Posts Tagged ‘Center for Brain Consciousness and Cognition’

Dr. Fred Travis at GIBS: Mind-Brain Development for Excellence and TM Develops Brain Coherence

October 3, 2018

Dr Fred Travis presenting at GIBS

On May 7, 2018, Dr. Travis gave a presentation at the Gordon Institute of Business Science at Pretoria University in Johannesburg, South Africa: Achieving Career Excellence through Mind/Brain Development. This forum explores the essential role that mind/brain development plays in enhanced performance.

Research indicates that the level of mind-brain development underlies excellence in all fields of life. Higher brain integration is associated with higher emotional stability, more openness to experience, greater creativity, and greater problem-solving ability. Research shows that world-class professional athletes, top-level managers, and professional musicians have higher levels of brain integration.* This forum explores the different factors that influence brain integration and performance.​

Dr. Fred Travis earned his Ph.D. in 1988 from Maharishi University of Management and after a 2-year postdoctoral position returned to Maharishi University of Management to direct research in the Center from Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition. He has authored over 80 papers that investigate the relation between natural human development and lifestyle choices on brain functioning and personal and professional success. He has lectured extensively in North and South America, Europe, and Asia.

The GIBS Business School published two videos of his talk on their YouTube channel May 14, 2018: Dr Fred Travis – Mind-Brain Development for Excellence (4:15). Dr. Fred Travis, Director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition at the Maharishi University of Management, says studies have found that that a certain level of mind-brain development underlies excellence in all fields of life.

Seated up front is a subject with EEG leads taped to his head and EEG signatures projected onto the screen behind him. A meditation demonstration must have been done, but that footage is not included in these videos, just a screensaver of it for the second video.

Towards the end of the first video Dr. Travis mentions the Transcendental Meditation technique as a practical tool to help you develop excellence in whatever field you’re in. That theme is more developed in this second video: Dr Fred Travis – Meditation Develops Brain Coherence (5:35). MUM/CBCC Director Dr. Travis believes that meditation develops greater coherence across the brain and aligns the flow of information.

*Here are some of those cited references, from June 18, 2012, Research breakthrough: High brain integration underlies winning performances. World-class performers in management, sports and music often have uniquely high mind-brain development. On June 4, 2014, another study finds brain integration correlates with greater creativity in product-development engineers. See Does practice make perfect? Or are some people more creative than others? If so, why?

For an explanation of how and why the TM technique is effortless, and can be easily learned and practiced by anyone, with immediate results, read this report: Research validates the defining hallmark of Transcendental Meditation—effortlessness.

Also see this recently published paper using fMRI:  New study highlights unique state of “restful alertness” during Transcendental Meditation.

Second study to show Transcendental Meditation reduces PTSD in African Refugees—in just 10 days

February 10, 2014

Transcendental Meditation significantly reduces PTSD in African refugees within 10 days

This is lead author Col. Brian Rees, MD, MPH, US Army Reserve Medical Corps

This is lead author Col. Brian Rees, MD, MPH, US Army Reserve Medical Corps

African civilians in war-torn countries have experienced the threat of violence or death, and many have witnessed the abuse, torture, rape and even murder of loved ones. Many Congolese living in Ugandan refugee camps are suffering from severe posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

New research shows that Congolese war refugees who learned the Transcendental Meditation® technique showed a significant reduction in posttraumatic stress disorder in just 10 days, according to a study published today in the February 2014 issue of the Journal of Traumatic Stress (Volume 27, Issue 1, pages 1–119).

In the study, “Significant Reductions in Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in Congolese Refugees within 10 days Transcendental Meditation Practice,” 11 subjects were tested after 10-days and 30-days TM practice. After just 10-days PTSD symptoms dropped almost 30 points.

“An earlier study found a similar result after 30 days where 90% of TM subjects dropped to a non-symptomatic level. But we were surprised to see such a significant reduction with this group after just 10 days,” said study author Brian Rees, MD, MPH.

The subjects were assessed using the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for Civilians, (PCL-C), which rates the severity of PTSD on a scale from 17 to 85. A score below 35 means the symptoms of PTSD have abated.

Eleven Congolese refugees who had been tested three times over a 90-day period on the PCL-C, which rates the level of PTSD on a scale from 17 to 85, began with an average score of 77.9. They learned Transcendental Meditation within 8 days of the third test and after 10 days their average score dropped to 48, which was highly clinically significant. They were retested 30 days later measuring an average score of 35.3. With scores below 35 considered non-symptomatic, they were practically symptom free.

Eleven Congolese refugees who had been tested three times over a 90-day period on the PCL-C, which rates the level of PTSD on a scale from 17 to 85, began with an average score of 77.9. They learned Transcendental Meditation within 8 days of the third test and after 10 days their average score dropped to 48, which was highly clinically significant. They were retested 30 days later measuring an average score of 35.3. With scores below 35 considered non-symptomatic, they were practically symptom free.

The subjects in the study initially tested with an average score of 77.9. After just 10 days of practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique, their PTSD test scores dropped to an average of 48, which was highly significant clinically.

Thirty days later the subjects were tested again with their PTSD scores falling to an average of 35.3 — meaning that they were nearly without symptoms of PTSD.

“What makes this study interesting is when we tested them in the 90 days before they began the TM technique, their PTSD scores kept going up,” said coauthor Fred Travis, director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management. “During that period their scores were rising, from 68.5 at the beginning to 77.9 after 90 days. But once they started the Transcendental Meditation technique, their PTSD scores plummeted.”

According to the researchers, during this particular meditation technique one experiences a deep state of restful alertness. Repeated experience of this state for 20 minutes twice a day cultures the nervous system to maintain settled mental and physical functioning the rest of the day. This helps to minimize disturbing thoughts, sleep difficulties, and other adverse PTSD symptoms.

In this video, Dr. Travis explains the neurophysiology of trauma and how TM relieves it. He says, “Something very profound is happening. Because experience changes the brain, and trauma locks in a specific brain functioning (the over stimulated amygdala), you’re stuck in a specific way of thinking and feeling, (vigilance, fear and mistrust) and appreciating the world.” He further explains how the experience of transcending, with Transcendental Meditation, calms the amygdala, relieves PTS symptoms and frees the individual “to see more possibilities.”

Congolese refugee Esperance Ndozi and her 5 children

Congolese refugee Esperance Ndozi and her 5 children

Esperance Ndozi was one of the Congolese refugees traumatized by the civil war. The 35-year old mother of 5 was part of the group of refugees that learned TM. Before learning the effortless technique, Esperance couldn’t find relief from a flood of dark disturbing memories. She could hardly sleep. After a week of meditating 20-minutes twice a day she describes increasing relaxation and relief from PTSD symptoms. “Your mind, your body relaxes. You feel you are out of the outside world. You are just in your peaceful world. No negativity. It doesn’t come near me now.” Like other refugees in the study the calm and peace grew to last throughout the day. Watch the video.

A previous study of Congolese refugees, which involved 42 subjects found that the Transcendental Meditation group had an average Checklist score of below 35 after 30 days, a non-symptomatic level, while the average score of the control group actually worsened over the same period.

“This is now the fourth study to show an improvement in PTSD,” said Dr. Rees, a colonel in the US Army Reserve Medical Corps. “The Transcendental Meditation technique is increasingly being seen as a viable treatment by the US military.”*

###

Study co-author Dr Fred Travis is a professor of neurophysiology at Maharishi University of Management, an accredited university to the PhD level, where Transcendental Meditation is incorporated into its curriculum and practiced by faculty and students. This provides a way for students, including veterans, to reduce the effects of past stress and trauma, and make learning easier and more enjoyable. www.mum.edu

This study was funded in part by the David Lynch Foundation. www.davidlynchfoundation.org/africa

The Journal of Traumatic Stress is published on behalf of International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.

Source: EurekAlert!

*Two earlier studies have shown the Transcendental Meditation (TM®) technique to effectively lower post-traumatic stress in veterans of Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan wars.

See first refugee study: New study shows Transcendental Meditation significantly reduces PTS in African refugees

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.

Fairfield Ledger cover article by Diane Vance: Combat stress subject of public forum Saturday

July 26, 2012

Combat stress subject of public forum Saturday
Travis to speak at forum

By DIANE VANCE, Ledger staff writer | Jul 25, 2012

Jerry Yellin

Two U.S. Army veterans, more than five decades apart in age, and a five-wars-with-U.S.-involvement difference, will share their stories and their experiences in making peace with the effects of war and combat, in the hope of reaching other wounded veterans.

World War II P-51 fighter pilot, Fairfield resident, author and co-chair of Operation Warrior Wellness, Jerry Yellin and Luke Jensen, a 12-year Army Reserves Military Police soldier, Operation Enduring Freedom/Afghanistan veteran from Story County will join in a public forum at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center.

The forum, Healing the Hidden Wounds of War, is open to everyone at no charge.

“The military is experiencing an extreme suicide rate,” said Yellin. “The July 23, 2012, Time magazine has a story, ‘War on Suicide’ on the cover. One U.S. soldier commits suicide each day. Why?”

Another chilling statistic: More soldiers have died by suicide than have been killed in combat in Afghanistan.

“A representative from the Surgeon General’s office is coming to our forum in Fairfield,” said Yellin.

Yellin and Jensen are authorities on the effects of combat stress and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Yellin describes suffering from it for 30 years; Jensen is healing after struggling for nearly two years.

Yellin tells his story in his published book, “The Resilient Warrior.” He was 17-years-old on the day Japan attacked the U.S. navel fleet at Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

“It felt as if someone had invaded my home, and I had to do something about it,” he wrote.

When talking about his story, Yellin says, “I lost 16 friends, other pilots. Do you want to hear their names?”

And he recites the 16 names beginning 69 years ago, how they died and when they died.

Yellin flew 19 long-range bombing missions over Japan from his base in Iwo Jima, in the company of 11 “other young pilots, all of them friends,” none who lived to return home.

But he returned home, to New Jersey, in December 1945. In his book, he describes himself as a former captain, a combat squadron leader, and a fighter pilot, but “emotionally I was just a 17-year old high school graduate. I was a lost soul, with no one to talk to and no real life experiences to fall back on,” he wrote.

“During the war, I had a purpose, it was clearly defined,” said Yellin from his 88-years’ perspective. “When I came home, I was completely empty.

“I developed an addiction — to golf,” he said. “I had no interest in working, no interest in furthering my education.

“I had dreams about my friends killed, I had nightmares about the ones lost and no bodies recovered,” he said. “I couldn’t think about the guys killed during the day.”

“Stress is like a virus of the brain,” said Yellin. “It needs something to relieve that stress. The best way I’ve found for relieving that stress is Transcendental Meditation.”

His wife Helene saw Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Merv Griffin TV show in 1975, and became interested in learning TM. After his wife and one of his sons learned, Yellin also decided to take the TM course.

“Thirty years after World War II, I found TM could take my stress away,” said Yellin.

His other three sons also learned and eventually, the family moved to Fairfield.

Since 2010, Yellin has been on a mission to help veterans, and their families, from any wars, learn TM to relieve stress, he said.

“I don’t want other veterans to go through what I went through,” he said.

Through Operation Warrior Wellness, supported by the David Lynch Foundation, offering this help, learning TM, is given at no cost to veterans and families.

Yellin has spoken about PTSD and TM in New York, Washington, D.C., South Dakota and Los Angeles. But it isn’t only from the podium to large crowds he makes his appeals; Yellin also deals up close and personal.

A year ago, his son brought home the Des Moines Register with a front-page story that grabbed Yellin’s attention.

“I don’t read newspapers a lot,” he admitted. “But the July 17, 2011, Register had the story of a young man, Luke Jensen and his family living in Story County, ‘A War with PTSD.’”

Luke Jensen

Des Moines Register writer Reid Forgrave wrote about Jensen, who grew up in a loving family, always wanted to be in law enforcement and joined the Army Reserves after high school.

The news story tells about Jensen’s hiring at the police department in Nevada, Iowa, in 2001, his yearlong deployment after 9/11 to seaports around the country, then upon returning, his advancement in local law enforcement. He worked on the Central Iowa Drug Task Force as an undercover cop, making drug buys, drug busts and felony arrests.

By 2009, he and his wife had two young daughters. His unit was called up to deploy to Afghanistan. He wasn’t looking forward to leaving his family, but it was his commitment and he would be deploying with his close-knit group of military buddies. But then, just before the unit left the states, the mission changed and the unit was split into smaller groups and dispersed to seven separate bases.

Jensen experienced soldiers dying and artillery fire shaking his bed day and night. Within a month, he felt defenseless, helpless, sleepless and eventually hopeless. He lost 25 pounds and experienced panic attacks all day long. He sweated profusely and was depressed. After 53 days he was medically evacuated.

Going through seven weeks of therapy at Fort Campbell, Ky., before returning to Iowa didn’t help. Relaxation classes, yoga and prescriptions didn’t help.

One April night in 2010 Forgrave wrote, Jensen finished drinking a 12-pack of beer and argued with his wife. He got his 45-caliber pistol and “stalked around his house, crouched toward the floor, making strange noises. ‘You don’t know what I’ve seen!’ he screamed at his wife” at 3 a.m.

When she said she was calling police, after locking herself and daughters in the bathroom, Jensen screamed he’d kill himself, wrote Forgrave.

That one-night crisis de-escalated, but Jensen was still very unbalanced. Then he lost his job as a Story County deputy. The family started going in debt.

Jensen vacillated between not sleeping and sleeping all the time. His blood pressure, at age 32, was very high. He was put on blood pressure medication. And he kept thinking about suicide, something he hadn’t really stopped thinking about since serving in Afghanistan.

He continued with counseling therapy and took a job in Story County Veteran Affairs Office, helping other veterans access services and file claims. He was making improvements, accepting his war experiences and his mental breakdown from it.

That’s the story Yellin read in the newspaper last summer. The following day, he called Story County Veterans Affairs Office and asked for Jensen.

“Yeah, he called me at the office,” said Jensen. “He told me he was an 87-year-old guy who knew what I’d been going through.”

“I told him about TM and offered to bring Luke and [his wife] Abi to Fairfield and learn TM, and it wouldn’t cost him anything,” said Yellin. “I told him I’d do anything I could for him. We put them up in a Fairfield inn, fed them and each of them took the TM course.”

It was all paid for through Operation Warrior Wellness.

“Jerry [Yellin] and I are still in constant contact,” said Jensen. “He wants to help other veterans and so do I. I have Jerry’s book in my office. I have brochures about TM and offer them to anybody who’s interested. Anytime I go to a conference or a training for Veterans Affairs, I do some local promoting about Transcendental Meditation and Operation Warrior Wellness. It has sparked some interesting conversations. And since I’m 33 and have been to Afghanistan, more younger veterans are finding their way into the office.”

Jensen said in the year since learning TM he has been able to get off his anxiety medications and sleep-aides, lower the doses on his blood pressure medication and depression medication.

“I’m sleeping much better,” he said. “I’m attending night classes through William Penn University, studying business management.

“I’ve recommended TM to family members, and besides my wife, an uncle and a cousin also learned.”

Abi also appreciates Yellin’s outreach.

“I felt we had a lot of support from family and had close military ties with Luke’s unit. I thought when he came home, we’d just go back to our former lives,” she said. “Even though I knew he had suicidal thoughts, I thought all that would go away once he was home again. I thought I was strong enough to overcome all of this.

“I didn’t want to know about all the hidden wounds, I didn’t want Luke to be changed,” she said. “One thing I’ve always adored about Luke is he’s a very tender, loving father.

“But I got to the point of being so overwhelmed,” said Abi. “I had a lot of anxiety about money. Seeing the changes in Luke was scary.”

She said learning TM over a weekend last summer, gave her hope.

“After one week of practicing TM, I could face what I needed to do, about money, about healing … it just blows me away,” she said. “Luke and I meditate together. It has helped so much. He’s better, a better husband, a better father, a better man, even now than he was before going to Afghanistan. He’s a happy guy to be around. And he’s become a good public speaker, I’m looking forward to this forum on Saturday.”

Yellin encourages anyone interested in the topic to attend Saturday’s forum

“We prefer if people register at www.operationwarriorwellness.org/iowa if they are attending,” he said.

Travis to speak at forum

Along with Luke Jensen and Jerry Yellin, Fred Travis. a professor at Maharishi University of Management and director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition, will present information at Saturday’s forum, Healing the Hidden Wounds of War.

Travis is a published researcher about the functions of the brain and effects of Transcendental Meditation on the brain.

“The main point to remember, is experience changes the brain,” he said.

That is, whatever we view, are exposed to, listen to, learn or experience, affects our brains.

“Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a natural response to an unnatural event,” said Travis. “The brain’s Amygdala attaches an emotional tag to any experience to remember it.

“PTSD is a way of the brain wanting you to remember an event, except it also causes hyper vigilance and low self-esteem and makes those experiencing PTSD not trust others,” said Travis.

“Just as experience can change the brain, Transcendental Meditation can change the brain,” he said. “When meditating in TM, the person transcends thought, which allows the brain to reset itself. If affects the body and the mind.

“How can I say this? Because we have research to back it up.”

Front page article reprinted with permission from The Fairfield Ledger

See: Military veterans speak on need to increase resiliency: by Diane Vance, Fairfield Ledger  |  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  |   KTVO: 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  |  Mark Newman: Courier: Iowa soldier seeks peace of mind through meditation and medication  |  KTVO News: How one soldier regained his life with help from WWII veteran and TM for PTSD  |  TM Blog: “TM saved my life”—Suicidal Afghanistan war veteran who suffered from PTSD

Veterans speak out on post-traumatic stress, offer a proven way to heal PTSD

July 18, 2012

Jerry Yellin, WWII Veteran and author of four books, speaks with fellow vet Luke Jensen on how they survived PTSD.  KTVO’S Kate Allt

FAIRFIELD, IOWA — Across the country, more and more veterans are returning home from war with symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Veterans who have been home for decades still struggle with traumatic experiences and memories.

Two Iowa veterans are inviting all soldiers from all wars and their families to the Sondheim Center in Fairfield, Iowa on July 28 to hear how a unique lesson went miles to improve the quality of their lives.

Jerry Yellin is not only a veteran of World War II and the author of four books, he has dedicated his life to helping veterans of all wars and their families. Yellin met Vietnam vet Ed Schloeman in 2010 and after both of them learned Transcendental Meditation, and saw the immediate benefits to their health and well-being, Operation Warrior Wellness was born.

Yellin knows first-hand what combat can do to a person’s mental and physical health.

“On August 14, the war was over and I came home and I was an empty shell at the age of 21,” he said. “Combat took everything out of me. I had a pure purpose for life, pure purpose for living, pure purpose for serving my government, serving my country, and then no purpose of life for 30 years. Stressed out, many jobs, and then I learned Transcendental Meditation, and I got my life back. There are hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of families – not only soldiers – but families, suffering from post traumatic stress and stress is relieved by Transcendental Meditation.”

Yellin firmly believes that Transcendental Meditation, or TM, saved his life. His, and many others. He has saved countless testimonials from veterans across the country who have seen the effects of TM work wonders on them and their families.

Luke Jensen of Des Moines is just one example. He returned from Afghanistan three years ago a broken man.

“I tried many, many things that did not work for me,” Jensen said. “And my family continued to push me to try new things, to get help when I first got back from Afghanistan. I wasn’t having any luck with anything or getting relief from anything until I learned TM with Jerry. It can change your life, and it did for myself and for Jerry and for many other veterans who went through – I know veterans who went through much worse, more experiences than I did and it helped them.”

Even scientists say TM has a relieving effect on the brain, and helps get rid of traumatic and stressful experiences stored into memory. Dr. Fred Travis, at the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at Maharishi University, said the brain is not constant and unchanging. Rather, experience changes the brain, and oftentimes, traumatic or stressful experiences leave a permanent effect on the brain, and the amygdala – the fear center – is permanently turned on.

The way to reverse that change in the brain is to offer a direct opposite experience, one of calmness and deep thought.

“What Transcendental Meditation seems to do is turns off the amygdala and suddenly the person – remember, the brain is the interface between inner and outer – so now suddenly the person can see the situation in a different way,” said Dr. Travis. “This is what we see in the research of veterans of the Vietnam era, of Iraq, of Afghanistan, is the process of transcending from TM helps them very quickly reduce flashbacks, eliminate the anger and anxiety inside allowing them to sleep, allowing their heart and feelings to flow towards other people.”

“It helped me become a person, helped me become a better person, better husband, better father, a better person with a purpose in life,” Yellin said. “And I would like every veteran to expose themselves to this modality of Transcendental Meditation.”

This news report aired Wednesday, July 18, 2012 on ABC 3 and CBS 3.2.

To learn more about the July 28, 2 pm event – Healing the Hidden Wounds of War – at the Sondheim in Fairfield, or to register, visit http://operationwarriorwellness.org/iowa.

Find out more here: Healing the Hidden Wounds of War: open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness

Here is a wonderful  interview with Jerry Yellin and Lisa Cypers Kamen of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio July 18th. You can listen online to Jerry Yellin, Operation Warrior Wellness and Debbie Gregory, Military Connection or download the the podcast.

Other news coverage:  WHO-TV 13 News: WARRIOR WELLNESS: Healing Hidden Wounds with Meditation for Veterans  |  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 Story County Veteran Once Suicidal Finds Relief from PTSD with Transcendental Meditation: AmesPatch article by Jessica Miller

Research breakthrough: High brain integration underlies winning performances

June 18, 2012

Research breakthrough: High brain integration underlies winning performances

World-class performers in management, sports and music often have uniquely high mind-brain development

Scientists trying to understand why some people excel—whether as world-class athletes, virtuoso musicians, or top CEOs—have discovered that these outstanding performers have unique brain characteristics that make them different from other people.

A study published in May in the journal Cognitive Processing found that 20 top-level managers scored higher on three measures—the Brain Integration Scale, Gibbs’s Socio-moral Reasoning questionnaire, and an inventory of peak experiences—compared to 20 low-level managers that served as matched controls. This is the fourth study in which researchers have been able to correlate the brain’s activity with top performance and peak experiences, having previously studied world-class athletes and professional classical musicians.

“What we have found,” says Fred Travis, director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, “is an astonishing integration of brain functioning in high performers compared to average-performing controls. We are the first in the world to show that there is a brain measure of effective leadership.”

“Everyone wants excellence,” says Harald Harung of the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences in Norway. “Yet, current understanding of high performance is fragmented. What we have done in our research, is to use quantitative and neurophysiological research methods on topics that so far have been dominated by psychology.”

Dr. Travis, Dr. Harung, and colleagues have carried out a total of four empirical studies comparing world-class performers to average performers. This recent study and two others have examined top performers in management, sports, and classical music. In addition, a number of years ago Dr. Harung and colleagues published a fourth study on a variety of professions, such as public administration, management, sports, arts and education.

Measured Brain Activity

The studies carried out by the researchers include measurements of the performers’ brains by using electroencephalography, EEG. Hospitals use this equipment and method to determine possible brain injuries after traffic accidents. EEG, however, can also be used to look at the extent of integration and development of several brain processes.

The researchers looked at three different measurements that all reflect how well the brain works as a whole: 1) Coherence, which shows how well the various parts of the brain cooperate, 2) Amount of alpha waves, which reflect restful alertness, and 3) How economically or effectively the brain works.

The three measurements are then put together in an expression of brain refinement, the Brain Integration Scale.

World-class performance has so far been mostly regarded from a psychological point of view, especially speaking of management. Researchers often explain management skills as a result of special personal or psychological characteristics that some have, and others don’t.

“Our research in brain activity and brain integration is done from more of a natural science angle. By such means, we hope we are closer to an effective and comprehensive understanding of why some succeed better than others,” says Harung.

In all the groups of top performers, measurements were checked by using control groups. The controls were average performers, such as low-level managers or amateur musicians. The data gave one surprising result: Among the musicians, both the professionals and the amateurs turned out to have a high level of brain integration. In the two other studies, this measurement showed major differences between the persons with top-level performance and the control groups.

“We believe that for musicians, the explanation might be that classical music in itself contributes to such integration, regardless of your performance level,” says Dr. Harung.

Peak Experience

The researchers found it’s not just that their brains function differently; the world-class performers also had particular subjective experiences that were associated with their top performances.

Called peak experiences, these experiences are characterized by happiness, inner calm, maximum wakefulness, effortlessness and ease of functioning, absence of fear, transcendence of ordinary time and space, and a sense of perfection and even invincibility.

The first study was done on world-class athletes selected by the National Olympic Training Center in Norway and the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. Besides screening athletes’ brains using EEG, each athlete was interviewed about their experiences while performing at their very best. The result was a wide range of peak experiences.

Former cross-country skier Thomas Alsgaard, who won 11 gold medals in Olympic Games and World Championships, said:

“The senses are so open that you have the ability to receive signals that are almost scary: In a way it is a ‘high.’ I receive an unbelievable amount of information. Much, much more—10-20 times more information—than what I manage to take in if I sit down and concentrate and try to perceive things. But I am so relaxed. And the more relaxed I am, the more information I register.”

Another athlete who participated in the research is the Norwegian handball keeper, Heidi Tjugum, who was part of the Norwegian national team that won one World Championship, one European Championship, two European Cups and a number of silver and bronze medals. She says:

“Sometimes I have felt that I am an observer—I just watch what happens. This is a good feeling. It is a very beautiful feeling; it is not that I feel I don’t have control. But it goes by itself—in reality I do not have to initiate anything at all. Extremely here and now—nothing else matters.”

These statements are similar to those the researchers gathered from other top-class performers, both among the musicians and the business leaders. As seen, they found a significant difference amongst the top performers and controls on several quantitative measures.

“Therefore, there must be some common inner attributes and processes that make top performers able to deliver at top level, regardless of profession or activity,” says Travis. “We found this common inner dimension to be what we called higher mind-brain development.”

Higher mind-brain development includes that various aspects and parts of the brain work together in an integrated way. Among world-class performers this integration is especially well developed.

Presenting a New Theory

The researchers have developed a new theory, a Unified Theory of Performance, which suggests that higher levels of mind-brain development form a platform for higher performance, regardless of profession or activity.

“It seems like these mind-brain variables represent a fundamental potential for being good, really good, in the particular activity one has decided to carry out,” says Harung.

For all three recent studies the researchers also found that top-level performers outscored the control groups in a test of moral development. Higher moral development implies an expanded awareness where one is able to satisfy the interests of other people and not just their own needs. Harung finds it remarkable that high levels of performance, in a wide spectrum of activities, are connected to high moral standards.

“This should give an extra push to act morally, in addition to a better self-image, fewer sleepless nights and a good reputation,” Dr. Harung says. “The key to top-level performance, therefore, seems to be that we make more use of our inherent capabilities.”

Implications of the Research

The discovery that the brains of world-class performers have similar characteristics raises some important questions, such as: 1) Is there a way one can develop one’s brain to have more of these characteristics and thereby perform at a higher level? And 2) Can measuring a person’s brain predict the potential for someone to be a world-class performer?

These and other researchers have actively explored whether meditation techniques, for example, can help to actively cultivate one’s brain. Research by Dr. Travis and others has found that Transcendental Meditation practitioners do have greater EEG coherence, greater presence of alpha waves, and, in some advanced practitioners, a very efficiently functioning brain. A coherent brain is a high-performing brain.

In addition, researchers have been exploring possible applications to predict performance ability in general and leadership ability in particular. For example, if a corporation has preliminarily selected five candidates for its CEO position, the above measures could be administered to aid in the final decision. Or these measures can be used to assess the effectiveness of training or education in increasing an individual’s performance capacity.

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Scientific Literature

1. Harung, H. S., Travis, F., (2012) Higher mind-brain development in successful leaders: testing a unified theory of performance. Cognitive Processing Vol 13, Number 2, 171-181, DOI: 10.1007/s10339-011-0432-x

2. Harung, H. S. (2012). Illustrations of Peak Experiences during Optimal Performance in World-class Performers: Integration Eastern and Western Insights. Journal of Human Values, 18(1), 33-52, doi:10.1177/097168581101800104

3. Travis, F., Harung, H. S., & Lagrosen, Y. (2011). Moral Development, Executive Functioning, Peak Experiences and Brain Patterns in Professional and Amateur Classical Musicians: Interpreted in Light of a Unified Theory of Performance. Consciousness and Cognition, 20(4), 1256-1264

4. Harung, H.S., Travis, F., Pensgaard, A. M., Boes, R., Cook-Greuter, S., Daley, K. (2011). Higher psycho-physiological refinement in world-class Norwegian athletes: brain measures of performance capacity. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, Vol 21, Issue 1, pages 32, February 2011, doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2009.01007.x

5. Harung, H. S., Heaton, D. P., Graff, W. W., & Alexander, C. N. (1996). Peak performance and higher states of consciousness: A study of world-class performers. Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 3-23

Related Articles

New study sheds light on “peak experiences” in world-class performers | New research looks at brain integration in top athletes and in long-time meditators | ‘Brilliant minds’—New Research on the Brain State of Virtuoso Musicians and How it Relates to TM | ScienceDaily: Musicians’ Brains Highly Developed | Freakonomics: Do Musicians Have Better Brains?

Source: EurekAlert!

See the latest study: Does Practice Make Perfect Or Are Some People More Creative Than Others? Study finds brain integration correlates with greater creativity in product-development engineers. The study was discussed on TMHome: Brain integration, the key to creativity, citing Medical News Today’s report on the study.

TM activates DMN, the brain’s “ground state”

March 4, 2010

A new EEG study conducted on college students at American University found they could more highly activate the default mode network, a suggested natural “ground state” of the brain, during their practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique. This three-month randomized control study is published in a special issue of Cognitive Processing dedicated to the Neuroscience of Meditation and Consciousness, Volume 11, Number 1, February, 2010.

Specifically, the study found the TM technique:

  • Produces a unique state of “restful alertness,” as seen in the markedly higher alpha power in the frontal cortex and lower beta and gamma waves in the same frontal areas during TM practice.
  • Creates greater alpha coherence between the left and right hemispheres of the brain suggesting the brain is working as a whole.
  • Enhances an individual’s sense of “self” by activating what neuroscientists call the “default mode network” in the brain. (This is considered the natural ground state of the brain, glimpsed by neuroscientists during eyes-closed rest but more fully activated during Transcendental Meditation practice.)

“The finding of significant brain wave differences between students practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique and those simply resting with their eyes closed is especially convincing because subjects were randomly assigned to conditions, and testing was conducted by a researcher unaware of the experimental condition to which the subject had been assigned,” said David Haaga, Ph.D., coauthor and professor of psychology at American University.

“Research has already shown that simply closing one’s eyes and relaxing increases the default mode. A significant additional finding of this new study is that activity in the default mode increases during TM compared to simple eyes-closed rest,” said Fred Travis, Ph.D., lead author and director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management. “Different meditation techniques entail various degrees of cognitive control. Thus, activation patterns of the default mode network could give insight into the nature of meditation practices.”

Previous published research, funded by the NIH, shows TM practice decreases high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, cholesterol, stroke, and heart failure.

Comparative EEG Tracings

These raw EEG tracings during eyes-closed rest (left) and Transcendental Meditation (right) represent 18 tracings over 6 seconds. The top tracings are from frontal sensors; the middle tracings are from central sensors; the bottom tracings are from parietal and occipital sensors [back]. Note the high-density alpha activity in posterior leads during eyes-closed rest, and the global alpha bursts across all brain areas during Transcendental Meditation practice.

eLORETA Images of Significance Differences

These are eLORETA images of sources of alpha EEG during TM compared to eyes-closed rest in the default mode network (the white areas).

Images credit: Cognitive Processing, Volume 11 (2010), Issue 1

Article title: A self-referential default brain state: patterns of coherence, power, and eLORETA sources during eyes-closed rest and Transcendental Meditation practice, DOI: 10.1007/s10339-009-0343-2

Laboratory Note: The work of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management is summarized and featured in this same issue:


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