Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I Got So Irritated

I needed that time to sit and recollect. I needed to feel the company of my fellow dharma friends. I needed the quiet stillness to be with myself. A nice, firm pillow behind my back, feet firmly planted on the floor, off I was practicing mindfulness. 

'til, someone came and interrupted. I fancied the person to be a man. Huffing and puffing, he made his way past the whole front row where I was sitting, around the back, and planted himself on the chair right behind me. He would settle down. All that breathing, and the screeching sound of his down jacket rubbing against itself with his every move, all that would stop soon. It usually does. I started to notice my growing irritation. Thoughts of getting up and leaving, just like that. He let me see what was really stored inside this heart of mine. Not very kind, was I? I remembered similar times before, and how I had felt almost foolish afterwards, for having gotten so worked up for some candy wrappers un-twirled a bit too slowly, or other rudeness from a near fellow meditator. He was breathing hard, after all. Maybe he was ill, I wondered? Enough thinking, back to the breath, my own. No, not possible. This was an opportunity to reflect, and not so much meditate. So many attachments I have, as tonight with my insistence that the place be quiet . . . I did not get what I wanted, but I certainly got what I needed. 

The bell rang, and my neighbors and I all turned back to see. In the back of us, an old man was sitting with a hearing device. His eyes and mine met, and we exchanged a smile. 

14 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing on this upsetting part of the practice...
    I've made this experience so many times as well! But I WILL get up and leave or even get mad at the guy behind me sometimes. Not the mention the people that chant mantras in an annoying way for the entire session (during Tibetan Buddhist rituals). I confess I'm still not over it :)
    Of course, meeting them as persons at the end of the meditation usually gets me out of my angry state, but sometimes not!

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  2. How much unhappiness we create in our minds... Great post!

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  3. There's a person in our Zendo that clears her throat, every morning, like a velociraptor.

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  4. I did a Vipassana last year with an angry older man losing his hearing and cool right in front of me, several times coming in late, making noise, unaware of hitting my face when he finally settled down and sat. I moved one seat back when someone left early, made it a little easier, luckily.
    Then I saw him as myself in a few years if I hadn't started on the path, and felt great pity....it may be too late to change his behavior. He never seemed to relax the whole ten days....barking at others.

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  5. Gael, it is interesting isn't it? Is the point of practice to be present for whatever present itself, not reacting, investigating where we get caught with our attachment to a certain view of what practice ought to be? Or is it to practice concentration in optimal conditions? - 'find a quiet place' . . . :)

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    1. Agreed, yes, what is the point. I get caught in the two extremes very often, that's for sure

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  6. Pigasus, during a retreat with Ruth Denison, one of the practices she taught us was the intentional clearing of our throat first thing before we get into concentrated practice. Imagine fourty women clearing their throats all at once . . .

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  7. JDB, yes, it does not take much to show us how conditioned our happiness. Such little things certainly take care of our illusions about ourselves and how well we have been doing in our practice. They certainly keep me honest!

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  8. Was Once, yes. What I found helpful also was to reflect on the difference between the experience of unpleasantness and one's reaction to it. And focusing on the reaction part as a reflection. Realizing that unpleasantness is always there lurking in some way, and that it is the way life is. We just have such a hard time accepting.

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  9. I tend to get cross with myself, rather than others. I seem disproportionately "auditory". I hear traffic, building creaks, even birdsong and let them distract me. I try to learn to appreciate them as part of the moment and simply observe them, but i'm not quite there yet

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  10. Phil, have you ever tried to practice using sounds as the object of your attention?

    Hearing meditation.

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  11. It is easier to find irritations than to accept the reasons why they may be happening. I have come to learn this the hard way too. I am trying though, to see things in a different light. Some days it is easy, other days, not so much. I practice though. Or try to.

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  12. Yes, and also remembering to dwell in the vast container of awareness, from which disturbances cannot shake us, or at least not as much. I find that concept most helpful, shifting from dwelling in small, reactive 'I', to the greater truth of impermanence, and not self.

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