What a weird sensation. Here I am, happy as a clam, spending a few days at the monastery when, all of a sudden, I experience a prolonged sense of vertigo. I’ve had this several times before over the years; no reliable explanation or antidote. To the observer I appear healthy and upright, but inside my head everything’s spinning . Yesterday I was able to cope by sitting still and lying down at my own pace. Today, the monastic schedule once more dictates our activities and I had to make it known that I couldn’t do my share of chores.
My teacher has experienced similar symptoms herself and, as a MD, explains possible causes and conditions. Dr. Google mentions Vestibular Balance Disorder replete with a map of the ear (above). Lacking a thorough examination and proper tests, we’re left with educated guesses. I’m sent to lie down and dinner will be brought to me.
But what if it’s something horrible; what if it’s a brain tumour? It might well be a tumor, or the rare Fred Myers Disease, or an aspect of ageing, or something to do with barometric pressure in the Columbia River Basin. Endless possibilities; as many as a busy mind can conceive.
I lie down, prop my spinning head on a pillow and bring attention to the breath. That much I know: I’m inhaling and I’m exhaling, circa 17 time each minute; rib cage and belly expanding and contracting. Everything else is projection and fabrication. Gradually anxiety subsides and direct experience informs my awareness. It’s calm at the centre of the hurricane.