After just a few weeks of daily meditation, both personal testimonies and certified scientific research showed a dramatic 50% reduction of PTSD symptoms, including markedly decreased anxiety, depression, and propensity to drug and alcohol abuse. When we meet the vibrant and inspiring military men that have taken part in Operation Warrior Wellness, from infantryman David George to decorated WWII Captain Jerry Yellin, the response is overwhelming:
“It was the difference between heaven and hell”, “The first time I sat down to meditate, this incredible relief washed over me, for the very first time since combat, I was at peace.” If there is no way to unlearn the atrocities one has had to witness, it’s pretty safe to say those individuals have achieved as much a recovery into a healthy, joyful and well-balanced life as can be hoped for.
The David Lynch Foundation explains:
“Veterans are often loath to acknowledge to themselves or others their inner wounds of war after they return home from combat. Healing those wounds of war requires an approach that directly impacts the neurophysiology underlying PTSD.
Operation Warrior Wellness offers Transcendental Meditation, a scientifically proven approach, which can be easily learned and practiced in private, just 15 to 20 minutes a day, to help veterans overcome the nightmare of PTSD, while simultaneously promoting resiliency and improved performance in civilian life. Thousands of veterans have learned Transcendental Meditation and research on meditating vets 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. The technique produces a profound state of rest and relaxation as deep as deep sleep, while enlivening the full brain. This experience of restful alertness is at the basis of the marked reductions in symptoms of PTSD and the overall improvement in the quality of life of the veteran.”
This begs another question. What if TM was taught preemptively as part of the US forces basic training? How could it help limit traumatic response amongst troops and civilians alike? Improve performance, resilience, and balanced decision-making on the field? And if we are allowed to dream this big, how could an emotionally-level, consciousness-based army of professional peace-makers positively affect the way that war is waged and peace is sought around the world?
Created six years ago, the David Lynch Foundation has been endeavoring to make the practice of TM available, not only to our veterans but to as many individuals as possible, whom, every day, are suffering from the crippling patterns traumatic stress has woven into them. Military groups, homeless shelters, American Indian communities, incarceration facilities, not to mention a global outreach to at-risk children in violence-ridden regions around the world. From the City of Children in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, from street-life rehabilitation orphanages in Columbia, to the most precarious public school systems across the nation, meditation has already helped tens of thousand of those who were deemed “broken children” find a way back to wholeness, productivity, hopefulness and joy.
Indeed, how many of us have never felt broken, helpless, unable to function through the perceived enormousness of the challenges, big and small, that life presents us with every day? What of the hundreds of thousands, the millions of lives crushed by the Japanese Earthquake, the Southern tornadoes, Darfur, 9/11, the daily life of an Emergency Room, the endless procession of natural and human-induced tragedies breaking hearts and hopes the world over?