someone ate that, I am pretty sure you will get a little annoyed, if not angry. What does that have to do with meditation being interrupted? A lot. Let’s be honest here. It takes a little bit of effort or commitment to spend like 20 minutes to meditate everyone. Some other people can easily spend the 20 minutes watching TV or playing with their smartphones. With yourself knowing that you are putting in the work to meditate regularly, what happens when your spouse interrupts you? Your plan is not fulfilled and you can easily lose your calm. That’s the human tendency to protect our plan and goal. It is a sense that was needed for survival thousands of years ago. I have to be honest that I do lose my temper every once in a while if my meditation get interrupted. It is even worse if I know that the interruption is pretty intentional and quite unnecessary. By the way, the 25 human biases are very interesting. If you know about them, you can sometimes avoid them or reduce the severity of them. But there are also times when the biases get the best of you. That’s the interesting and complex human mind. We can’t control it all the time and all we are doing is to work around some flaws and to think rationally most of the time but not all the time.
Will I Get Brain Damaged if My Meditation Get Interrupted?
Some people who think that meditation is something magical think that somehow it is harmful to your brain if your meditation get interrupted. I would like to first point out that meditation is not magical at all. It is a simple and useful tool to clear your mind and it doesn’t nothing much more than that. And the answer to that somewhat funny question is no, it doesn’t really harm your brain. Although this may sound like a silly question, there is actually some truth in it. Having your meditation interrupted won’t get your brain damaged but it will put you in a emotional state that is worst than before you do your meditation. This is simply due the the commitment bias we talked about that can get you quite angry when the interruption happens. Anger and calmness don’t co-exist. That’s right, your mind is probably more unclear and messy than before you meditate.
What to Do Immediately When Your Meditation Get Interrupted
When your meditation get interrupted, the worst thing is to be angry with the interrupter. I have mentioned that the commitment bias of human brain very naturally make us annoyed and get angry with the interrupter. Yet, knowing that such human brain flaw exists may help you reduce your chance of getting angry. If you are lucky that you don’t get angry this time, just go back to meditation. If you happen to get angry this time, you can actually jump back to your meditation too. The difference is that, in the latter case, you probably have to start over again. Let’s say that your optimal meditation length is 10 minutes. If you get the interruption at minute 5 and you got angry, you would probably have to start over from the beginning and meditate another 10 minutes.
Now Let’s Solve the Problem by Removing the Root Cause
Knowing the root cause is the key of solving every problem. In this case, what is the root cause? Your spouse being thirsty and ask you to get him or her a glass or water? No, that’s a cause and also a result of the root cause. The actual root cause is that your spouse doesn’t understand what meditation means to you and does for you. If you explain to your spouse that having meditation in an uninterrupted way is important to your work and to your life and even to your relationship with him or her due to the resulting calmness, I am pretty sure that the interruption will at least not happen as frequently or at all. One thing that you have to understand is that meditation is part of your lifestyle if you actually do it everyday. It is your responsibility to communicate with your family members about how you are tweaking your lifestyle and ask them to respect you for your attempt to live a better life.