How the Rebbe Saved Me Three Times with Meditation!!!!
In this installment, I’d like to discuss something that is very close to my heart, and relevant at this time of the year. Today is my Jewish birthday, the 15th of Sivan which corresponded this year to the 26th of May. (My Gregorian birthday is the 21st of June.) Four years ago, at my birthday gathering, I celebrated my wonderful, spontaneous, and miraculous recovery from “my stroke of good fortune.” A week before that celebration, on Shavous day, I had a stroke while I was preparing and awaiting 10 guests for the holiday meal (I will hopefully share details about that in another installment). Knowing that one couple would arrive early, I calmed myself down with my relaxation techniques to await their arrival. I knew that if I needed to go to the hospital, calling 911 alone on the holiday would be very disorienting to my guests arriving in my absence. Since it was the holiday, I could not inform them of my predicament. My friends arrived and helped me get the ambulance, supplies for the two-day (holiday and) probable hospital stay.
Although, of course, it was a very worrisome time for my friends and family, even when I felt the initial symptoms of the stroke, and recognized what it was, I still had Bitachon – absolute trust that G-d was in charge and that I would be well. I am certain that my prior practice of breathing, my bitachon, and the meditation (CLICK HERE for the Three-Legged Stool) kept me in good stead during this trying time. As I practiced my techniques I was able to stay calm and present. Certainly, over many years of practice, these things were available to me at the time of my trial, when I needed them most. Practicing regularly when you don’t “need it,” makes it available when you’re on the spot or in the moment of the challenge when it is vital. This is similar to the scales the pianist or violinist practices before learning a piece and going on stage to perform (so his fingers can glide over the instrument with comfort and ease). The “performance” is successful because of the prior diligence and repeated practice.
If you have been following this blog from the beginning, you are aware that I did Transcendental Meditation (“TM”) when I was a wild teen. Having “mastered” the technique,” I practiced it 20 minutes, twice daily! Looking back, I cannot believe I had the patience to repeat one sound over and over for 20 minutes! (For example, for you to get the idea, say, “Cookie, cookie, cookie…” to yourself for 20 minutes 🙂) If I would ask a 21st Century client to do that even once daily, they would buck and ask for a referral for another, more realistic therapist.
TM deliberately conceals the fact that it is based on Hindu, polytheistic practices. Although the basic technique is similar to what we have discussed in this blog (i.e., focusing on an object, sensation, word, image, etc.), the carryover elements of Hinduism are present in TM and are not permissible to monotheists. Nonetheless, practicing TM over a period of time does produce many benefits (along with the potential spiritual deficits). So, the TM organization (which had significant financial coffers due to the costly “initiation fees”) was able to sponsor NIH studies proving the benefits of meditation. What they did not study, was the fact that one did not need to explicitly do the Transcendental Meditation format (i.e., with mantras naming gods and goddesses). The neuroplastic effect of the repetition would have worked with any format, however, TM’s contained names of deities, and at that time was really the only store on the block. When I found out that my mantra was the name of a Hindu goddess, I was shocked and felt horribly betrayed by TM’s dishonesty. They claimed my “sound” was personally chosen for me and had no meaning to it.
Nonetheless, the positive effect of the meditation made an incredible impact on me. Not only did it calm me down, but it helped me get through college with greater ease. Once I stopped doing TM, the mantra kept “dripping like a faucet” in my head. Thank G-d I found out about the Rebbe’s Sicho (public address) on Meditation while in college. I immediately stopped meditating. I attribute my involvement with developing relaxation and meditation recordings to the Rebbe’s request for a clinical format of meditation. CLICK HERE to read it. I feel it is my mission to create these materials and disseminate them, making them available to monotheists. I’ve met many non-Jews, Christians in particular, who are very disturbed at the thought of using eastern meditation techniques. They are relieved to find out that I am providing neutral formats.
(To be continued in part 2…)
With gratitude to Hashem for the daily reminder of His blessings, I would like to share with you a BIRTHDAY BUNDLE gift of three recordings from anywhere in my NOGA® Sound Solutions pages (CLICK HERE). At checkout, use the coupon code “BIRTHDAY” to get any 3 audios for free until June 6! Happy Birthday and RE-Birthday to Me. sending gifts your way! 🙂
(“How the Rebbe Saved Me Three Times with Meditation!!!” will be continued, G-d willing, next time)