Thursday, 11 May 2017
A near-death experience on a retreat in a mountain village. One week of silence and twelve hours of sitting meditation in a largely unheated monastery of sorts, end of January. Four days in, I'm nearing a psychological meltdown and start having palpitations that get so bad that I ask for an ambulance. It takes about half-an-hour to get there and all this time I'm telling myself to just hang on, breathe, the medics will come and sort me out. But when they do they just hook me up to an EEG thing that beeps along with my heart and stand there, defibrillators in hand, saying that they can't give me any med's as it would be too dangerous. I guess what I learned there and then is that ultimately your life is in your hands alone, that if you don't muster the will to live, nobody can do it for you. I still have the printout of my heart-curve, it looks like a blueprint for a roller coaster; a good-luck charm of sorts.