Forced Meditation

One of the EMU techs came into my room a few afternoons ago and told me about a new policy: for ten minutes of every hour, I’m supposed to sit quietly, eyes closed, and “chill out.”

“I’m asking all my patients to do this,” she said. “It’s so that we get some clean EEG readings.”

Whatever the reason, I’m now basically forced to do one of the things I’m worst at, and at regular intervals, at that: meditate.

I’ve tried meditation in the past, always with similarly disastrous results. As it turns out, I’m extremely bad at turning off my brain—”meditation” inevitably becomes code for “rumination about all of life’s assorted problems,” more than a little counterproductive when the point, so far as I understand it, is to achieve greater inner peace. Realizing that I needed more structure to my search for a calmer existence, for a while I attempted guided mindfulness exercises. Those too, however, were soon abandoned.

But now, one sixth of my waking hours is to be spent in silence, with no, or minimal, stimulation. For someone who as a general rule never walks without listening to a podcast at the same time, someone who can’t watch TV without simultaneously doing light work, someone who, in short, goes to great length to avoid having a second for wandering thoughts, this has proven difficult.

It’s also been a great exercise. The first time I did the ten-minute challenge, every thirty seconds felt like an eternity. After a few days of it, it’s getting much easier. In fact, I’ve almost—almost!—stopped opening one eye before hitting the halfway mark. In addition to giving the doctors more data, I’m giving myself more serenity. That’s the idea, anyway.

I still reward myself with a Lindt miniature chocolate ball after most eyes-closed segments, though. I’ll call it self-love.


2 thoughts on “Forced Meditation

  1. Dude! What a well-kept secret! Good for you! 🙂 If you need some more help, there are meditation apps. I use one that I pay for, but you can use it for ten days for free, and they cleverly call it “Take 10.” It’s called Headspace.

    And meditation is that way for everyone, and not just for the newly-initiated—even for people who meditate every day or often. Thinking a bunch is part of the point, I’ve discovered (not really on my own, but from reading an AWESOME meditation book. I can tell you about it, if you want; I think you’d really like it because the dude who wrote it writes off meditation on several occasions and swears; this pleases ME, anyway). When you meditate, you learn to notice and observe without judgement, and you can teach yourself to observe your thoughts and emotions without attachment. And, on good days, you won’t have many thoughts to observe, and that’s a great feeling, too.

    Anyway, forgive me for the long comment; I don’t get many people to talk about meditation with 🙂 Good for you, dude. Your EMU technician is a pretty cool person, and you’re right to reward yourself with chocolate after each session!

  2. You would not believe how much artifact and chaos there is in the tracings with just an involuntary eye blink, much less moving around. Interesting theory, hope it provides more insight!

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