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.