A Probability to Examine In
This is an excerpt from “My transcendental meditation journey” by Geri Hirsch, which was originally published on her blog “Because I am addicted”.
I wish I could say meditation became part of my life because I downloaded an app or felt an inner need for it, but for me my meditation practice came out of necessity. That need was my fight against post-traumatic stress disorder.
Ten months after I married the man of my dreams, my husband Darin went on his morning run – something he did every day. But instead of returning home as usual, Darin was found lifeless on the sidewalk by a passerby who then called 911. He was resuscitated by a sheriff and taken to the hospital where they found that my young, healthy husband was in cardiac arrest. They immediately performed heart surgery on him, then spent days in a coma. I found myself in a stressful, traumatic, and unstable state of my life, something that I would find would take quite a while.
By the grace of all the positive vibrations in the world, Darin and I left the hospital hand in hand three weeks later. He was perfect and would be fine; It was truly a miracle and there are no words to describe the level of gratitude I have every day for his recovery, but the consequences have been a struggle.
When we returned home, I stopped sleeping (something I was really good at until now). I literally watched him breathe all night, counting his breaths by the thousands, until I fell asleep, woke up in a panic, and then started counting over. I was always concerned, and although he was alive and well, my nervous system would not relax. I was stressed the whole time. Even when I was with Darin doing the things we loved or nothing, I was as tense as possible. I was constantly afraid that I would lose him, and my mind couldn’t shake the graphic images from the time we spent in intensive care.
I had PTSD and needed help.
In the meantime, a friend of my husband’s gave him a transcendental meditation course as a recovery gift. My husband, who was already as calm and cool as a cucumber, took it in like a Zen Buddha. After the four day class, he meditated daily and I could feel his calm – which made me crazier because I was so unusually hectic.
Two months later, he convinced me to take the class myself, and so I did.
When people ask me why I like [Transcendental Meditation]I can only explain it one way: we spend our whole lives in our bodies, but we don’t spend a lot of time with ourselves. We keep walking, walking, walking and doing, doing, doing and seldom stopping – I mean REALLY stopping – to concentrate and get in touch with our thoughts. TM is that time; It’s the chance to check in with your mind. It is 20 minutes to be one with myself and my thoughts, which contributes to great clarity and peace. (TM is usually done twice a day, in the morning before caffeine and later in the afternoon).
The idea that having a daily practice helps with PTSD (or stress in general) is not only supported by me but also by science. Neuroscientists have found that the brain generates high-power alpha waves during TM practice. This distinct brain pattern corresponds to the state of relaxed inner alertness – serenity, expansion, and bliss. It also reduces stress hormones by activating the “tend-and-befriend” or “rest-and-digest” functions of the parasympathetic nervous system while calming the sympathetic nervous system, which stimulates the “fight or flight” response.
In addition to helping with my PTSD, my practice has made me feel generally calm. It also got me extremely energized, which was an added bonus that I wasn’t exactly aware of.
Click here to read the full piece on Because I’m Addicted.
In addition to her work on “Because I’m Addicted”, Geri Hirsch is Creative Director and founding member of the luxury clean make-up line Saie Beauty. She also helps run her family run Los Angeles cafe called Neighborhood.