Posts Tagged ‘PTSD’

Iowa Public Radio reports on how far we’ve come treating PTSD in Veterans, from lobotomies to TM

March 27, 2014

Iowa Public Radio news correspondent Rick Fredericksen reports on Veterans: Lobotomies to Meditation

Listen to today’s (March 27, 2014) Iowa Public Radio report on how Iowa Veterans have been historically treated for what is now known as PTSD — from lobotomies, to drugs and therapy, to finally a more benign approach, that of meditation, specifically Transcendental Meditation.

Iowa Public Radio correspondent Rick Fredericksen produced an impressive historical report on the subject. Early attempts to deal with this misunderstood medical problem were crude and frightening. Introducing TM as a viable option shows you how far we’ve come in dealing more humanely with Veterans suffering from PTSD!

It aired twice this morning with a third broadcast on All Things Considered this afternoon at 4:50pm CST. You can listen to the 7:30 minute report online http://bit.ly/QjMY00, where you can also see a 3-photo slideshow, and link to the Wall Street Journal investigation.

Dan Gannon, IDVA, meditates in IPR studio

Marine veteran Daniel Gannon meditates in the IPR studios.

Interviews with meditating Iowa veterans include Luke Jensen, Afghanistan veteran; Vietnam veteran Daniel Gannon, Iowa Dept of Veterans Affairs; and Jerry Yellin, WWII veteran, and national TM advocate for veterans.

Rick Fredericksen did a fantastic job! What a testament to TM, and boost for MUM, gearing up to welcome veterans as students!

This story is also reported on the TM Blog: PTSD Treatments: From Lobotomies to Meditation.

PTSD Treatments: From Lobotomies to Meditation
PTSD Treatments: From Lobotomies to Meditation

Related news items:

Matt Kelley of Radio Iowa interviews Jerry Yellin about an Iowa Veterans Summit solution to PTSD

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

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

AFP report: War veterans say Transcendental Meditation could help with PTSD

 

Two Transcendental Meditation @TMmeditation articles in @THR on @DAVID_LYNCH and @DrOz

January 11, 2014

Here are two excellent articles about Transcendental Meditation published in the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter, part of a Health series on how stress effects celebrities and what they do to relieve it. One mentions David Lynch, the other, Dr. Oz. Click on titles to see original articles with photos.

How David Lynch and His Hollywood Friends Are Bringing Back Transcendental Meditation

One of film’s darkest directors, with help from Jerry Seinfeld and Hugh Jackman, is shining a light by bringing meditation to everyone from PTSD sufferers to inner-city kids.

January 10, 2014 | by Seth Abramovitch

Call it the ultimate comeback. Transcendental meditation — which involves speaking a silent mantra to oneself for 20 minutes, twice daily — is an ancient practice that is now attracting some of Hollywood’s biggest names, who insist that its stress-relief benefits are nothing short of miraculous: Among its most powerful practitioners are Jerry Seinfeld, Hugh Jackman and Russell Brand — who all have become supporters of David Lynch and his plans to bring meditation to people in dire need of stress relief. A directing genius whose dark dreamscapes are littered with severed ears and plastic-wrapped homecoming queens, Lynch, 67, has morphed into one of the world’s most enthusiastic if unlikely TM cheerleaders.

Lynch first encountered TM in 1974, as he searched for ways to combat mounting anger and depression relating to his epic struggle to get his first feature, the mind-bending Eraserhead, to the big screen. “I had a weakness inside,” says Lynch from his Hollywood Hills studio, a splash of sunlight illuminating his famous white pompadour. “That kind of thing, in this business, you’re a sitting duck. You could get slaughtered.” It was then that he decided to try his hand at TM, an ancient practice revived by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, an expat from India who rocketed to stardom during the 1960s as The Beatles‘ spiritual adviser. Lynch feared TM might dull his artistic edge, but he says the opposite happened — it helped him to access untapped fonts of creativity. He even goes so far as to credit the practice with potentially having saved his life: “I was even thinking at the time, ‘If I didn’t have this meditation, I might have seen that a way out was suicide.’ “

The Twin Peaks mastermind hasn’t missed a single day of meditation in the 40 years since. In 2005, that devotion led him to found The David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace, a nonprofit that brings TM to inner-city students, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and victims of domestic violence. The foundation has taught the fundamentals to more than 500,000 at-risk candidates, and Lynch says the effects have been astonishing: “Before too long, they’re saying, ‘Thank you very much. I got my life back again.’ ” In celebration of Lynch’s birthday on Jan. 20, DLF Live, the foundation’s live-performance arm, is mounting a benefit at the El Rey Theatre, where Ringo Starr is set to receive the Lifetime of Peace & Love Award. Ben Harper and Ben Folds are slated to perform. And on Feb. 27, Dixie Chicks will headline a night at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel honoring record producer (and longtime TM practitioner) Rick Rubin. For the admittedly shy director, Hollywood’s ongoing love affair with TM offers a highly effective method of spreading the gospel. “Life gets better and better and better,” says Lynch of his 40-year journey. “That’s the long and the short of it.”

Stress-Free 2014: Dr. Oz Reveals How He Takes the Edge Off Shooting a TV Show

The talk show host shares his tips for dialing down the shooting-schedule meltdowns, including sacred mantras.

January 10, 2014 | As told by Dr. Oz

In medical school for cardiothoracic surgery, I learned early on the acute effect of stress on performance, decision-making and emotions. As I  looked inside people’s chests at their hearts, I saw the effect of chronic stress: hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity. Stress is the No. 1 driver of aging. It’s downright toxic.

In 2009, we launched The Dr. Oz Show. I found a new type of stress as I acclimated to taping, field shoots, voiceovers, rehearsals, script review and appearances. I continued with surgery on Thursdays. The operating room, once a place of total chaos, became a respite for me, offering a familiarity that grounded me.

This may surprise you, but I see many similarities in making a television show and working in the operating room. In both, a team of experts with diverse job responsibilities is exercising expertise toward a grand outcome — either a healthy patient or a great show. Both require teamwork and careful choreography. Both have a team of technology experts whose job is to keep delicate machinery running. Both are fast-paced. And perhaps most similar: Both involve glaring lights under which you are expected to literally perform magic! Ergo, both involve extraordinary stress.

Like the staff at the hospital, my team at the show had comparable stress, and it showed. Unlike other industries, the world literally sees our mistakes. This provides an additional stress dynamic. I saw scripts so revised that it felt like we were back to square one. Tempers would flare occasionally.

I deployed various measures for the staff at the show to deal with the stress. First, you have to eat the right foods. A certain talk-show host whose studio was across the hall and who shall remain nameless good-naturedly served beer, pretzels and cupcakes for his late-night staff. Our tables served granola, quinoa and 2 percent Greek yogurt. I even sent a few healthy snacks across the hall.

I encourage staff to exercise. I also brought in teachers of transcendental meditation, and each employee receives group and individual training. We do meditations in the office twice daily — at 8 a.m., before morning taping, and at 5 p.m., At these times, an announcement is made over the office intercom, and staffers are encouraged to report to the conference room, where a group meditation takes place. Oftentimes, teachers will give staffers a personal mantra, which is secret, that they then repeat over and over. Keeping it to yourself makes it feel sacred.

These Pret-a-Reporter stories first appeared in the Jan. 17 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Maharishi University’s Fred Travis talks about the brain and meditation on What Women Must Know

November 21, 2013
Sherrill Sellman

Sherrill Sellman

Sherrill Sellman, host of What Women Must Know, interviewed Fred Travis of Maharishi University of Management on the Progressive Radio Network, PRN.fm, “The #1 Internet Radio Station for Progressive Minds,” on November 21, 2013. Listen to this interesting interview as they discuss different stages of the brain’s development and how it is affected by PTSD, ADHD, and different meditations. Today’s show is titled Your Brain, Rejuvenation and Meditation with Dr. Fred Travis.

Dr. Fred Travis

Dr. Fred Travis

Dr. Fred Travis is Professor of Maharishi Vedic Science, Chair of the Department of Maharishi Vedic Science, Dean of the Graduate School, and Director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition, at Maharishi University of Management. He earned an M.S. and Ph.D. in Psychology from Maharishi University of Management, and a B.S. in Design and Environmental Analysis from Cornell University. He is also the author of Your Brain is a River, Not a Rock. Visit his website for video presentations, publications and more: drfredtravis.com.

Listen to a Podcast of the show or search for it in the Archives.

War veterans say Transcendental Meditation could help with PTSD

February 11, 2013

War veterans say meditation could help with PTSD

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 6:27 EST

Meditation might sound an unlikely activity for men trained in killing people and blowing things up in Afghanistan and Iraq. But US war veterans say meditation could help heal the post-war mental disturbances that afflict a growing number of American soldiers, including possibly the ex-Marine who gunned down the country’s most famous sniper over the weekend.

Luke Jensen, a former undercover police officer who fell apart mentally on arrival in Afghanistan, said that after trying to commit suicide in front of his family, he agreed to try Transcendental Meditation — and was saved.

“There’s a lot of coping methods out there that are offered to our veterans. This needs to be one of them,” the heftily built man said in a shaking voice at a meeting of the David Lynch Foundation, which promotes meditation for treating post-traumatic stress disorder.

Jensen said he has since taken a job in the government’s Department of Veterans Affairs, helping other stressed out vets. Just two weeks ago, one of those he worked with committed suicide.

Transcendental Meditation “needs to be implemented. It needs to be an option,” Jensen told the panel in New York.

After years of being a little-talked about subject, PTSD is increasingly acknowledged as a mental health epidemic in the United States and one of the less easily quantifiable costs of America’s wars on the other side of the world.

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD occurs in between 11 and 20 percent of veterans from the Afghan and Iraq wars, and in 31 percent of Vietnam war veterans.

Although combat is commonly assumed to be the main cause of PTSD, simply witnessing the effects of bombings, for example, or the stress of being in a hostile country, are also blamed.

Another major source of PTSD, though less often discussed, is what the government calls military sexual trauma. Veterans Affairs figures show that 23 percent of women report sexual assault in the ranks, while more than half have experienced sexual harassment.

The most frightening result associated with PTSD is the rising number of suicides, which now run at 22 a day among military veterans, according to a government study released last week.

And the problem is no less alarming among active duty soldiers, with a record 349 killing themselves in 2012 — more than were killed by the Taliban or other enemy in the field.

In the latest incident to highlight the violence engulfing former soldiers, an ex-Marine in Texas was accused Saturday of shooting dead another veteran who had devoted himself to helping comrades adjust to peaceful life.

Adding to the shock value, the victim, Chris Kyle, was an author of a best-selling book about his former exploits as a sniper with 150 confirmed kills.

In the effort to address the problem of PTSD, meditation is an outlier.

However, early studies show remarkable success, and demand is growing, advocates at filmmaker Lynch’s foundation said.

Transcendental Meditation involves entering “a state of rest in many cases deeper than sleep,” said Bob Roth, executive director of the David Lynch Foundation. “This allows deeply rooted stresses to be dissolved.”

Retired rear admiral Richard Schneider, president of the private military institute Norwich University, said tests showed that cadets using the techniques increased focus in class and were better “emotionally prepared.”

The meditation instructor, a chisel-faced air force veteran called David Zobeck, said a stigma long attached to meditation was evaporating among students, who are preparing for careers as officers.

“They’re not getting the weird stares anymore,” he said.

Jerry Yellin, a fighter pilot in World War II who spoke of losing comrades and making dangerous missions in the bloody Pacific theater, said he began suffering nightmares, then behavioral problems on return home at a time when PTSD was rarely discussed.

“The hard stuff began in my life, because I didn’t sleep,” he said. “I had an addiction that ruled my life.”

Meditating, he said, “got my life back 100 percent.”

The Raw Story published this report from Agence France-Presse.

See more articles on PTSD and TM posted on The Uncarved Blog.

George Stephanopoulos interviews Jerry Seinfeld & Bob Roth on the importance of Transcendental Meditation for PTSD

December 13, 2012

Jerry Seinfeld on GMAThis morning on Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos interviewed comedian Jerry Seinfeld and Bob Roth, executive director of the David Lynch Foundation, on the importance of Transcendental Meditation for PTSD. Jerry said he’s been practicing TM for 40 years now. Both Seinfeld and Roth gave clear explanations of what TM can do for you. Jerry added his trademark humor describing how stressed George’s work was having spent the morning with him on the set. George said he’s been practicing TM for two years and it’s made a big difference. While on the set Jerry helped chef Emeril bake Christmas cookies.

Bob Roth discussed the successful application of TM for veterans and inner-city school students with PTSD. He mentioned a recent TM study published by the American Heart Association showing an almost 50% reduction in heart attacks, stroke and death in patients who regularly practiced Transcendental Meditation over a 5-year period.

Roth also mentioned Admiral Schneider, President of Norwich University, the oldest military college in the country, using Transcendental Meditation to develop resiliency in their cadets, inoculating tomorrow’s warriors against stress. See President Schneider discuss the impact of the technique at a recent Iowa Veterans Summit on PTSD and Transcendental Meditation.

Uploaded on Dec 13, 2012 by meditationchannel. Click to read a Transcript for Jerry Seinfeld on Importance of Meditation for PTSD.

Tonight at the Lincoln Center an historic jazz concert was held as a Benefit Gala to fund such projects sponsored by the David Lynch Foundation. Visit www.changebeginswithin.org to see the line up of top jazz musicians. Mail Online gave a report from the Red Carpet with photos of celebrity guests and musicians: All jazzed up: Liv Tyler steals looks on the red carpet at star-studded music gala for the David Lynch Foundation. Recapo also gave a good synopsis GMA: Jerry Seinfeld, George Stephanopoulos Transcendental Meditation. You can see photos on the m&c website: 4th Annual David Lynch Foundation Gala Pictures. Read this excellent report in BULLETT by Stella Girkins: Celebrating Transcendental Meditation at the 2012 David Lynch Foundation Benefit Gala, which also includes a video from the David Lynch Foundation: Changing Lives With Meditation. See the DLF Gala Benefit Report.

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 and Study suggests meditation may help prevent PTSD—Boston Globe article by Bryan Bender. Elevated Existence: Jerry Seinfeld Talks About His 40 Years of Transcendental Meditation.

See the video Highlights from Jazz at Lincoln Center Benefit for David Lynch Foundation.

Study suggests meditation may help prevent PTSD—Boston Globe article by Bryan Bender

December 3, 2012

Study suggests meditation may help prevent PTSD

By Bryan Bender | Globe Staff | December 02, 2012

Norwich Rooks Meditate after classes

Lance Ostby, Rob Wetmore, Matt Miller, Aaron McDuffie, and Jeremy Ward practiced meditation following afternoon classes. Kayana Szymczak for the Boston Globe

NORTHFIELD, Vt. — It is part of a highly regimented daily routine at Norwich University, the nation’s oldest private military academy and a cultivator of battlefield leaders for nearly two centuries.

Dressed in combat fatigues and boots, a platoon of first-year cadets — “Rooks” — are up early in their barracks. On the orders of their instructor, the young men and women take their places. At 0800 sharp, they sit on wooden chairs in a circle and begin — to meditate.

The first-of-its-kind training is part of a long-term study to determine whether regular brief periods of silent, peaceful consciousness can improve troops’ performance. Ultimately, researchers hope the transcendental meditation training might be made available across all branches of the military to help inoculate troops against acute post-traumatic stress disorder, which has reached epidemic proportions and is blamed for a record number of suicides in the ranks.

For an institution that demands that incoming cadets exhibit physical and mental toughness, meditation training is a radical approach. The broader military culture had long associated meditation with a leftist, antiwar philosophy. Known by its shorthand, TM was widely introduced to the West by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Hindu leader who once served as the spiritual guru to the Beatles.

“I was very skeptical at first,” said Norwich president Richard W. Schneider, a retired Coast Guard admiral who is among several university officials who have also been trained in the technique. “I’m not a touchy-feely guy.”

But the preliminary results of the study, now in its second year, surprised even its lead researchers. They have been methodically tracking the dozens of participants and several control groups of non-meditating cadets through detailed questionnaires as well as brain wave and eye scans to measure levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.

“All those things decreased significantly,” said Dr. Carole Bandy, a Norwich psychology professor overseeing the project. “In fact, they decreased very significantly.”

Positive traits such as critical thinking and mental resilience improved, according to preliminary findings shared with the Globe that Bandy and her team plan to publish next year.

The project has garnered high-level attention from the Army.

“Becoming more psychologically fit is just like becoming physically fit. It is better to do it before you are injured,” said retired Brigadier General Rhonda Cornum, a surgeon who until recently ran the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program and visited Norwich three times to be briefed on the work. “There seems to be no question that meditation is, frankly, good for you. I am very encouraged by the Norwich University study.”

(more…)

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

Matt Kelley of Radio Iowa interviews Jerry Yellin about an Iowa Veterans Summit solution to PTSD

October 11, 2012

Veteran shares story in hopes of helping others deal with impact of war

October 11, 2012 By

Jerry Yellin

A study finds more veterans die by suicide every year than are killed annually in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A World War Two fighter pilot from southeast Iowa is telling his story today at an Iowa Veterans Summit in hopes more veterans can be saved and find peace.

Eighty-eight-year-old Jerry Yellin, of Fairfield, says he joined the service as an 18-year-old in February of 1942 and, in his words, “I learned how to kill.”

“I flew P-51s in combat over Japan,” Yellin says. “I flew with 16 guys who didn’t come back. One day, I had a pure purpose of living and the next day the war was over and I had no purpose of living. I came home and I was an empty soul. I had no ambition, no direction.”

Yellin says he “wandered for 30 years” and suffered from addiction until he learned Transcendental Meditation in 1975 and “got my life back.”

“It was just as easy as that,” Yellin says. “A very simple technique, not a philosophy, not a belief. Not what you think but how you think. It puts you into the zone of life, twice a day, 20 minutes a day.” Yellin is now the national co-chairman of Operation Warrior Wellness and he’s among the featured speakers at the summit in West Des Moines.

He says more veterans and their families are turning to meditation to ease the trauma of combat and to pave the way to a healthier life. “It’s a very inexpensive modality to remove stress,” Yellin says.

“It’s a 5,000-year-old traditional warrior’s way of learning to cope with stress.” Yellin says he suffered from “shell shock” for three decades after the end of World War Two, but it wasn’t something that was considered “manly” to discuss. Today, the condition is known as PTSD.

“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a civilian term,” Yellin says. “I would like to see it changed to Post-Combat Stress Injury because it is a mental injury.” He says PTSD is now blamed for 18 veterans’ suicides daily. The Iowa Veterans Summit and luncheon begins at noon at the West Des Moines Marriott.

A release says it will present the research and clinical applications of Transcendental Meditation for reducing stress, PTSD, substance abuse and suicide, depression and enhancing resilience and performance.

Learn more by calling 866-962-0108 or visit: www.operationwarriorwellness.org.

Audio: Radio Iowa’s Matt Kelley interviews Jerry Yellin 5:36.

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

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


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