I have a condition called Meniere’s Disease. It is a disorder of the inner ear, a fluid imbalance in the semicircular canals that can cause debilitating vertigo. Extreme episodes cause nausea, vomiting, and the need to curl up in the fetal position in a dark room. I am lucky that I rarely experience severe episodes, and the disease is well managed. My heart goes out to those who have ongoing paralyzing experiences.
During a recent Meniere’s episode, as I lay on the floor under a comforting quilt, I remembered my practice of equanimity. Life is all about equilibrium. When we lose our bearings, we tend to suffer. So my disease becomes my spiritual practice. Prayers rise from dizziness—accompanied by a wish for all beings to find their way with balance and strength.
My teachers always suggested to use whatever is happening as practice. Moment to moment awareness is the main meditation. In our tradition it is called “undistracted non-meditation.” If we are not distracted by our self-absorbed discomfort, we become available to the moment. The heart is unchained from pain—and love for others takes the edge off our personal suffering.