Meditation Sets Off Hospital Alarms

I received permission to share the following email about a meditating patient's hospital experience: "One funny side effect of meditating in a hospital. I had a lot of complications following my operation. Finding myself in a lot of pain in intensive care for 3 days I turned to awareness of breathing to try to find a way to soften around the pain. I usually follow my breathing down to a level where I'm not controlling or looking for the next breath. Just waiting for the breathing to happen on it's own - moment by moment.

At exactly this point in my search for restfulness and calmness - all the emergency monitors to which my body was hooked up would start beeping alarms and the nurses would come rushing in. Hospital heart rate, breath rate, and oxygen level sensors are not calibrated to allow for the pauses in breathing that I naturally enter into when getting grounded in my meditation. Each time I meditated, as soon as I started getting some real relaxation - all hell would break loose with alarm bells ringing and nurses coming in to see if I had expired.

The nurses got so tired of false alarms coming from a perfectly alive, albeit from a medical point of view, an excessively mindful patient, that they eventually had to turn almost all the machines off. But they said I had to promise not to die on them. Which I did. David"