I recently read about a coma victim who was diagnosed as being in a vegetative state. For 23 years after his accident, his mind functioned almost completely normally, but he could in no way communicate with doctors and they thought he was a complete vegetable. It must have been agony…
Recently, a new examination discovered a way for this man to communicate with the outside world again. His coping mechanism? Meditation.
“The Belgian former engineering student, who speaks four languages, said he coped with being effectively trapped in his own body by meditating. He told doctors he had “travelled with my thoughts into the past, or into another existence altogether”. Sometimes, he said, “I was only my consciousness and nothing else”.
If this man has been meditating in the ultimate isolation for 23 years, what can we learn about the practice of meditation from him? It seems to me this may be a chance to turn a horrible tragedy into new insights about both the practice of meditation, and it’s physical effects on the brain as well as psychological well-being.