Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Meditation Comes In Handy

I've been on a meditation tear for the last three months or so, sitting half an hour every morning on the floor in my study, with Wolfie curled up against me and Bisou snoozing on the bed (if I close the door and don't let them in they sit in the hallway and make pitiful sounds).  This is the longest stretch of daily meditation I've ever done, but it's still mostly a wrestling match with my monkey mind while my breath refuses to "come and go naturally."  So I've been going on blind faith that somehow this is doing some good.

Yesterday I went to the dentist to have a crown and a filling replaced.  For an hour and a half (I checked my watch) I sat in the chair with my head tilted down and my feet tilted up and my mouth open as far as it would go--no, farther--while the dentist and his assistant drilled and sprayed and vacuumed and said "bite down, please," and then drilled some more.

I was lying there with my eyes closed and sort of scanning my body for points of tension and then one of the phrases I sometimes say when I meditate popped into my head, "May all beings be at ease," and I said it a few times.  Then it occurred to me how lucky I was to have all my teeth, to be lying with not a twinge of pain while these two gentle people did their best to give me a toothache-free future, and to live in a century when these things were possible.

I was feeling grateful and dreamy and as though there were three of us working on the crown and the filling:  the dentist, his assistant, and I.  During a break in the drilling I heard him mumble into his mask something ending in "...so relaxed," and then the assistant laughed and said "If she were any more relaxed, she'd be asleep."

At the end, when she was putting in the temporary crown, the assistant said "It's so much easier to work when the patient is relaxed.  How did you do it?"   I hesitated whether to tell her the truth, but I finally said I meditated.

"I've read about meditation," she said, "but I always think my mind would be thinking about all the things I've got to do."

"Oh, don't worry about that," I answered.  "It happens to everybody.  It's just monkey mind."

She gave me a look, and then said "Be careful when you floss on that side.  You don't want to pull your temporary out."

5 comments :

  1. i'm the opposite. if i think about being tense, i can feel my body tense up. if i think about having a headache, one will start crawling up my spine. but if i think about being relaxed, nothing happens.

    i do think meditation can be a powerful thing, though. and i'm glad to hear that i'm not the only one with a monkey mind.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The dentist's office is where I practice most consistently! And having a gentle dentist certainly helps. I have fallen asleep.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Alison,it does help when they don't hit a nerve, doesn't it? But actually falling asleep--surely that puts you in a higher category of meditator? Or is that a contradiction in terms?

    ReplyDelete