Bumpy Transition from the Cushion to Life

thumbnail
Brandon Dayton, modified 9 Months ago.

Bumpy Transition from the Cushion to Life

Posts: 480 Join Date: 9/24/19 Recent Posts
I've been having this experience more commonly lately where practice feels generally pleasent, even when things are very, very subtle, but the transition back into reall life feels grating. I feel a bit overwhelmed by voices, sounds and interactions with others for a bit until things stabilize. 

The most intense version of this was today after practice. After having a deep hour-long sit my wife started asking me my opinion about a difficult problem we are facing and I felt this sudden surge of anxiety. I had to ask her to give me some time to come back down. This seems to be par for the course that bumpy parts of practice don't happen on the cushion by seems to all manifest themselves in regular life.
thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Bumpy Transition from the Cushion to Life

Posts: 3997 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Yep, that's a thing.

It'll fade as you learn to see that what you experience in the quiet of mediation is exactly the same thing that you experience in even the most chaotic situations. This is a good sign, Brandon - keep up the good work!
agnostic, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Bumpy Transition from the Cushion to Life

Posts: 1893 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
This happes to me as well. In my case it's anger. The practice opens up the channels but if I'm not willing to experience it on the cushion then it gets triggered after. It felt like it was getting worse for a while but now it's getting better.

It's also worth considering that if you are going through some changes then it might be a bit threatening to those around you so they may unconsciously trigger you in certain ways because it's predictable and comforting on some level.
thumbnail
Brandon Dayton, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Bumpy Transition from the Cushion to Life

Posts: 480 Join Date: 9/24/19 Recent Posts
It's also worth considering that if you are going through some changes then it might be a bit threatening to those around you so they may unconsciously trigger you in certain ways because it's predictable and comforting on some level.

This was something that was fortunately called out by my therapist when I was doing couples counseling. I don't think my wife has ever felt threatened, but even when it is a positive change, it still can be destabalizing and require readjustment. She's been a champ when it's come to rolling with my yogi weirdness. Most everyone else in my life just seems really disinterested. Maybe there's something going on under the surface there. Not sure.


thumbnail
Helen Pohl, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Bumpy Transition from the Cushion to Life

Posts: 86 Join Date: 8/10/20 Recent Posts
Brandon, do you talk a lot to those around you about your journey?

I'm in two minds regarding this. I feel a need to tell my friends and family and yet I somehow sense I should keep it to myself.
thumbnail
Brandon Dayton, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Bumpy Transition from the Cushion to Life

Posts: 480 Join Date: 9/24/19 Recent Posts
Brandon, do you talk a lot to those around you about your journey?

Haven't really made up my mind yet about what best practices are as far as what I share about practice and with who. After my A&P experience I shared it with EVERYONE since it was such a mind blowing experience and I had no idea what the fuck just happenned or what to make of it. 

As things progress, I share less, with fewer people. Obviously I share with those that are interested in The Path, whether on this board or the handful of people that I know in real life. I also share with those that need to know, which mostly just includes my wife and my therapist. My wife is incredibly understaning and supportive. She doesn't totally understand what I'm doing, but she trusts me and supports me when I need it. Very luck to have that. I also don't hold back from talking about it with family, and they've been understanding when stuff has been rough.

If it comes up in casual conversation, I'll be open about it, although I don't expect any interest in return. Mostly eyes just glaze over. Sometimes I fish when stuff in conversation sounds like someone might be Path-curious, but I drop it if it doesn't seem like it's going anywhere.

I'm certainly much less evangelical about things as time goes by, but there are times when it seems really obvious how practice could make the world better and I might make a comment on Twitter about it.

I guess to answer your question, I would say share it with those you most need to support you. You need at least one or two people that are really in your corner with anything you value in life.
thumbnail
Helen Pohl, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Bumpy Transition from the Cushion to Life

Posts: 86 Join Date: 8/10/20 Recent Posts
Brandon Dayton:
Brandon, do you talk a lot to those around you about your journey?

Haven't really made up my mind yet about what best practices are as far as what I share about practice and with who. After my A&P experience I shared it with EVERYONE since it was such a mind blowing experience and I had no idea what the fuck just happenned or what to make of it. 

As things progress, I share less, with fewer people. Obviously I share with those that are interested in The Path, whether on this board or the handful of people that I know in real life. I also share with those that need to know, which mostly just includes my wife and my therapist. My wife is incredibly understaning and supportive. She doesn't totally understand what I'm doing, but she trusts me and supports me when I need it. Very luck to have that. I also don't hold back from talking about it with family, and they've been understanding when stuff has been rough.

If it comes up in casual conversation, I'll be open about it, although I don't expect any interest in return. Mostly eyes just glaze over. Sometimes I fish when stuff in conversation sounds like someone might be Path-curious, but I drop it if it doesn't seem like it's going anywhere.

I'm certainly much less evangelical about things as time goes by, but there are times when it seems really obvious how practice could make the world better and I might make a comment on Twitter about it.

I guess to answer your question, I would say share it with those you most need to support you. You need at least one or two people that are really in your corner with anything you value in life.


Thank you for replying. So far I've told my Mum and one of my oldest friends, both of whom are very open to spiritual things. Would like to talk about these things to my other friends, a trio of sisters I've known since grade 4, but they're very different people and I hesitate. 

Grateful I've found this place though. =)
agnostic, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Bumpy Transition from the Cushion to Life

Posts: 1893 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
My wife tends to find it threatening/destabilizing when I talk about it. Not surprising really after going through all my depression, craziness and personality issues over the years.

In a way I think it's a blessing being surrounded by people who couldn't give a rat's arse about dharma. Kind of forces you to walk the walk rather than talk the talk. If it's not making you a nicer person to be around for the 99.9% of people who haven't heard of dharma then what's the point. The problem with the social side of dharma is the self-reinforcing aspect, as I see it from the outside.
thumbnail
Brandon Dayton, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Bumpy Transition from the Cushion to Life

Posts: 480 Join Date: 9/24/19 Recent Posts
In a way I think it's a blessing being surrounded by people who couldn't give a rat's arse about dharma. Kind of forces you to walk the walk rather than talk the talk. If it's not making you a nicer person to be around for the 99.9% of people who haven't heard of dharma then what's the point. The problem with the social side of dharma is the self-reinforcing aspect, as I see it from the outside.

Excellent point. Similar to somethng that Bill Hamilton says in Saints and Psychopaths. He talks about how he was drawn to buddhism because of how boring it was on the outside. The only people that were going to be attracted to it were the people that were serious about practice. I've thought about how the world might be better if meditation was normalized, but it would also lead to lots of bullshit practice, peer pressure and waving your practice around like a flag to demonstrate your righteousness.
thumbnail
Ni Nurta, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Bumpy Transition from the Cushion to Life

Posts: 732 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Sudden changes in mind states is what causes anxiety.

If that becomes an issue then it should be beneficial to end meditation session more slowly. I mean give yourself few minutes to slowly work yourself down to normal mind state rather than ending it abruptly in the middle of strong concentration.

Another idea is to try to sustain as many of the qualities you experience during meditation as possible even after you end it. Try to notice which actions which you do are breaking your jhanas the most and then do them differently eg. it is possible to move body in ways that do not break jhanas if you modify how you do it. Such investigation can be considered as the integration practice and should help soften the mind state change when you absolutely must abruptly end your meditation and have to be calm about whatever happens.

Also what Chris said: keep up the good work, it is a sign of progress emoticon
thumbnail
Helen Pohl, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Bumpy Transition from the Cushion to Life

Posts: 86 Join Date: 8/10/20 Recent Posts
Ni Nurta:


If that becomes an issue then it should be beneficial to end meditation session more slowly. I mean give yourself few minutes to slowly work yourself down to normal mind state rather than ending it abruptly in the middle of strong concentration.



I always thought it weird to just hear the bell or whatever go off and then be expected to just jump up and continue your day without further ado. It's too jarring. No bells for me, I just let the session take whatever time it needs to feel done and then I turn to coming back to everyday consciusness.
thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Bumpy Transition from the Cushion to Life

Posts: 3997 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Sudden changes in mind states is what causes anxiety.

How so? In my experience anxiety is caused by agonizing over possible future events that might harm "me." Stories with bad endings. Bad endings that cause potential harm to the "I/me/mine"construct.
thumbnail
Ni Nurta, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Bumpy Transition from the Cushion to Life

Posts: 732 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
Sudden changes in mind states is what causes anxiety.

How so? In my experience anxiety is caused by agonizing over possible future events that might harm "me." Stories with bad endings. Bad endings that cause potential harm to the "I/me/mine"construct.

It takes time for mind to stabilize after sudden mind state change and in this time mind is unstable. When mind is unstable all sorts of effects can happen, anxiety being the most obvious one. Coming back slowly is also a skill which can be practiced. It will also show which things cause mind to come back thus in the long run help to sustain meditation states outside cushion. Any anxiety caused by effects other than instabilities within brain will also show up.

You are right that content of this anxiety is often related to identification with self.
Again, I do not think it is good to cause these issues to arise. It might lead to unhealthy attitude to sense of self or something by creating memories of being anxious because of it and while removing it is the goal, having bad attitude toward it is not.
thumbnail
Brandon Dayton, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Bumpy Transition from the Cushion to Life

Posts: 480 Join Date: 9/24/19 Recent Posts
Thanks guys.

For all of the fascinating esoteric dharma discussion that goes on here, the best part of the this forum for me is just having other human beings saying, "yep, this happens."
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Bumpy Transition from the Cushion to Life

Posts: 983 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
I find that if I concentrate too hard, with too much intensity, I am irritable after meditating. It's like I am suppressing emotions or something like that. So when I meditate I try to do it in a relaxing way - keeping my mind from wandering, but gently not with a lot of force or intensity.

It's like the difference between searching intently for an object vs. looking appreciatively at a beautiful landscape. 

Breadcrumb