The doctor had recommended meditation. I was skeptical. But I was willing to try anything, if it would mean getting a decent sleep at night and relieving the constant tightness in my jaw.
I sat on the bed in my boxers, cross-legged, upturned hands resting on my knees with my thumbs and forefingers pinched together – the posture of a buddhist monk from a temple of the Tibetan foothills. This is ridiculous, my mind protested. Total nonsense.
I pushed the rebellious thoughts away and focused. I took deep, full breaths with my whole body and embraced the darkness behind my closed eyelids. In focusfocusfocus Out focusfocusfocus.
The constant mental static – the report due on Friday, groceries I had to buy this week, the running tap that needed fixing – all of it receded into the background. I felt the room fall far away and a numbing calm spread from my chest into my limbs. I was in the darkness with my mind.
Then I felt it. I wasn’t alone. There was something in the darkness with me. I could feel its presence. It was big. It was watching. It wanted me. And it was coming for me.
I felt a tightness in my chest, a rising panic. My heart raced as I felt the presence expand and come toward me, but the sensation of my heart’s arrhythmic thumping against my chest was far away – behind a wall, underwater.
This isn’t right. This isn’t right. It’s coming. Oh god, it’s coming. Run. I’ve got to escape. I’ve got to get out. I’ve got to get out.
I try to open my eyes, but find that I cannot.