Interrupted Meditation? Here's How You Recover Your Mindfulness


While interruptions can be unwelcome when you are meditating. It could be anything: a phone call, passing traffic, children playing or even your neighbor's dog. So, what do you do to return to your meditation? Here's how you can recover your mindfulness.

First, withdraw from your meditation as gently as you can. Use the same techniques of breathing and heightened self-awareness to cross back over to your everyday reality. If it's a phone call, deal with the person who caused the interruption as quickly as you can.  At the same time, try to keep any feelings of disappointment in check. Don't push those feelings away. Own them, but avoid acting on them. If you allow your irritation to seep into the interaction, it may be harder to get rid of the negativity later on.

Once you have dealt with the intrusion, you will no doubt want to recover your meditative state. The first step will be to clear away the residue of your frustration.  Identify your emotions and take full stock of them. Self-knowledge is empowering. It allows you the space to respond rather than react to events that are beyond your control. Forgive the intruder, but also acknowledge to yourself any feelings of frustration. This is necessary before you can let go of them. Identify any underlying emotions as well. They may help you to deal with your inner motivations. Were you feeling guilty about meditating? Do you feel that you should have been doing something else? Are you afraid that some of your friends may ridicule you for indulging in a habit they see no use for? If so, affirm to yourself meditation plays a vital role in your life.

If you journal, you may want to clear your thoughts by writing about them. Were you planning to get clarity on specific issues in your life? Take a little time to re-evaluate your motivation. Go over the uncompleted exercise. Was there any progress? Did you gain any new insights before you were interrupted? Where were you, when the intrusion came? Once you have examined this fully, you need to accept that your meditation might not happen the way you had intended. That's okay. Release those expectations.  You do not want them to burden you.

As you return to your meditative state, look for any remaining signs of tension. Is there a part of your body that refuses to relax? Is there pressure? Allow your awareness to examine this area. Be kind to yourself. Don't berate those tight little muscles for doing their job. Instead, tell them that it's okay to let go.

As you deepen your trance, you may experience some push back. Perhaps there is the subconscious expectation that there will be another interruption.  Don't ignore this fear. Acknowledge it and own it. Take a few deep breaths and imagine what would happen right now if another interruption came. Pay attention to the stillness around you. Re-experience the interruption, but from the perspective of your higher self. Imagine that you are able to see the obstacle in advance and navigate your way around it. This time, nothing will disturb the flow of energy.  What you thought was fuss has become fun, almost like a game the universe is playing with you.

It may help to see the interruption as a lesson or exercise that will benefit your inner discipline, rather than detract from it. If you can meet the challenge of an interrupted meditation without letting it phase you too much, you should also find it easier to ground yourself wherever you are, regardless of circumstance or surroundings.

Written by
Laura Mackenzie