Many children who run away from violence and abuse at home end up living on the streets. In the U.S., over 300,000 such children are involved in sex trafficking. For some of the lucky ones who have been rescued, in this country and abroad, meditation is a vital part of their healing and recovery.
“Children of the Night,” a highly regarded youth shelter in Southern California, has teamed up with the David Lynch Foundation to offer the Transcendental Meditation technique as part of its program to help child prostitutes overcome trauma and build a positive, productive life.
“I never thought I could do it,” says one of the teens, speaking of meditation. “Before I started TM, I had a really negative energy – I had to have that vibe to survive. The first time I meditated, it was the most calming experience I ever had in my life. I started to become happier. I felt, like, human. When I do it, my anxiety goes away completely.”
Puki Freeberg teaches Transcendental Meditation classes at the shelter in Los Angeles. “As everyone knows, abused kids are often shut down emotionally,” she told me. “Trauma is stored in the nervous system. TM is known to provide physiological relaxation – deeper than ordinary rest or sleep, studies show. Through the deep rest, knots of emotional stress just melt away.”
To many, meditation suggests mental control, contemplation, or striving to become more aware of one’s thoughts or feelings. Fortunately, this meditation technique involves no effort, no rehashing the past, and is easy to practice – even for turbulent teens.
“You don’t have to control the mind or sort through negative emotions to meditate,” says Puki. “TM allows these kids to transcend or get beyond their busy, agitated minds and quickly settle into a state of comfort. They take to it pretty easily and love meditating because they get immediate relief.”
No one can change what’s happened to these children in the past, but the human spirit is so infinitely flexible that with proper care it can rebound – especially when we’re young.
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