Thursday, April 23, 2009

Meditation Can Make You Crazy

Posted Jul 1, 2008 9:56am

I was not looking forward to the MRI on Monday morning – I’ve heard they can be claustrophobic, noisy and having to stay so still can be downright painful. I admit it – I’m a total wimp, and suspect that if the hygienist offered, I would not refuse morphine for my teeth cleaning. So I thought Sunday night would be the perfect time to listen to one of my new meditation CDs, certain it would guide me into a peaceful sleep. I dusted off the old DiscMan and put on my reading glasses to examine the teeny tiny black-on-black control buttons so I could navigate it in the dark.

My brain has a hard time shutting down at night, so while waiting for Dave to come to bed, I created a mindful preparation ritual. I turned off the lamp on my nightstand, and fashioned an elaborate pillow arrangement for the DiscMan so it wouldn’t slip off the bed. Then I snuggled into a comfortable position, focused on the soothing ripples of our back yard waterfall, and did some deep breathing. Once Dave settled in and all was dark and still, I put in the earplugs, pushed the button, and listened to a soft, gentle … shshsssshsshhhhhh….

Off button, on button…. shshsssshsshhhhhh….Change the track button… shshsssshsshhhhhh….

What the… I sat up, stretched over the pillow arrangement and turned on the light. This of course knocked the DiscMan onto the floor. I climbed over the pillows to retrieve it, put on my glasses and bent forward to closely examine the situation. I checked all the buttons – the disc was spinning… shshsssshsshhhhhh….

I unplugged and replugged the headphones a few times until… “THE BODY HAS THE POWER TO HEAL…” at a decibel level that made me bolt up so fast the earplugs were yanked out of my ears. I turned down the volume, put the earplugs back in, did another sound check and got back into bed. I rearranged everything, reached over to shut the light and realized I still had my glasses on. I tried to take them off, but the hangy-down chainguard had become tangled into a cat’s cradle with the earplug lines during the unplug-replug-fly-out-of-the-ears episode. That’s when I started to lose it. I had a laugh attack – the kind where your eyes water and squish shut uncontrollably and you get cheek cramps.

Phew, OK, settle down. I untangled the mess, shut the light and laid back. I took a few moments to collect myself, enjoy some deep breaths, and put in the earplugs. Or at least try to. While releasing them from the grasp of the eyeglass chain, they had taken on a configuration of what can be best described as a two-year-old’s crocheting project.

Another laugh attack.

All the commotion didn’t dissuade my pursuit of Nirvana. But as I finally listened to the soothing voice, I found this particular recording was more of an encouraging monologue on positive thinking than the music-meditation I had anticipated.

Now I was on a mission. There had been two boxes in the package, so I went to the kitchen to get the second one. Up until that point I felt pretty smug, remembering exactly where I had left it on the counter so I could just find it in the dark. What I hadn’t taken into account was that it was bound by that impenetrable antiterrorist plastic wrap that doesn’t prevent it from gliding into a shoplifter’s pocket, but does prevent anyone from ever actually opening it.
Deep breath… Ommmmmmmm….

Turn on the light, find a paring knife, slit the plastic. As I sliced away in the dim light of the stove, I noticed the box shape seemed unusual for a CD. It was. But it was just perfect for a cassette tape and a little booklet. And the cassette player was on a shelf… in the garage.

I closed everything up, poured myself a big glass of water, popped a handful of MyoCalm PM (MY FAVORITE supplement for sleep/stress/pain) and went back to bed. I slept like a rock.

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