The hour long talk from noon – 1p.m. on February 25, 2013 at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa will be the first step in learning to how Transcendental Meditation can benefit everyone, but specifically veterans suffering with PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. On that day, meditation teacher Anne Shook, along with teachers Dan Swanson, Carol and Bob Markowitz, will be presenting a talk on Transcendental Meditation called “TM Talks”. The purpose of this introductory talk is to educate veterans, their families and the general public on the benefits of Transcendental Meditation or TM.
TM is an ancient form of meditation based on the teachings of Indian Vedic masters, but is not associated with any religion, lifestyle or philosophy. TM is a mantra based meditation that allows the practitioner to “de-excite” the mind twice a day for 20 minutes a day, leading to more restful sleep, lower blood pressure, and better concentration, among other benefits. After the introductory talk those interested in learning TM can sign up for classes that begin March 8 -11, Shook explained. “The first day is personal interaction. The student will be allowed to ask questions, express concerns, learn their mantra, be one-on-one with the instructor. The second, third and fourth day will be practicing meditation as a part of a small group. Interacting with others who are learning as you are, perfecting your technique. This is a lifetime of access to learning, even after those first four days, instructors will always be available to you.”
The David Lynch Foundation based out of New York, Los Angeles and Fairfield, Iowa has been instrumental in bringing TM to at risk groups since 2005. Their national charitable initiative Operation Warrior Wellness is aimed at helping veterans with PTSD and their families. Operation Warrior Wellness, is the group funding the “TM Talks” at Camp Dodge. Operation Warrior Wellness co-founder Jerry Yellin spoke at a conference in June of last year attended by leaders involved in various veterans organizations. TM classes have been hosted at Camp Dodge for over a year, with results proving positive for veterans and their families. Lieutenant Colonel Todd Jacobus, chairman of the Iowa Commission of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans’ Mental Health Task Force for the State of Iowa attended the June conference held at the Gold Star Museum in Camp Dodge.
“TM has a really bad reputation,” LTC Jacobus said. “My picture of it was people flopping around on their knees trying to levitate. Then I heard Jerry Yellin, co-chairman of Operation Warrior Wellness, a World War II fighter pilot say, ‘Because of TM I was able to get my life back.’ I thought if it worked for him there might be something to it.”
“I had a student that suffered with PTSD since returning from Vietnam,” Anne Shook said. “After the first four days of doing TM he reported that he was sleeping better. Within a few weeks he was able to decrease his medication. His doctor said for him to slow down, make sure it was working, but it was and he’s off his medication for PTSD completely.”
“Right now we’re facing the problem of a lot of veterans returning from combat,” LTC Jacobus said. “Their quality of life is not where it was. So how do you get them to where they were. Of course the biggest issue is cost. Where is the money going to come from?- they ask. It costs $1,500 to learn TM. But if you weigh that cost, the cost of a lifetime of meditation against a lifetime of medications to control their PTSD, I think we know which one would be cheaper in the long run.”
LTC Jacobus spent four days with his wife in Fairfield, Iowa, learning meditation and has since become an advocate of its benefits for his fellow veterans. “Right now,” LTC Jacobus said, “TM is just an option. In my opinion if you are going to build a toolbox of tools for veterans to use in coping with PTSD, it should be a tool for soldiers to use.”
LTC Jacobus acknowledges that TM is not for everyone but believes the benefits can’t be ignored. “For someone to be willing to do it, it takes courage.” But veterans have proven they are made of courage.
For more info;
Transcendental Meditation Presentation “TM Talks”, 25 Feb 2013 12:00-1:00 pm, Building B59 (Camp Dodge Fire Station), 7105 NW 70th Ave., Johnston, IA 50131 (Polk Co.), Anne Flodihn Shook, Certified Teacher & Director for Des Moines Area, firstname.lastname@example.org, cell: (641) 919-1330.
For more information on Operation Warrior Wellness; http://www.operationwarriorwellness.org
For more information on the David Lynch Foundation; http://www.davidlynchfoundation.org