The Body has a Mind of Its Own
I’ve enjoyed several small group conversations where we’ve discussed humanity’s numerous intellectual centers.
The most common are: the intellect of the mind, the intellect of the gut and the intellect of the heart. When I studied with Ken Wilber, I learned that there is also Math Intelligence, Music Intelligence, Spiritual Intelligence, Social Intelligence, Art Intelligence and several more ways in which humanity expresses their gifts through intellect. I’m here to tell you that the body has its own intellect.
I was released from a weeklong stay in the hospital on Saturday and on Wednesday I was back in the Emergency Room because the body has a mind of its own.
Rose picked me up at about 8:15 to take me to my chiropractor, Dr. Dickerson. When she arrived at my home, I was slumped over the kitchen table. I’d been there since I got out of the shower an hour later.
As I stepped out of the shower I began to breathe deeply, almost gasping, making it hard to talk or breathe. I was gasping for air and I thought it was just a new symptom.
So many things had taken place the previous week with doctors having difficulty figuring out was going on in this body. It seemed a rational conclusion that something new was showing its face. I wasn’t alarmed, just couldn’t figure out what was going on. The observer I am was curious.
By the time Rose and I arrived at the Dr. Dickerson’s I couldn’t walk without her help. I laid my arm around her shoulders, and she escorted me into the building.
None of us could figure out what was going on. Dr. Dickerson suggested we go to the Emergency Room. He’d already adjusted my diaphragm twice this week and although it’s been difficult for me to talk and breathe, he’d never seen me like this. Rose took me to the ER.
By the time we got to ER I could hardly walk. It was so weird to have absolutely no control over the body. It seemed to be losing all its muscles. The nurse brought a wheelchair to the car and took me directly into an ER room. They admitted me as I gasped and then tried to talk and then gasped and answered their questions. Rose started answering for me.
Quickly I was in one of the back rooms of ER and being hooked up to an IV with blood work beginning. Rose had called Randy and he arrived pretty quickly.
A CT scan and an MRI were ordered after the doctor asked me to lift my legs and I couldn’t get them to lift them more than a couple inches off the stretcher. I just looked at at my legs, neither would work the way I knew they could. The finger to nose and finger to finger thing was pretty shaky too. It was so interesting to observe. The mind couldn’t make the body do anything, and the observer was so curious.
After being hooked up to a couple of machines my breathing began to slow. As time passed I became calmer and eventually was breathing regularly. The doctor explained that he believed I was having a panic attack. Amazing, the first one EVER.*
He told us the panic attack was the response of the body to not getting enough oxygen. Now I understood that I’d been hyperventilating since about 7:30 this morning; it was about 10:00 by now. I’d expelled most of the carbon dioxide in my body, so my ph was off, my body was unbalanced – it couldn’t operate out of balance. So very interesting.
During all of this the nurses would take my blood pressure and I’d ask Randy the reading was. In the beginning he wouldn’t tell me because the numbers were off the charts!
But, there was some humor in all of this. About an hour before we left he reported the blood pressure was 125/72. “You’re normal,” he said.
Everything was quiet for a moment. Then the three of us, Rose, Randy and I, just looked at each other; the thought of me being normal broke us up. We laughed the kind of laugh where your belly hurts and you can’t stop. A fitting way to leave ER.
This body had scared itself silly. Yet my witness was alive and well during the entire ordeal - and curious. The body felt it didn’t have enough oxygen, yet there wasn’t an inkling of an idea in the mind as to what was happening and the mind didn’t get involved. It let what was happening simply be what was happening. The mind was fully cognizant, answered questions, reported on progress, and yet the mind held the incident with an open hand, as the Buddhist say. So very interesting.
My mindful practice is paying off even during a trauma in my everyday life. Amazing.
Lovenough, katherine #5
*Yesterday I remembered another panic attack in a cave in Devil’s Den, but that’s another story.