After the craniotomy, it’s not that I couldn’t multi-task, it’s that I couldn’t multi-think.
I couldn’t even mono-think. Everything was so quiet.
And slow. Snail slow. Baseball in august slow. But also sunrise slow. Imperceptible, beautiful. My brain was quiet for the first time in my life—so quiet. No thoughts, no stories, no nothing. Instead, I seemed only able to do what was right in front of me. A cup of tea. Music. Napping with my feline companion, my best friend, Lili. Just that moment.
I don’t recall experiencing this before, not in all the years of supposedly silent meditations, not in my most relaxed moments. This was different–but related now. This was Quiet.
Lauren Marks talks about The Quiet in “A Stitch in Time,” her chronicle of a massive aneurysm that left her with a few neurological challenges such as aphasia, language disruption. In the early months of her recovery, the quiet she experienced was profound. When I read her book, I was nearly ecstatic to read her descriptions of something that seems almost impossible to describe–The Quiet. Normal people can’t imagine how quiet the brain can be when it is without narrative or analytical thought.
And not everyone who has a neurological crisis will experience this. But she did, and I did, and I found it the most amazing experience. She is more than ten years out of her neuro-event, but she was changed by it in ways that resonate for me. I grateful she offered account of what the world was like then. This quote is taken from a recent interview–I am so with you on this, Lauren!
“I think for several years “THE QUIET’ was readily accessible, now it is much more deliberate- my meditation practice. Sitting through meditation is a deliberate practice now and it’s not just that I slip into quiet now the way that I used to. I think the only thing that I would say about that is, even though its deliberate, it’s not esoteric. Meaning that I think a lot of people meditate hoping to find something there and they ask themselves “was that it? Did I almost get it?” and for me I know it’s already there. Even if I can’t always tap that wave exactly, I have felt it, I know it exists. It’s not like a search in vein. The knowledge that is there is enough to make the practice valuable.