Tag Archive: Buddhism

Meditation check

During January I did not experience any positional vertigo. (Hooray!) Starting this past weekend, however, I started to get the vaguest hints of trouble when my body brushed against the edge of formerly-problematic positions. I would get the sensation that things were about to spin out of control, but then they wouldn’t. A few times I felt like I was able to “resist” the centrifugal force by focusing my attention on the stability and uprightness of my body, as if I was saying “No!” and grabbing hold of something so I wouldn’t move. These “symptoms” are unlike anything I’ve experienced before, and they don’t feel like the ones that portend a flare up. I am hoping that my brain is doing some re-calibration right now and that these symptoms represent a new chapter of my Vertigo Journey.

I recently restarted a daily meditation practice that had been on, er, hiatus for a while.  I noticed that as I sit with my eyes closed, I sometimes get distracted and my posture shifts out of alignment; for example, my neck might turn or tilt.  I used to just straighten up when I became aware of this, but yesterday I opened my eyes briefly to see visually how much I had shifted. To my surprise, my head was upright and straight! So I closed my eyes and “felt” what “straight” was. This is another example of my brain and body getting re-calibrated after nearly a year of bad input. I am hopeful that I will continue to heal and that there will be an End to Vertigo for me!


How to be sick

Image of front cover of How to be SickI recently checked out How to be Sick: a Buddhist-inspired guide for the chronically ill and their caregivers by Toni Bernhard, and I found it so useful that I am purchasing a copy of my own. This book has been on my To-Read list for a few years, since before I began experiencing recalcitrant vertigo, and the time was definitely right for me to finally read it. My wife read it as well, and we both agree that you don’t have to be chronically ill to benefit from the straight-forward messages of Toni’s book.

I want to highlight one of the practices in How to be Sick called “weather practice.”  Its name is drawn from a line from a movie in which a meteorologist says to a weather reporter who demands a more accurate forecast, “It’s wind, man.  It blows all over the place.”  The Buddhist-inspired weather practice reminds us of the impermanence of what we are feeling in the present moment. It will pass, it will not last forever. This is one of the tools I used to soothe myself during a recent disastrous yoga class.  When I felt overwhelmed by nausea and despair, I reminded myself that the feelings would soon “blow by” and that I needn’t be afraid of feeling so terribly forever.

In the moment, I had trouble making that reassurance “stick,” and I slid repeatedly back into anguished inner wailing.  But then I’d invoke the practice and gain a few moments of reprieve from suffering. Again and again.  That’s why it’s called a practice!