The Important Thing is The Breathing!
I have had Grande Mal Seizures as a result of brain injury as a child. It was the ultimate parent’s worry of a 5 year old running into the street to get a ball!
The seizures started when I was 13 years old. My mother and sister (Guru Raj Kaur Khalsa in Vancouver) were waiting on the subway station in NYC. As the train pulled in the flashing lights from the windows caused a strobe affect and the train stopped, I had a Grande Mal seizure in which I lost consciousness, and fell forward into the open door of the train! I know, right! My guardian angel was on duty! Imagine a few seconds earlier and I would not be here today.
For those of you who do not know what that feels like to have a Seizure, it began by the severe uncontrollable twitching of the left side of my face, the muscles in moments lock, my eyes rolled up, and I lost consciousness, sometimes for up to 15 -20 minutes. My body went completely limp, falling down like a puppet whose strings are cut. It is exhausting and frightening for those observing a person having a seizure. It can also be very humiliating depending on the circumstances.
For 7 years I was prescribed Dilantin and Phenobarbital, but these medications did not prevent nor fortify me against seizures which were triggered by any type of strobe effect. For example the light flashing between the trees. I could not drive for many years.
The most tragic part of my story may not be the brain injury, seizures and their effects, but how the medical community dealt with me.
Our family’s financial situation at the time made it necessary to go to Kings County Hospital. It turned out that every time I went for my medication, quarterly, they would run some tests, an EEG, and believe it or not, induce a seizure every time.
Now the story gets hopeful!
In 1973 I asked Yogi Bhajan if he had any suggestions for me to help control the seizures. He told me to do Bij Mantra Long Sat Naam for 31 minutes a day for several months, “And let me know what happens.
Well I did it. The last time i went for my medication and they did the test as they started the strobe lights I started to breathe and meditate. No seizure! The technician came out of the booth and asked “What are you doing!” and I replied “I’m relaxing.” He said: “Stop, you’re ruining the test!”
You can imagine, that was the last time I went there. A year later I had no seizures and I decided to stop taking the medications. (It turns out that Dilantin damages the gums and I do have that to remember it by)
I had one Grande Mal Seizure a year later, I was traveling a lot and wasn’t taking care of myself, but since then in over 40 years ago, I’ve had not a single Grande Mal Seizure.
Some people prefer to say it has gone into remission all by itself. now they might be called meditation -deny-ers!
Unfortunately although I have conquered Grande Mal Seizures the weakness is still present, so continued meditation and healthy diet supports my peaceful response to a trigger.
One of the most humbling blessings of this has been my ability to help others with Seizures and give them hope.
This is a letter from a senior in her 80’s who has a attended our Kundalini Yoga chair classes once a week, hosted by the Senior Center at Weiss Hospital in Chicago. There are from 20-30 regular seniors all over 70 and into their 90’s. Maria has given me permission to share it.
“Years ago, I wrote a little poem, wanting to know, where and what collides when I take those many trips into the unknown, my Epileptic Seizures.
That has become so unimportant now, because, in just the last 6 months, instead 5-6 a month it is now 1 every 5-6 weeks.
Yes, I am still on medication, but the healing is my Yoga Teacher's gentle voice. I know, words will fail me how to explain this. The Important thing is the Breathing!
"Breathe in, hold, exhale,” is never a command but his words are the opening of an unspoken energy, it stops the fighting and by just following his voice I know, I can breach the troubled waters, become a calm wave, mere air. And he showed me the way in less than 6 months.
Thank you for all your patience. Maria Egel”