Posts Tagged ‘Operation Warrior Wellness’

Soledad O’Brien interviews Russell Simmons and Bob Roth of the David Lynch Foundation on TM for Vets with PTS on CNN’s Starting Point

November 12, 2012

Soledad O’Brien interviews Bob Roth and Russell Simmons on Starting Point

This morning, November 12, 2012, in honor of Veterans Day, CNN’s Starting Point news anchor Soledad O’Brien interviewed Russell Simmons and Bob Roth of the David Lynch Foundation. They talked about the successful use of Transcendental Meditation (TM) in healing veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. Click on the title to see the (3:41) clip from the interview Vets find wellness in meditation. The show airs weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. ET.

Bob Roth and Russell Simmons

Hip-hop founder, fashion designer and philanthropist Russell Simmons is on the board of The David Lynch Foundation. Bob Roth, a 40-year teacher of Transcendental Meditation, is the executive director of the David Lynch Foundation and president of Operation Warrior Wellness, the newest division to bring relief to veterans and their families suffering from PTS, and to develop greater resilience in cadets at military colleges.

Soledad O’Brien, anchor of CNN’s morning news program Starting Point

Bob Roth described the benefits veterans were experiencing with Transcendental Meditation. Soledad O’Brien enthusiastically said, “What a great gift for Veterans’ Day, when you think about it. I mean if you can give some peace of mind and some calmness in dealing with some of the terrible things they experienced.”

Soldiers practicing Transcendental Meditation

Bob mentioned DLF working with the VA, the Wounded Warrior Project and many military bases. He also mentioned Norwich University, home to the oldest private military college in the nation, using TM to develop resiliency in their cadets. See the Norwich University video Meditation Improves Performance at Military University.

Research shows reductions in anxiety, depression, sleep deprivation, post-traumatic stress, substance abuse and heart disease. One study showed a 50 percent reduction in PTS symptoms within 1-2 months. See Veterans show a 50 percent reduction in PTSD symptoms after 8 weeks of Transcendental Meditation. See this video of Norwich University Professor Carol Bandy presenting findings of TM on resilience and psychological hardiness in cadets and veterans.

Here is the latest video of veterans discussing their PTS experiences and relief with Transcendental Meditation: Training from the Inside: Treating PTSD with TM.  Click on the titles listed at the end of that post to see other videos and articles on this subject. Also see video highlights of the Iowa Veterans Summit – PTSD and Transcendental Meditation.

And here is the full CNN interview now available on YouTube.

Training from the Inside: Treating PTSD with TM

November 11, 2012

Training from the Inside: Treating PTSD with Transcendental Meditation

“I deal with pain every day. I have nerve problems in my leg and the PTSD that the doctors diagnosed me with…functioning becomes impossible, lack of sleep, your work ethic sucks, you can’t focus at work, you can’t do anything, everybody pisses you off…it’s different for everybody. Memories saturate your mind…for me every day is a constant reminder — you relive the same crap over and over and over.” – Sgt James Thrasher, USMC

“I myself have been deployed eight times and been to combat four times. I was diagnosed with PTSD, depression, insomnia. We fight through whatever problems we have, we suck it up, and I did that for many many years. The trauma that I’ve seen the situations that I’ve been through…you take all of that stuff and you put it in a bag and we keep filling up our bag with all these problems rather than dealing with them. – GySgt Richard Wilson, USMC

“What peaked my interest in TM was all the research that’s been done and how incredibly effective it is for trauma, stress…the evidence now is that in combat stress the trauma actually changes the brain so that the ability to self-regulate isn’t there. Meditation helps with information processing, helps with self-regulation. Here we have another tool that is fabulous and they can do for themselves.” – Anna Benson, PhD, Clinical Psychologist

“I was interested in the TM program but I was skeptical at the same time. The power of the TM meditation…it really came out fast and it was surprising to me. Having that inner peace after meditation really really emboldened me to deal with things that I’d been just kind of stuffing away. So to be able to have relief from agitation, have relief from anger, frustration, sleeplessness, alcoholism, drug addiction…that’s huge.” – Sgt James Thrasher, USMC

Uploaded by on Aug 28, 2012

See updated article with photos by Mario Orsatti posted on the TM Blog December 13, 2012: U.S. Marines Talk About the Effect of TM on PTSD.

For more information on the David Lynch Foundation’s Operation Warrior Wellness program please visit http://operationwarriorwellness.org.

For more information on the Transcendental Meditation technique please visit http://tm.org.

Since 2005 the David Lynch Foundation has shared Transcendental Meditation with our most stressed populations. The David Lynch Foundation runs entirely on donations and there is a long list of veterans and sufferers of post-traumatic stress eager to participate.

If you were inspired by this video and would like to make a donation please visit: http://www.operationwarriorwellness.org/how-to-help. Your donations will be used in 3 ways—to help active duty military and veterans suffering from PTS, cadets in training and activated soldiers, and family members of retired and active service personnel. Thank you!

Related news: Soledad O’Brien interviews Russell Simmons and Bob Roth of the David Lynch Foundation on TM for Vets with PTS on CNN’s Starting Point | Military Leaders to Promote Meditation at Iowa Summit to Help Reduce Veteran Suicide EpidemicMatt Kelley of Radio Iowa interviews Jerry Yellin about an Iowa Veterans Summit solution to PTSD | See video highlights of the Iowa Veterans Summit – PTSD and Transcendental Meditation | KTVO News: How one soldier regained his life with help from WWII veteran and TM for PTSDFairfield and Ames war veterans team up to bring meditation (TM) to fellow Iowa vets with PTSD | Mark Newman: Courier: Iowa soldier seeks peace of mind through meditation and medicationMilitary veterans speak on need to increase resiliency: by Diane Vance, Fairfield Ledger | Story County Veteran Once Suicidal Finds Relief from PTSD with Transcendental Meditation: AmesPatch article by Jessica Miller | Veterans speak out on post-traumatic stress, offer a proven way to heal PTSD | Healing the Hidden Wounds of War: open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness | Post Traumatic Stress and How Transcendental Meditation Can Help [Infographic] | Meditation Improves Performance at Military University | Meditation Saves A Veteran From PTSD and SuicideDr. Oz on the Benefits of the TM Technique

Military Leaders to Promote Meditation at Iowa Summit to Help Reduce Veteran Suicide Epidemic

October 4, 2012

 Military Leaders Promote Meditation to Reduce Suicide
Epidemic Among Veterans

VA Funds Studies on PTSD; Iowa Summit to Showcase Benefits

Eighteen veterans commit suicide every day—
a horrific consequence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
More veterans die by suicide every year than are killed annually in Iraq and Afghanistan.

New York, NY — October 4, 2012: America’s veterans and their families are turning to meditation to ease the trauma of combat and pave the way to a healthier life.

The David Lynch Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity founded by iconic filmmaker David Lynch to bring Transcendental Meditation to at-risk populations, will hold an Iowa Veterans Summit on Thursday, October 11, 2012 at the West Des Moines Marriott. A press avail will take place at 10:00 A.M., followed by the Veterans Summit from 1:00 P.M. to 2:30 P.M.

The Summit will present the research and clinical applications of Transcendental Meditation for reducing stress, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), substance abuse and suicide, depression and enhancing resilience and performance.

The Washington Post reported in May that the Department of Veterans Affairs, seeking new ways to treat PTSD, is studying the use of Transcendental Meditation to help returning veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thousands of veterans have learned Transcendental Meditation. Research on veterans who meditate has shown that the technique not only reduces the psychosocial symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression, but also balances serotonin and norepinephrine, and regulates the sympathetic nervous system. Transcendental Meditation is used on the oldest private military campus, Norwich University.

Panelists at The Iowa Veterans Summit include: Dr. Richard W. Schneider, USCGR (Ret.), President, Norwich University; Jerry Yellin, World War II P-51 Fighter Pilot and National Co-Chair, Operation Warrior Wellness; Col. Brian Rees, M.D., Command Surgeon, 63rd Regional Support Command and Luke Jensen, Operation Enduring Freedom veteran and Operation Warrior Wellness (OWW)–Iowa Advisory Board Member. All panelists have extensive experience in using Transcendental Meditation.        

Bob Roth, the Executive Director of The David Lynch Foundation, stated, “It is imperative that we help veterans and the brave men and women still in active-duty deal with the stress that stays with them long after they have returned home. Transcendental Meditation is a wonderful tool that can help those overcome the stress and anxiety from the theater of war, allowing them to lead healthier, more resilient lives.”

Todd M. Jacobus, the Chair of the Iowa Commission of Veteran Affairs, also stated, “Reducing the number of suicides among our Army personnel and veterans today is a top priority of the Army community. Commanders and leaders at all levels of our U.S. Armed Forces are making efforts to remain engaged in the lives of our Soldiers in order to be responsive to their needs and issues, and to get them help. However, these efforts can’t succeed without the involvement of the greater community, including programs like Operation Warrior Wellness, and the Resilient Warrior Program.”

WHAT: Presentations will highlight program outcomes for active-duty military personnel, veterans, cadets and their families. Those invited include military and Veterans Affairs leadership, behavioral health officers, mental health professionals caring for veterans and their families, policy makers, medical researchers and educators.

WHO: Dr. Richard W. Schneider, RADM USCGR (Ret.), President, Norwich University; Jerry Yellin, World War II P-51 Fighter Pilot and National Co-Chair, Operation Warrior Wellness; Col. Brian Rees, M.D., Command Surgeon, 63rd Regional Support Command and Luke Jensen, OEF veteran and OWW–Iowa Advisory Board Member   

WHERE: West Des Moines Marriott, 1250 Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des Moines, Iowa

WHEN: Thursday, October 11, 2012

10:00 A.M.: Press avail

12:00 P.M. – 1:00 P.M.: Lunch

1:00 P.M. – 2:30 P.M.: Veterans Summit

You can view the event brochure by visiting, http://www.operationwarriorwellness.org/iowa_summit.

To arrange an interview with Bob Roth or Jerry Yellin, please contact Ken Chawkin at 641-470-1314 or kchawkin@mum.edu.

About The David Lynch Foundation
The David Lynch Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, was established in 2005 to fund the implementation of scientifically proven stress-reducing modalities including Transcendental Meditation, for at-risk populations such as underserved inner-city students; veterans with PTSD and their families; American Indians suffering from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high suicide rates; homeless men participating in reentry programs striving to overcome addictions; and incarcerated juveniles and adults. For more information, please visit www.davidlynchfoundation.org.

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Reported in The Gazette: Summit in Iowa to promote meditation to reduce suicide among veterans. Radio Iowa: Veteran shares story in hopes of helping others deal with impact of war and Matt Kelley of Radio Iowa interviews Jerry Yellin about an Iowa Veterans Summit solution to PTSD

Here is a newly published Letter to the Editor of the Air Force Times by Dr. Leffler and Dr. Schneider: TM CAN SLOW AGING EFFECT. Also see: Norwich University Studies the Benefits of TM on Cadets.

See video highlights of the Iowa Veterans Summit – PTSD and Transcendental Meditation

Military veterans speak on need to increase resiliency: by Diane Vance, Fairfield Ledger

July 30, 2012

Military veterans speak on need to increase resiliency

Yellin, Travis: TM programs needed for veterans

By DIANE VANCE, Ledger staff writer | Jul 30, 2012

Howard Judge, left, of Fairfield, talks with Luke Jensen Saturday after the forum, Healing the Hidden Wounds of War. Jensen, a former Army Reservist from Story County, spoke about his struggles with posttraumatic stress after an Afghanistan deployment in 2009 and the help he found in practicing Transcendental Meditation. Photo by: DIANE VANCE/Ledger photo

Saturday’s forum in Fairfield about posttraumatic stress was a kick-off to promote the need to equip today’s military with more tools to increase resiliency, said Chris Busch, program director at the David Lynch Foundation.

“We need to establish resilience in our warriors, not only for combat,” Busch told the audience of about 200 people attending Healing the Hidden Wounds of War Fairfield Arts & Convention Center’s Stephen Sondheim Center for Performing Arts.

“The Veterans Administration is paying for two large studies about the effects of Transcendental Meditation on post traumatic stress disorder,” said Busch. “One of the studies is going on in Saginaw, Mich., and one in Minneapolis.”

Jerry Yellin signs a copy of his book, “The Resilient Warrior,” which the Warrior Wellness program of the David Lynch Foundation had available for donations after Saturday’s forum. Refreshments were served in the lobby while a four-piece band played music at Fairfield Arts & Convention Center after the program. (Photo by: DIANE VANCE/Ledger photo)

Another TM study is under way at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt. A private university founded in 1819, Norwich is the birthplace of Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Military cadets volunteered to learn Tanscendental Meditation last school year.

Busch shared a video about the study, including feedback from the student soldiers who have practiced TM since autumn.

“At Norwich, we’ve always worried about the whole person,” said Norwich University President Richard Schneider, in the video, dressed in his two-star, major general U.S. Army uniform. “We’ve always concentrated on making very smart and very strong, great leaders; ethical leaders. I think TM will provide us another whole dimension of integrating all that and improving performance in all those areas. I haven’t found anything else that will do that.”

Cadets in the video speak about heavy class loads, being in leadership positions of responsibility and being tired; tired muscles, a tired mind and falling asleep in classes. Meditation brought noticeable change — in being more alert and muscles relaxing during meditation and experiencing a rejuvenated mind.

One student cadet said a difference he sees in his meditating platoon versus non-meditating platoons, is his “platoon is more professional, ‘more locked-on,’ they’re not joking around.

“It makes my job easier [in a leadership position] that the platoon is meditating,” he says. “Meditating definitely enhances their ability to understand what we’re essentially asking them to do. When I was a ‘rook,’ we had to have things explained three or four times before we finally got it right. Now, I can tell my rooks the first time, and maybe a second time and they’re getting it right.”

A freshman cadet said, “We’ve picked up a reputation on campus as ‘those weird people that meditate.’ I kindly point out to them the fact that we don’t fall asleep in class, we’ve got better PT [physical training] scores, we do better on tests, we have better uniforms, we don’t get yelled at as much as they do, and then they quiet down pretty quickly after that.

“I’d say the biggest benefit is the energy,” said the freshman. “In high school, I’d drink a whole thermos-full of coffee each day. I don’t have to do that anymore. It feels good not to have to rely on things like that and be able to do it myself.”

A female senior cadet said in the video she was at first a skeptic.

“Now that I’ve learned [TM], it’s great. I’ve directly seen the benefits. I’m a senior, and I’ve never earned a grade point average over 3.0,” she said. “This semester, I’ve taken 22 credits, four lab sciences and I have a 3.6. I don’t think I got that much smarter all of a sudden. The TM helps me focus so I get more out of study time.”

“ROTC commissions 70 percent of all the officers of the United States,” said Schneider, who with other administrators at Norwich learned TM a short time prior to the cadets’ learning.

“Can you imagine if by this experience at Norwich University, the birthplace of ROTC, we provide a very important tool in these young officers’ tool box they’ve never had the benefit of before; we can influence 70 percent of officers in a very short time. And we owe it to them to give them the best tools to win, and I think this is one of those tools.”

The five-minute, 13-second video is available on the David Lynch Foundation website.

Two of the main speakers Saturday were veterans Jerry Yellin and Luke Jensen.

Yellin, now a Fairfield resident, was a young World War II fighter pilot, who suffered from PTSD for 30 years before learning TM in 1975, “which genuinely saved my life,” he said.

“I’m here today to offer scholarships to any veterans, and their families, who want to learn Transcendental Meditation,” said Yellin who co-chairs the Warrior Wellness program begun in 2010, supported by the David Lynch Foundation.

He related his own story, including his wife’s support. Yellin and Helene married in August 1949.

“She never knew she married damaged goods,” said Yellin. “I know I caused her a lot of suffering. War had wounded me in places that can’t be seen.”

He also introduced Jensen, 33 years old: “No one understands combat like a combat veteran. I’m pleased to introduce my hero, Luke Jensen,” said Yellin.

Jensen, an Iowa native living in Story County, had deployed to Afghanistan in August 2009 as a member of the Army Reserves. He began experiencing severe stress, panic attacks, depression and suicidal thoughts shortly after arriving in Afghanistan.

A story in the Des Moines Register published a year ago, detailed Jensen’s struggles and life back with his wife and two young daughters when he returned home. Yellin had read that story last summer and called Jensen at work the next day and offered David Lynch scholarships to Jensen and his wife, Abi, to learn TM.

Saturday in Fairfield is the first time Jensen has told his story to a live audience. A video with the Jensens was created prior to Saturday, which told some of their story.

“Thank you Jerry for reaching out to me when I was in very dark space,” Jensen said. “Since learning TM in July 2011, I have less anxiety, my blood pressure is down, and I now know this practice has helped veterans from every generation of wars.”

Jensen recounted his story, from aspiring to work in law enforcement and fulfilling that in 2001, to daily suicidal thoughts and drinking to self-medicate in 2010 and 2011. His voice sometimes shook from nerves or emotion. He used the word “ashamed” frequently.

“TM helped my family come out of darkness, it brought me relief and gave me hope for the future,” said Jensen.

Yellin, Travis: TM programs needed for veterans

At Healing the Hidden Wounds of War forum, Jerry Yellin, told about his inspiration to ask for a division of Operation Warrior Wellness to teach Transcendental Meditation to help military veterans.

It came from a personal experience, a tragedy of another soldier’s family that had Yellin pursue a program to help veterans.

“I asked what was the cost of current treatment for veterans with post traumatic stress when I met with the deputy of the V.A. administration,” he said.

The 2006 and 2007 Veterans Affairs cost of mental health support to veterans of all wars, was $15 billion and $18 billion, said Yellin.

“We have so many young veterans who have been to Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Yellin. “They will live another 50 to 60 years … and mental health costs could be $20 billion each year?”

That provides an economic motivation to have Transcendental Meditation programs available on a large-scale basis for veterans, he said.

Fred Travis, a Maharishi University of Management professor and director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition, also said larger-scale TM programs are needed for veterans.

“The Veterans Administration will approve TM for a veteran on a one-at-a-time basis,” he said.

“We still recommend that TM is a part of a treatment program, not the only part,” said Travis. “Work with professionals.”

Travis explained how post traumatic stress works on the brain.

“The Amygdala part of the brain tags important events to file away in your memory,” he said. “It tags each detail; it’s permenantly stuck on. Every experience is tagged with strong emotion.

“Post traumatic stress is a natural reaction to unnatural events. So once all these events are tagged with strong emotion, the person now feels they have to be completely in control. You experience hyper-vigilance and can’t rest. We also know from research that when someone is experiencing PTS, the brain’s frontal lobes turn off. The frontal lobes are the ‘CEO’ of the brain. When it’s not functioning properly, you don’t have the brain power to find a solution; you only see the problems,” said Travis.

“TM takes the mind beyond just coping,” he said. “If we could do something beforehand to increase resilience, how much better.”

— Diane Vance, Ledger staff writer

This cover story was posted with permission from The Fairfield Ledger

Other post-event coverage: Mark Newman: Courier: Iowa soldier seeks peace of mind through meditation and medication and KTVO News: How one soldier regained his life with help from WWII veteran and TM for PTSD. Pre-event coverage: WHO TV 13: WARRIOR WELLNESS: Healing Hidden Wounds | Des Moines Register: Fairfield and Ames war veterans team up to bring meditation (TM) to fellow Iowa vets with PTSD | Fairfield Ledger cover article by Diane Vance: Combat stress subject of public forum Saturday | KTVO: Veterans speak out on post-traumatic stress, offer a proven way to heal PTSD | Story County Veteran Once Suicidal Finds Relief from PTSD with Transcendental Meditation: AmesPatch article by Jessica Miller | Healing the Hidden Wounds of War: open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness | TM Blog: “TM saved my life”—Suicidal Afghanistan war veteran who suffered from PTSD

Mark Newman: Courier: Iowa soldier seeks peace of mind through meditation and medication

July 30, 2012

Iowa soldier seeks peace of mind through meditation and medication

July 30, 2012

MARK NEWMAN Courier Staff Writer

War veteran Luke Jensen from Colo, Iowa, speaks with audience members after taking part in a presentation on post traumatic stress disorder Saturday in Fairfield. A civilian police officer and SWAT team member when his Army Reserve unit was deployed, Jensen thought he was too tough to suffer PTSD. Mark Newman/The Courier

FAIRFIELD — Military police sergeants, civilian police officers and SWAT team members are all supposed to be tough. Luke Jensen was all three, so when the stress of combat began eating away at him, he felt so ashamed, he wanted to die.

Meditation helped correct that desire — and he believes it could help other soldiers and veterans.

Jensen was asked by Operation Warrior Wellness to speak about his experiences with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during a presentation Saturday on PTSD, the military and the advantages of Transcendental Meditation.

“The medical [tents] in Afghanistan were for 10th Mountain Division soldiers who’d been wounded in combat,” said the Nevada, Iowa man.

How could he possibly walk into that tent and tell a medic that he was sad?

He told the Fairfield audience that his base was hit their first night there. Gunshots, explosions and outgoing fire were nearly constant. And the things he saw around him were worse than he felt he could handle.

He couldn’t sleep, he was having panic attacks and in addition to worrying about himself, the staff sergeant had his men to lead.

“I thought I was tough,” he said.

But in a combat zone, his world was out of control. When sent to investigate a report of a little Afghani girl struck by a U.S. vehicle, he found the child dead near the road.

The upset family came to claim her. Jensen contacted the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division then kept people from walking onto the death scene. He had no translator. The locals were getting angrier and more numerous, not understanding why this armed foreigner would want to keep the girl’s body from her family.

Later, someone — Jensen never found out who — ran over and killed a nearby U.S. serviceman.

His nerves couldn’t handle any more. As soon as he was able, he decided to take his sidearm and shoot himself dead. When health personnel he’d sought out heard about his attempt, he was evacuated — which made him feel as though he’d failed in his duty.

At least he could move on with his life. So why did he keep thinking the most logical step would be to take his own life — even when back in the U.S.? He still couldn’t sleep. He still had panic attacks. And he felt a deep sense of shame — especially because while on a U.S. base receiving medical care, he saw the other soldiers who had “real” injuries.

Dr. Fred Travis, a psychologist in Fairfield, said PTSD produces an injury as real as any wound. Travis is the director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management.

CAT scans of patients suffering from PTSD, he said, provide evidence that the brains of sufferers are different from those without PTSD. The effect is physical.

But Jensen didn’t know his brain was short circuited. He was taking medication for depression and anxiety, back in Iowa working in law enforcement. He still wanted to die.

When his police supervisors heard he was suicidal, they began proceedings to terminate him.

“Jerry Yellin saved my life,” Jensen said.

Yellin was a World War II fighter pilot who went undiagnosed with PTSD for 30 years. Transcendental Meditation was what helped him find relaxation and peace. When he heard about the young soldier, he called him.

Yellin got support from MUM and the David Lynch Foundation in order to provide a sort of “scholarship” for Staff Sgt. Jensen and his wife to learn TM.

Jensen thought it’d be worth a try. He had recently made a suicide threat, loaded gun to his head in front of his wife and five-year-old daughter.

The trip to Fairfield was worth it, he said. He learned to find quiet in his mind, which allowed him to relax peacefully for the first time in a long time, he said.

Dr. Travis said what appears to be happening with PTSD is that in a combat zone, the mind naturally must be super vigilant. One needs to be able to see every danger, lock that sound or sight into the memory — and avoid it.

With PTSD, every similar noise or sight becomes a life-or-death situation. Memories of danger are “locked” into the brain. Worse, parts of the mind are “short circuited” so that while the “problem-seeing” part of the brain is stuck in the “on” position, the “problem-solving” part of the brain is off. Desperation develops when all you see are problems — problems with no solution.

By meditating, TM practitioners are trained to go around that damaged part of the brain, Yellin said.

Travis said CAT scans show that, too. There is more blood flow to the frontal lobes and the portion of the brain that is generally considered to be “in charge.”

In a video about their situation, Jensen’s wife said TM saved her husband’s life. Yellin wants more soldiers to have that opportunity, and is working with the David Lynch Foundation as co-chair of Operation Warrior Wellness.

Like other parts of the body, the brain responds to exercise, becoming more resilient.

“If your frontal lobes are more developed, we believe you will be better able to deal with stressful situations,” said Travis.

Presenters said practitioners of meditation are also better able to separate the quiet of inner peace from traumatic situations in the outside world. The military is starting to take notice, as is the Veterans Administration.

Chris Busch, director of programs for the David Lynch Foundation, said the VA has commissioned two large studies to see if TM really shows results.

TM is not a replacement for traditional medicine, he said. It can be, however, one of the options doctors offer mental health patients on their way to recovery.

Yellin said Saturday’s event was the start to an effort to provide scholarships every veteran who needs TM.

For more information, visit www.operationwarriorwellness.org.

Also published in Journal Express of CNHI/SE Iowa.

Other news coverage: KTVO News: How one soldier regained his life with help from WWII veteran and TM for PTSD and WHO TV 13: WARRIOR WELLNESS: Healing Hidden Wounds  |  Des Moines Register: Fairfield and Ames war veterans team up to bring meditation (TM) to fellow Iowa vets with PTSD  |  Fairfield Ledger cover article by Diane Vance: Combat stress subject of public forum Saturday  |  KTVO: Veterans speak out on post-traumatic stress, offer a proven way to heal PTSD  |  Story County Veteran Once Suicidal Finds Relief from PTSD with Transcendental Meditation: AmesPatch article by Jessica Miller  |  Healing the Hidden Wounds of War: open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness | TM Blog: “TM saved my life”—Suicidal Afghanistan war veteran who suffered from PTSD

KTVO News: How one soldier regained his life with help from WWII veteran and TM for PTSD

July 29, 2012
How one soldier regained his life
by Tess Hedrick
Posted: 07.28.2012 at 8:11 PM

Published on Jul 28, 2012 by

FAIRFIELD, IOWA — It’s called Operation Warrior Wellness. It is helping war veterans of all ages with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) regain control of their lives through Transcendental Meditation.

“He was the comedian. He was very fun, loved his job, loved his family — very outgoing and just very involved in everything,” said Abi Jensen, wife of a war veteran.

Abi Jensen spoke about what her husband Luke was like before he was deployed to Afghanistan. However when Luke returned from war, it was a very different story.

“He was very angry, very anxious about every situation — social situations, even quiet time at home — he was just, couldn’t ever really relax. Everything caused him anger and anxiety,” said Abi.

Luke Jensen knew he needed to reach out for help when he a hit a breaking point in his life, one neither he nor his family would ever forget.

“One night I drank too much and I actually punched holes through the walls of my home. I pointed a loaded gun at my head in front of my wife and children. And that was — the next day I knew I totally crossed the line and I needed to get help now,” said Luke Jensen.

And that’s where Jerry Yellin came in. Yellin is a WWII Veteran and was suffering from PTSD until he discovered Transcendental Meditation.

Yellin happened to see a front page newspaper article on PTSD featuring Luke Jensen’s story.

“And I spoke to him — told him who I was and what I had been through and what I was doing now. And I asked him if he would come to Fairfield and learn Transcendental Meditation, when he did last August, early August and he got his life back,” said Yellin, Operation Warrior Wellness.

Luke said it’s because of Transcendental Meditation that he is still with his family today and he reiterates a particular message to those suffering from PTSD:

“If you don’t want to do it for yourself, if you’re not willing to get help for yourself, do it for your family. If you love your family, love your children — they don’t deserve to go through stress and anxiety because of, because of your experiences,” said Luke.

Related news coverage: WHO TV 13: WARRIOR WELLNESS: Healing Hidden Wounds  |  Des Moines Register: Fairfield and Ames war veterans team up to bring meditation (TM) to fellow Iowa vets with PTSD  |  Fairfield Ledger cover article by Diane Vance: Combat stress subject of public forum Saturday  |  KTVO: Veterans speak out on post-traumatic stress, offer a proven way to heal PTSD  |  Story County Veteran Once Suicidal Finds Relief from PTSD with Transcendental Meditation: AmesPatch article by Jessica Miller Healing the Hidden Wounds of War: open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation  Warrior Wellness  |  TM Blog: “TM saved my life”—Suicidal Afghanistan war veteran who suffered from PTSD

WHO-TV 13 News: WARRIOR WELLNESS: Healing Hidden Wounds with Meditation for Veterans

July 27, 2012

WARRIOR WELLNESS: Healing Hidden Wounds

July 27, 2012, by for WHO-TV 13 Des Moines, Iowa

One veteran says he’s finally found a way of dealing with his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after serving in Afghanistan. And, he wants to share his story to help other warriors heal the hidden wounds of war.

Every day used to be a struggle for Luke Jensen. He says, “I was having a lot of anxiety, depression. I was ashamed.”

Jensen served in Afghanistan in 2009. He says he fell apart after a few months of service and sent home. He says, “At the beginning of deployment, I was the guy keeping everybody cheered up and joking around. I thought I was kind of a tough guy people could lean on, and I really just started deteriorating and lost control.”

Jensen says he wasn’t himself when he came home to his wife and two girls. Last July, the Des Moines Register shared his story. World War II Fighter Pilot Jerry Yellin read the article and says, “It’s a devastating story:  At war with PTSD. The next battle for families. “

Yellin saw the article, and as a veteran, recognized his stress. He says, “What I thought was, here’s a guy who needs me. Who needs what I know.”

Yellin says he called Jensen the next day. He invited him to Fairfield to learn a practice called Transcendental Meditation. He says, “A lot of people think TM is a religion, you have to follow the guidelines, but it isn’t. It’s a technique, it’s a mental technique.”

Jensen says the technique was simple for him to learn. He finds a comfortable chair in a quiet place and closes his eyes. For twenty minutes two times a day, he repeats his personal mantra. He says, “It’s just a word that takes you in a deep state of rest and while you’re doing that, you’re getting rid of stress and giving yourself peace and relaxation.”

Jensen says his wife also learned TM. He says it’s given him his life back. He says, “It helped me relax right away. It helped me start getting better sleep, helped me with my anxiety to the point where I got off my anxiety medication completely.”

Jensen will share his story Saturday afternoon. All Iowa veterans are invited to attend with their families. Veterans will learn more about a program called Operation Warrior Wellness that offers scholarships for veterans to learn Transcendental Meditation. The seminar is Saturday, July 28 at 2 p.m. at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center.

You can find information at www.operationwarriorwellness.org/iowa.

Veteran Meditation video published on Jul 27, 2012 by . Link to article: http://bit.ly/PJehMh.

Related news coverage: Des Moines Register: Fairfield and Ames war veterans team up to bring meditation (TM) to fellow Iowa vets with PTSD  |  Fairfield Ledger cover article by Diane Vance: Combat stress subject of public forum Saturday Veterans speak out on post-traumatic stress, offer a proven way to heal PTSD  |  Story County Veteran Once Suicidal Finds Relief from PTSD with Transcendental Meditation: AmesPatch article by Jessica Miller  |  Healing the Hidden Wounds of War: open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness  |  TM Blog: “TM saved my life”—Suicidal Afghanistan war veteran who suffered from PTSD

Fairfield and Ames war veterans team up to bring meditation (TM) to fellow Iowa vets with PTSD

July 26, 2012

Meditation, fellow veteran help Colo reservist heal from PTSD

Written by Daniel P. Finney for the Des Moines Register

Luke Jensen has found Transcendental Meditation to be a help to him as he copes with the aftereffects of his service in the war in Afghanistan.  Christopher Gannon/The Register

Luke Jensen was in bad shape when Jerry Yellin reached out to him last year.

Jensen, a 32-year-old U.S. Army Reserve veteran of the Afghanistan war, was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

He yelled at his wife and two daughters. He stormed about his Colo home. He rarely slept. He drank until he passed out. He overdosed on his anti-anxiety medication. One dark night, in front of his youngest daughter and wife, he held a loaded gun up to his head.

“I thought about suicide on a daily basis,” Jensen said. “It was that bad.”

Also an Army veteran, Yellin contacted Jensen after reading a profile in The Des Moines Register last year detailing Jensen’s struggles.

Yellin, a New Jersey native who lives in Fairfield, told Jensen he felt the same way after his World War II service. Yellin, 88, had lived with suicidal thoughts and anhedonia — an inability to experience pleasure from usually enjoyable activities — for 30 years until he and his wife, Helene, discovered Transcendental Meditation.

“I read that story and I knew I had to get to Luke,” Yellin said. “I don’t want anyone to live with the hell I did for 30 days let alone 30 years. I believed I could help.”

The pair seek to bring their message to more veterans Saturday in Fairfield. Both will speak at “Healing the Hidden Wounds of War” at 2 p.m. at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center. The seminar is free. Scholarships also will be awarded free of charge to veterans and their spouses to learn the technique and practice it for six months.

The event is sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness, which promotes Transcendental Meditation to veterans struggling with their experiences in war. Operation Warrior Wellness is sponsored by filmmaker David Lynch, known for the TV series “Twin Peaks” and “The Straight Story,” a film about a man’s journey from Iowa to Wisconsin to visit his estranged brother.

Transcendental Meditation is based on an Indian philosophy that trains the mind and consciousness to realize a benefit by focusing on a mantra, a meaningless word that helps bring about calm and reduce stress. The technique dates back more than 5,000 years, but it became especially popular in the U.S. during the 1960s when championed by charismatic guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Iowa and meditation have a long history. Followers established the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield in 1974, considered the world’s largest training center for the technique.

The U.S. Department of Defense does not specifically offer meditation technique, though officials are not opposed to the practice as a way to mitigate PTSD and other war-related disorders.

“When you’re talking about PTSD, it is a toolbox issue,” said Col. Greg Hapgood, spokesman for the Iowa National Guard. “There is no one-size-fits-all solution. We wouldn’t discourage veterans from informally reaching out to anything that some have found to be a positive.”

Some skeptics dismiss the technique as hokum, but Yellin and Jensen believe their meditation has alleviated years of struggles. Yellin got into the technique after his wife, Helene, saw the Maharishi on “The Merv Griffin Show” in 1975. The couple lived in Florida at the time and called a local Transcendental Meditation teacher.

“After the war, I lived my life without purpose,” Jerry Yellin said. “As a fighter pilot, I had purpose. I came home. I got married. I had four sons. I was a father in presence. I was a husband in presence. But I had no purpose.”

In the years after the war, Yellin struggled to work. He held as many as 30 jobs. He worked for his wife’s father several times. His office was in a nine-story building and he often thought about jumping to his death.

“I loved my children and I loved my wife, so I didn’t,” he said. “But I thought about it a lot.”

The meditation, Yellin said, helped him process decades-old memories from the war. He flew strafing runs to support U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima, where 7,000 Marines and 21,000 Japanese soldiers died.

“The Marine mortuary was right behind our station,” Yellin recalled. “I saw hundreds upon hundreds of bodies being buried. I saw thousands of Japanese dead being pushed into mass graves.”

He carried a hatred for the Japanese people until 1988, when one of his sons married the daughter of a former Japanese Zero pilot. The meditation helped him make peace with his memories and become a better husband, father and now grandfather, he says.

Oddly, Yellin said the feeling he gets when he meditates is similar to the feeling he got when he flew fighter planes.

“It’s a warrior’s technique,” he said. “When you go to battle, you’re in the zone. I became the airplane. I can tell you how many aircraft I shot down. I can remember the aftereffects of what I did, but I can’t remember what I did to make that happen. You become one with the moment.”

The same warrior’s technique also helped Jensen make his peace. He and his wife, Abi, both practice. After returning from service, he couldn’t sleep despite a regimen of pills specifically prescribed to make him drowsy.

After his first session, Jensen slept better than he had before the war. He felt “a great weight lifted off my shoulders. It really made me a better person in every conceivable way.”

Both Jensen and Yellin acknowledge some skeptics doubt Transcendental Meditation. Some worry the practice will interfere with their religion. Yellin, however, said his meditation makes him a better Christian.

“This is not psychology,” Yellin said. “This is not religion. It’s a healing practice. If you served your country in war and you’re suffering, it’s worth a try.”

warrior wellness

For more information on Operation Warrior Wellness, visit iowaveterans.eventbrite.com.

David J Gudenkauf· Top Commenter

Great article! Keep writing about these veterans returning back from combat zones and how difficult it is to transition into a normal lifestyle. Once you keep raising awareness, the “Investment” will be forced on politicians to continue the promises of CARE they are planning to cut from these traumatized citizens. Ask those people in that Aurora theater how long it will take to recover from the incident of that gun fight and you can get a basic understanding of a veteran leaving a normal family and spending a YEAR’s worth of those days living like that and then being expected to act “normally” like nothing happened. Then when they need help, a government tells them that they should look elsewhere because it is not in the defense funds anymore (even though they put them there in the first place).

Jean Welch Tobin

I have spoken to a number of veterans who have learned the TM technique and their stories mirror the stories told here. I encourage all veterans, men and women, to take advantage of this opportunity.

Also posted on DefenseTracker.com: Meditation Helps Reservist Heal and Wounded Times Blogspot and Altoona Herald-Index.

Connie Boyer of Opening Fairfield Doors interviews Jerry Yellin at Fairfield Media Center

July 26, 2012

Opening Fairfield Doors with Connie Boyer. In Episode 5, Connie talks with WWII Captain (Ret) Jerry Yellin about his war experiences, his feeling lost after the war, multiple jobs, learning the Transcendental Meditation technique, which helped him get his life back, and his eventual return visit to Japan with his wife, Helene. They liked it so much they sent their son, Robert, to visit Japan after graduating from high school. He ended up teaching English in Japan and never came back. He married a Japanese girl, which forced Jerry to reconcile with his enemy, now family.

Jerry Yellin wrote several award-winning books about his experiences in Of War and Weddings, The Blackened Canteen, The Letter, and The Resilient Warrior: Healing the Hidden Wounds of War. Today Jerry is co-director of Operation Warrior Wellness.

Last year he read about Luke Jensen’s battle with PTSD after returning from Afghanistan, and offered him a scholarship from the David Lynch Foundation to learn Transcendental Meditation. It transformed his life.

Now Jerry and Luke are offering an open forum to all Iowa veterans and their families to learn TM and get their lives back. See the articles and videos listed below for more information.

Those interested in attending the forum, Healing the Hidden Wounds of War, this Saturday, July 28, 2 pm, at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center, can register at www.operationwarriorwellness.org/iowa.

Published on Jul 23, 2012 by FFMediaCenter 

Fairfield and Ames war veterans team up to bring meditation (TM) to fellow Iowa vets with PTSD  |  Fairfield Ledger cover article by Diane Vance: Combat stress subject of public forum Saturday  |  Veterans speak out on post-traumatic stress, offer a proven way to heal PTSD  |  Story County Veteran Once Suicidal Finds Relief from PTSD with Transcendental Meditation: AmesPatch article by Jessica Miller  |  Healing the Hidden Wounds of War: open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness 

For more information on Robert Yellin in Japan: Takumi is not ‘lost in translation’ in this beautiful film about Japan’s diverse artisan tradition

Story County Veteran Once Suicidal Finds Relief from PTSD with Transcendental Meditation: AmesPatch article by Jessica Miller

July 26, 2012

Story County Veteran Once Suicidal Finds Relief from PTSD with Transcendental Meditation

Luke Jensen will share how transcendental meditation TM helped him at Healing the Hidden Wounds of War forum in Fairfield Saturday. The event is an open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD or PTS.

By Jessica Miller

After spending a year in Afghanistan investigating cases as a military police officer in 2009, Luke Jensen was immediately given a series of medications for anxiety and sleep to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms (PTSD).

Coming home and the medications he was prescribed before his discharge didn’t fix his problem. Through the day his anxiety was so high that his fingertips pruned from sweating and at night he dreamed of the military.

He returned to his civilian life, but he found his PTSD symptoms so debilitating that after a night of drinking he swallowed all the medication he had.

“I thought it would be the easy way to go,” Jensen said.

Jensen swallowed pills hoping to die from an overdose, but he survived. On another occasion, he pointed a gun at himself, but he stopped himself from pulling the trigger. His family convinced him to seek additional help and eventually he found some relief through transcendental meditation.

“This is the first thing that gave me relief,” Jensen said.

Jensen plans to share his full story 2 p.m. Saturday in Fairfield at a seminar called Healing the Hidden Wounds of War. The event is an open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD.

Jensen is still here to tell his story, but the U.S. Department of Defense released figures in June showing that 154 active duty troops committed suicide in the first 155 days of 2012, as reported in many media outlets including the LA Times.

One a Day, a term once used to describe the loss of WWII veterans as they grew old, now quantifies the suicide rate among American active duty troops.

As a reminder, Time Magazine’s “One a Day” cover is taped to a file cabinet in the Story County Veterans Affairs Office where Jensen now serves as an office coordinator.

Self-inflicted deaths have surpassed casualties on the battlefield.

“It’s a problem on the rise,” Jensen said.

The former undercover police officer said he was ashamed to admit he had a problem at first.

“No one thought I would be the one to have a problem. I was the guy cheering everyone up,” Jensen said.

He’d seen dead bodies as a police officer and though he investigated cases in dangerous places as a military police officer he never faced fire. He couldn’t understand why he would have a problem. Seeing dead servicemen wearing the same uniform as him had a different impact. He thought his own death was inevitable and thought about suicide during service.

Jensen tried a number of therapies including individual and group therapy and a rapid eye movement technique. He shared his story with the media in 2011, because he was upset.

He’d been fired from his job with the Story County Sheriff’s Office and he felt that the Army was failing to deal with the suicide/PTSD problem and that civilians didn’t know how to deal with it.

Jerry Yellins, co-director for Operation Warrior Wellness, read Jensen’s story and offered him a scholarship so that he could learn Transcendental Meditation, something that had also given Yellin relief.

Jensen learned the meditation technique over a weekend in August 2011 and said a month later he was able to stop taking his anxiety medications.

He practices the technique daily spending about 20 minutes before and after work in a quiet place to focus on his mantra. He compares it to taking a power nap.

Jensen has since been given a new job with the county at the veteran’s affairs office but will never be able to resume duties as a police officer. PTSD symptoms can improve, but the diagnosis is for life.

Jensen said the military is researching treatment options and seems open minded.

“They still have not found a solution, I’m trying to give another option that’s out there,” Jensen said.

Transcendental meditation is just one thing that could work, he said. Learning the technique is free to veterans thanks to scholarships through the David Lynch Foundation.

“This is well worth your time. If it doesn’t work, time, is the only thing you are out of,” Jensen said.

See: Fairfield Ledger cover article by Diane Vance: Combat stress subject of public forum Saturday  |  Veterans speak out on post-traumatic stress, offer a proven way to heal PTSD  |  Healing the Hidden Wounds of War: open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness


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