Transcendental Meditation – The First Step to My Survival and Recovery from a Life of Child Abuse and Domestic Violence
July 21, 2013
As you may know, my book, True North – The Shocking Truth about “Your, Mine and Ours” is about my story of survival and recovery from a life of child abuse and domestic violence. You may also know I am committed to raising awareness of these serious issues. Though my own healing is ongoing and literally day by day, I feel I’ve made it through, and I want to let other victims know that there is help and hope.
In my book I quote Dr. Haim Ginott, author, educator and clinical psychologist: “Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.” There are literally hundreds of thousands of victims around the world and the silence that surrounds these issues is deafening. Child maltreatment is a global problem with serious life-long consequences.
Studies show that children who experience physical, emotional and sexual abuse may be marked for life. From stress that is associated with the disruption of early brain development and impairment of the nervous and immune system, to stress that contributes to heart disease, cancer and suicide, child abuse victims are at risk.
Of course, prevention is the best hope for reducing child abuse and neglect and improving the lives of children and families.
But, once the damage from child abuse and domestic violence has been done, what does one do about it?
Most often, the emotional content of abuse is pushed down into the victim’s sub-conscious mind where it festers and contributes to behavioral problems throughout life. Some even block it out. Many choose to self-medicate by engaging in substance abuse of one kind or another. Coping from day to day, victims get by, until they get fed up enough with their misery. Then, they gather the courage to make real, lasting changes in the way they feel and behave, and they get help. Many reach out through support groups made possible by professional organizations. (See the extensive Resource Guide at the end my book for a list of agencies and healing modalities.)
In my case, I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn Transcendental Meditation (TM), and it was my first step to recovery. I was amazed at the immediate changes in how I felt. For example, I had been so bitter and angry that I had been unable to give a compliment, and I didn’t know why. As soon as I learned to meditate, I actually found myself giving compliments to people as I recognized the good in others. The longer I practiced TM, the more relaxed I became. Every meditation seemed to reduce my defensiveness and sarcastic nature. Over time, people even commented that there was something different about me – I seemed less stressed, more relaxed. In truth, I was getting in touch with the goodness in myself as I was beginning my healing journey.
Hundreds of scientific studies conducted at more than 200 independent universities and research institutions over the last forty years attest to the benefits of TM in a wide range of expressions – from physiological to psychological and emotional, to promoting health. These benefits may not always show up right away as they did in my case, but show up they will.
I’ll be sharing more benefits of TM with you in the future. Keep in mind that the reason TM is referred to as a “practice” is because that is what’s required. As I noted above, my own recovery is day by day, and I still meditate every day.