Yesterday, the Matron went to hear this monk:
He gave a very fine presentation on happiness and the mind-body connection. Turns out he volunteered his brain for this:
Scientists were able to follow the brain changes in monks that meditated. Matthieu Ricard? He once spent 22 hours in the course of 3 days in an MRI capsule. Once, he was in that machine for 9 hours, straight.
Here is what happens to your head:
And then they insert you.
Ricard had science to back up his home run point (all of them). Meditate, practicing loving kindness and compassion and not only will you be happy (and the world a better place), but your immune system beefs up while your stem-cells just party, they're that much more powerful.
The Matron left the conference chalk stalk and barrel-full of loving kindness! Meditation R Us! Compassion? Radiating off that van!
Until the Matron felt a bit funny. Was that a rain drop on the windshield? Why were letters unreadable - -while traveling at 60 miles an hour? Within minutes, the visual aura was steering that wheel, not the Matron.
She's had migraines before, but this aura lasted nearly an hour! For the uninitiated, disruptive streams of white light shimmer and shine, rendering vision jagged and highly inaccurate.
Then, her left hand started tingling. As in, quite a bit. Now, the Matron had received a chiropractic adjustment just that morning and she was pretty sure that the hand was vertebra related.
Still, the aura persisted and the hand throbbed and burned. But she pulled into the driveway and was steady in her step -- if not her vision.
Coming from a long line of people who drop dead without warning, the Matron wondered if this was one. So she called her clinic.
M: "So. . . ideas?"
M: "Do you think I should make an appointment?"
Nurse: "Oh no! I was trying to decide if you should call 911 or have someone drive you. Like now."
M: "Well, I can drive myself."
Nurse: "No, I really can't let you. You may not drive yourself. It's forbidden."
M: "Okay, then."
Of course we all know who wins that battle and the Matron drove to the Emergency Room. Sharp thing, she brought along everything she needed to prepare for her 8:30 am Saturday morning creative writing course.
The Matron was actually not unhappy to leave the house right before she was expected to start cooking dinner. In fact, she had badly procrastinated and had half of this left to read!
And a test and lecture to prepare! So she didn't mind (secretly) the departure. She hoped that she got plenty of time to wait!
During her two and a half hour wait, the Matron realized she was not stroking out. The tingling ceased and desisted. The eyes worked quite well. They could track the hand of that clock as it made its slooooooooooooooow round. Twice. Then half again.
But! She was a docile, compliant and uncomplaining patient . . . until exactly 21 seconds after she finished every last little bit of her work.
After inquiry and small fit that included her immediate intention to depart, somehow a room magically opened its doors for her!
Her very fine doctor convinced her that she had made the right decision! Why, she could be having TIA's, little tiny stroke precursors even as they spoke! That chiropractor (an intern even!) could've scrambled some big artery.
So she agreed to the MRI and CT scan.
And muttered and paced and swore at the gods while waiting another 45 minutes before either of those began.
And when it was her turn to get shot into that MRI bullet - and to BE Matthieu Ricard, all synchronictiy and challenge and Zen --- the moment to have your head buckled up all unavailable for your personal use, and it was 11:10 pm and the technician smiled and offered:
"Since this is a 50 minute test, I hope you'll be able to sleep."
The formerly beatific Queen of all things meditative did this:
She eventually agreed to the 20 minute shortcut to the brain.
She is fine. The Matronly brain is a lesson in perfection. All is well. But that whole loving-kindness, compassion and calm state of being?
Work in progress.