It’s no secret; I’m a big fan of meditation.
What’s not to love? It reduces stress, increases focus and improves self-awareness. I use this tool all the time with clients to help remove the mental clutter and uncover the root causes of their challenges.
But meditation has other benefits which I discovered during a life threatening situation in Tibet…
Rewind to my life prior to the trip: I just got out of a bad break up and finished my university. I wanted to get out and explore the world. Tibet was a part of the world I had always dreamed of visiting…
Being with mostly older people in my tour group, I thought I was in the best shape and that the hike to Mt. Everest would be a breeze. This couldn’t have been any further from the truth.
As soon as I got off the plane, my body felt strange. My fingers, nose, and lips felt tingly, and I couldn’t take a deep breath. Everyone reassured me things would get better, so I continued onward.
The first few days were fine but as we climbed higher something really strange happened. By the time we reached 4500 meters, I started getting hallucinations. Yep, a drug-free hallucination trip in Tibet (not as fun as it might sound). Everything appeared to move in slow motion and I no longer had any sense of reality.
My tour group began looking at me strangely and I heard people whispering, “We should take her down,” but I didn’t understand why or what was really going on.
The next thing I knew, the tour guide rushed me down the mountain on foot to get to the bottom – he hoped that the 300 meter descend would help my state of mind. I remember finally being taken to an ambulance (after getting a ride in a motorized wheelbarrow!) and being rushed to the hospital.
Eventually I was taken down to China and spent the next month recovering in a hospital. It turned out that my cerebellum; the part responsible for balance and motor function was damaged which was why I couldn’t walk or move normally.
Unfortunately the TV in my room was just showing Chinese propaganda, which did nothing to distract me from my discomfort. So all I could do was meditate.
As I began meditating, the area of my brain that got injured would start to heat up and intensify.
I tested this out to see why this was happening. As soon as I got out of the meditation, the feeling would go away. When I started again, the heating sensation returned. I was able to control this strange sensation!
I had this intuitive knowing that whenever I got into deep meditation, my body was actually healing itself and I was able to control it. I knew meditation was great for stress, but this experience helped me to see the physical benefits first hand.
Everyone, including my doctors back home, thought I wouldn’t survive this ordeal or at the very least never be the same again. But after a couple months of rest and hours upon hours of daily meditation, I got back up and continued on with my trip for another 4 months!
Meditating is a powerful practice that can help you overcome mental blocks but in my experience in Tibet, I learned that it also has incredible physical benefits too.
Now I’d love to hear from you! What happens to you while you meditate? What changes do you feel physically, mentally or emotionally? Share your stories in a comment below!