Posts Tagged ‘military’

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

October 4, 2012

 Military Leaders Promote Meditation to Reduce Suicide
Epidemic Among Veterans

VA Funds Studies on PTSD; Iowa Summit to Showcase Benefits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHEN: Thursday, October 11, 2012

10:00 A.M.: Press avail

12:00 P.M. – 1:00 P.M.: Lunch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transcendental Meditation Drastically Turns Life Around For Veteran With PTSD

March 15, 2012

Transcendental Meditation Drastically Turns Life Around For Veteran With PTSD

Posted on March 15, 2012 by admin

David George Uses the Power Within for PTSD Stress Relief

By Christine Leccese

At first glance, David George’s story sounds similar to many service members returning from Iraq or Afghanistan. While deployed in Iraq, he witnessed and was part of a traumatic event. His compound was car bombed and about 50 people were injured. And he saw it all. About a year after returning home, he was anxious, depressed, drank a lot, and prone to recklessness. His life was spinning out of control. The rest of David’s story, however, is different than that of many returning veterans with PTSD, and one that Operation Warrior Wellness made possible for him.

After returning from Iraq, the barracks’ normal sounds would make David’s heart pound. A slamming door or artillery practice in the distance could cause him to panic. The smell of burning rubber could take him right back to the war. Stopping at a red light at night? Forget it. That made him feel like a sitting target. He describes the keyed up feeling he had day and night: “You know that feeling you have just before a race? That jittery feeling? I had that all the time.”

David sought help from a bottle  — Jack Daniels and whiskey could bring him a little relief, but that, of course, brought its own problems. He had several car crashes, and didn’t care whether he lived or died. His mother was frantic and said she woke up every morning not knowing whether her son would be dead or alive. Relationships and lost jobs were casualties of David’s PTSD. He wanted it to stop so he sought help. The VA was treating him with medication, but it wasn’t making a difference for David.

Here’s where David’s story takes a twist. One day, while listening to the radio in between classes, he heard an ad for a research study that was looking at the effects of transcendental meditation on PTSD. Someone had told him about TM a year or so earlier, but he could not afford to take the classes to learn how to do it. He jumped at the chance to be part of the research study, and signed up.

The first time he practiced TM, he noticed that for that 20 minutes he was free of anxiety. He started looking forward to the next day’s practice knowing that he would have another 20 minutes without anxiety. Then, the calm that he felt during his TM practice started seeping into other parts of his day. Eventually, David’s symptoms subsided.  He credits it all to TM.

“The first time I meditated, I experienced this relief from the constant anxiety attack my life had become,” David said. “You have to give yourself a chance to make yourself feel better, because no one else is going to do it for you.”

David says that he will never stop meditating. “I’m so happy and I’ll never stop. It has this compounding effect and gets better every day.”  Today, David meditates for about 20 minutes twice a day. If he is stressed about something, he’ll do a little 10-minute meditation. When he sits up in bed in the morning, he meditates, and also if he has any other opportunities, such as sitting in the waiting room of a doctor’s office. Transcendental meditation turned David’s life around, and could be a great option for other people with PTSD. If you are wondering whether your own symptoms are likely a result of PTSD, depression, anxiety, or alcohol use, you can take a free, anonymous screening. Service members who want to learn more about TM can check out Operation Warrior Wellness.

Christine Leccese is the marketing and communications manager for Military Pathways.

Related articles: Medication or Meditation for Veterans with PTSD? | David Lynch Foundation launches Veteran’s Day national meditation initiative | A Transcendental Cure for Post-Traumatic Stress by David Lynch and Norman E. Rosenthal | ABC News: Study finds meditation helps soldiers overcome trauma, PTSD | Meditation Promoted For Troops With PTSD | How meditation saved the life of a veteran with PTSD.

ABC News: Study finds meditation helps soldiers overcome trauma, PTSD

June 28, 2011

Study finds meditation helps soldiers overcome trauma, PTSD

Short video link: http://bcove.me/dug2ceme

By Cynne’ Simpson WJLA – ABC 7

June 28, 2011 – 06:45 pm

More than 20 percent of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the Department of Defense.

New research suggests one way to combat the symptoms is through meditation.

David George was sleeping in his cot during his deployment to Iraq when a car bomb exploded 25 yards away.

“I turn the lights on, and see a white cloud billowing into the room,” the 27-year-old recalls. “All the windows were blown out.”

Since then, he’s struggled with PTSD, is often anxious, angry and depressed. At one point, back at home in Maryland, he stopped himself from buying a pistol.

“I never bought a pistol because I was pretty sure I was going to shoot myself,” George said.

His mother noticed a change in her son’s behavior, too. “When he came back, he was not the boy I raised,” Julia Elena George said.

Medications and therapy didn’t help. George started drinking heavily.

Then he joined a study for veterans with PTSD using transcendental meditation, a mind-based practice involving repeating a mantra to focus one’s thoughts.

“It made me feel, and that’s the biggest sense I lost,” George said. “From that moment, I knew it was something I’d do for the rest of my life.”

The study’s findings are published in this month’s Military Medicine journal. The study found participants saw their symptoms reduced by half within two months of participating in the meditation.

Dr. Norman Rosenthal says transcendental meditation settles down the nervous system.

“People become calmer, less reactive, less jumpy,” he said. “I think the time is right for us to seriously consider this as a viable treatment.”

George meditates twice a day and says he finally feels like himself again.

“There’s something else than pills or therapies or substance abuse – there’s yourself that you can always count on,” he said.

George is working with operation warrior wellness and the David Lynch foundation to reach their goal to help 30,000 veterans through transcendental meditation in the next three years.

Short URL: http://wj.la/kKqDh3

Real Life Solution: Combating PTSD with TM

March 25, 2011

March 25, 2011 posted by Veterans Today · Leave a Comment

By Dr. David Leffler

In early 2010 WWII veteran Jerry Yellin was introduced to a young man, Dory Klock, an eight-year Army veteran who had fought in Bosnia. Dory was having difficulty adjusting, keeping a job, and fighting drugs and alcohol. As a combat veteran, Jerry knew these inner struggles all too well. Dory’s wife and two daughters were suffering with him, and Dory’s mom Lin, Jerry’s friend, was beside herself. Then one day Lin called and asked Jerry if he could help her out. “Sure, Lin, anything,” he told her.

She began weeping; she couldn’t speak. Finally, she asked, “Can you help me put Dory’s medals and ribbons on his dress uniform? We want to bury him in it, Jerry. He committed suicide yesterday.” Lin brought Dory’s uniform to Jerry’s home and he put the medals and insignias in place. When Lin left, Jerry broke down. His thoughts ran wild with the suffering so many are experiencing from the life and death of our warriors who experience combat and have nothing to hold onto when they come home. Jerry was a P-51 Pilot who flew 19 missions over Japan and saw the horror of Iwo Jima – a battle involving 90,000 soldiers on a small island where 28,000 people died. He knew from his own experiences as a returning veteran who suffered from what is now called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that the problem is overwhelming our nation.

Jerry relates: “Can we expect our warriors to return from the horrors and experiences of war and integrate back into a normal routine without something deep and meaningful to hold onto? I could not. And neither can they. I also know that each and every PTSD victim needs a vehicle, a methodology that will help them help themselves. Antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs are used extensively but are extremely costly, especially for the long haul, and do not provide a cure. Many turn to alcohol and recreational drugs as a temporary escape from problems. Eighteen veterans from all our wars are said to be committing suicide daily. I know that care is dependent on complete willingness and cooperation from the patient. And that takes a long time. America does not have that time now. We are in crisis.”

This article offers a scientifically verified, time-tested solution to how we can help our military personnel, veterans and their families.

Read the rest of Real Life Solution: Combating PTSD with TM.

Also posted on OpEd News and the Purple Heart Service Foundation as Combating PTSD.

Veteran Dan Burks on Overcoming the Stresses of War with Transcendental Meditation

January 18, 2011

Veteran Dan Burks on Overcoming the Stresses of War with TM

DavidLynchFoundation | December 12, 2010

Transcription: “December 18th 1967 – Newsweek, five days after my birthday. This is a story called ‘The Days Work.’ And this is my unit, we went out and got ambushed, and this is me doing my job. We were attacked at this place called Buddha. That fight went on for two weeks. The first night I killed 14 people. There were 25 hundred of them, 250 of us. The next morning in front of my fighting position there were 18 of our men dead. So this is very, very, very distressing, and it creates huge amounts of distress in your system.”

“Later in the magazine there’s this… this is an article Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and a couple guys in my platoon, one of them got the magazine and came running over and said ‘Burks, you gotta read this!’ So I did. And I said, ‘I’m going to do that….’ Because it talks about stress release, about becoming a whole person.”

“The next part of the story is about getting home. And that’s a whole big deal, because things changed. All of a sudden you’re in a different culture. They don’t understand you. They have no idea. They don’t understand that you’re always still in the rubber plantation in the jungle. You’re always on an adrenalin high. You’re looking to protect your buddies, you’re looking to protect yourself and you’re looking to kill the enemy.”

Help us heal our Veterans – http://www.davidlynchfoundation.org

See two other videos: AFP: Meditation soothes war veterans and 50% reduction in PTSD symptoms within 4 weeks of Veterans practicing Transcendental Meditation.

See AFP’s How Clint Eastwood keeps his cool, Meditation May Ease PTSD for Vets, and watch highlights of the David Lynch Foundation‘s Operation Warrior Wellness press conference and the second annual Change Begins Within benefit gala.


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