by William T. Hathaway
We live in traumatic times. The shock waves from wars, terror attacks, and spree shootings reverberate through our society and impact us all. For the direct victims and their family and friends this can be life shattering. Many of them suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a debilitating condition that can last for decades unless properly treated.
Soldiers are highly affected. Over half a million US troops deployed since 2001 suffer from PTSD. It cripples their functioning and places them at great risk for violent and self-destructive behavior including alcoholism or drug abuse, depression, anxiety, emotional numbness, family abuse, employment problems, and suicide. More US soldiers and veterans from the Iraq War have died from suicide than from combat. 6,500 soldiers and vets take their own lives every year.
Fortunately, treatments are now available, and some of them can also protect us from the condition before trauma strikes. They can build up an inner immune system that keeps the stress from devastating us.
One approach that has been shown to be highly effective is Transcendental Meditation (TM). Research on its trauma-healing effects began in the 1980s with Vietnam War veterans who had been suffering from PTSD for over a decade. After three months of TM 70% of them were free of clinical symptoms (Journal of Counseling and Development, 1985). In 2011 the journal Military Medicine reported a 40-55% reduction in PTSD in current war veterans, including reduced depression, flashbacks, and painful memories. Ten studies published in professional journals have shown TM rapidly heals PTSD.
Most of the government-sponsored research has been on soldiers and veterans, but massive numbers of civilians, particularly women, also suffer from PTSD. With this group TM has also been proven effective. A study on female prisoners and two studies on Congolese war refugees with high levels of symptoms showed that within four months the majority became non-symptomatic. Ninety percent of Congolese war refugees with PTSD became non-symptomatic within 30 days of learning and practicing TM (Journal of Traumatic Stress, April, 2013; February, 2014). The stories of their trauma and recovery are posted at www.ptsdreliefnow.org.
Research also indicates TM can protect us against PTSD before the trauma strikes. It does this by increasing our resilience, the ability to think clearly and act effectively in the midst of stress without being overwhelmed by it and afterwards to quickly recover from the ordeal. It’s a quality we all need now, an inner shield against trauma that defends us in advance from the damage.
A Stanford University study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology reported TM is twice as effective as other meditation or relaxation techniques for decreasing anxiety. Greater resistance to stress was confirmed in studies in Psychosomatic Medicine, Journal of Counseling and Development, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, and International Journal of Neuroscience. For more information and citations on the research: https://www.davidlynchfoundation.org/veterans.html and http://www.ptsdreliefnow.org/the-research.html.
About the author:
William T. Hathaway’s personal story of recovery from trauma as a Special Forces veteran is published at http://www.dmd27.org/hathaway2010.html.
According to Leonard Perlmutter, philosopher, author and founder of The American Meditation Institute (AMI), ”Any democracy without its citizens and politicians armed with the meditation tools of detachment, discrimination and self-discipline, will inevitably lead to discord, dissension and destruction.” Perlmutter claims that, “In the midst of the media’s daily drumbeat of political conflict, anger, fear and allegation, the nation’s educational systems need to urgently incorporate AMI?Meditation and its allied disciplines into every level of curriculum––from grade school to graduate school.”
Speaking at a recent conference of Yoga scientists at The American Meditation Institute, Perlmutter explained, “The bitterness between liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans in Washington is not the real cause of the problems Americans face today. The political malice is only a reflection of the violent emotional conflicts already raging in individual minds of the citizenry and their politicians. In order to change political character, conduct and consciousness, tactics are needed that work systematically–– from the inside out. AMI?Meditation is an engineering science. Meditation can transform the blinding power of angry, fearful and self-indulgent thoughts and emotions into potent, positive and creative energy that can heal the nation’s social, racial, political and economic angst.”
According to Perlmutter, the solution lies in recognizing that, “A daily meditation practice can provide the blueprint, resources and inspiration to explore beyond the boundaries of habitual thinking, feeling and unexamined reasoning. All the answers to the questions, ‘What is to be done and what is not to be done,’ are waiting for all Americans in the profound silence experienced in meditation. Unless people can consciously know and examine the silent space between thoughts, there will never be sufficient clarity of vision to resolve the nation’s most pressing problems.”
Then he concluded, “Meditation for every woman, man and child––regardless of their religious beliefs––is not simply a good idea, it’s a dire necessity. To begin meaningful change, the nation’s local and state boards of education as well as the boards of directors at every American college and university must begin to incorporate mandatory classes in meditation. When this occurs, all levels of educational institutions will not simply train people how to make a living, but how to live lives that reflect the wisdom, creativity, fairness, compassion and inclusive sense of community that can redefine what it means to be a human being in 21st century America.”
Leonard Perlmutter is the author of the award-winning book, “The Heart and Science of Yoga” and the mind/body medicine journal, “Transformation.” Leonard has presented courses at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Albany Medical College, the United States Military Academy at West Point and The New York Times Yoga Forum with Dean Ornish MD. From October 24-28, 2017, Leonard Perlmutter will head a faculty of eleven scholars at The American Meditation Institute’s 9th annual mind/body medicine CME conference at the Cranwell Resort and Spa in Lenox, Massachusetts. Entitled The Heart and Science of Yoga this comprehensive mind/body medicine training to prevent and relieve physician burnout is accredited through the Albany Medical College Office of Continuing Medical Education.
Extract from Not I, Not Other than I
By Russel Williams edited by Steve Taylor
The recognition of peace within is the doorway that opens up for metta – the warm, homely feeling of belonging. It goes out as an emanation. If you try to hold it, you lose it. It’s because there is nobody there to hold it that it can expand. Through these practices we become the channel through which metta can enter from the spirit world into the physical world and through our bodies. It is the only time we can truly know it, in its passage through. That is why we cannot make it our own.
In that expanded area, I experience it as if it were a very gentle golden light that pervades the whole area.
All energies have a degree of light about them. This golden light is of course a manifestation of the metta aspect, the true love which is union, not separation. The purpose of repeatedly visiting there is to become more familiar with allowing an expansion of consciousness, openly and in every aspect of your life. Consciousness is the be-all and the end-all, so we should allow it to dissolve us into its very essence. Giving up self, dissolving into that greatness.
I do not believe in long meditation practices. Once you make contact and get the process going, a quarter of an hour or even 10 minutes is quite adequate. Do it seven times a day, until you have a continuum going all the time, rather than once a day. If there’s a gap you lose the momentum, but if you keep it up, every couple of hours or so, there is a continuum. Switch it on, switch it off – learn to do that and you’ll find you have a continual flow all the way through, which can even penetrate through to sleep as well. You could compare it to how a horse eats. Did you know a horse’s stomach is only as big as a human being’s? That’s why it has to continually eat, all day long. It doesn’t chew the cud, it goes straight through. In the same way, meditatively, here, there, there, there, throughout, we should maintain that quality.
This is one of the problems with early morning meditation in particular. The mind sometimes rejects it, because you’re forcing it. In this way, the mind does it willingly all the time. It doesn’t ever reject it, because it knows it will find peace in it.
I have had the experience a few times where I have felt my consciousness touch somebody else, experience somebody else. And they respond to it, without knowing.
Yes, it can happen. You can’t make it happen, unless you just look and quietly absorb it. And you shouldn’t do it for your own ends either; you should just allow it to happen, so that it’s not you doing it anymore, it is happening through you. It’s a spontaneous response, consciously, but not necessarily from your condition. Don’t interfere with it, or try to take advantage of it. It is for the benefit of the whole, not yourself. In fact, meetings like this go far better when that happens!
One of the things about the world that has always amazed me is that people believe that peace means to stop fighting. But it doesn’t. Peace is freedom, not a cessation of hostilities. You need more than simply an absence of aggression. You need friendship, which means giving not taking. Receiving perhaps, but not taking. You need love, which comes from down here, not from the head. If everyone and everything could come down to this place of love, the world would be a totally different place. In fact, the world would not even exist anymore.
About the author:
Russel Williams is one of the most remarkable enlightened spiritual teachers of our time. After an early life of extreme hardship – leaving school at the age of 11, and becoming an orphan shortly afterwards – he underwent a spiritual awakening at the age of 29. Since the late 1950s, he has been a spiritual teacher, and is still actively teaching now, at the age of 94. Previously, Russel has avoided publicity and never published any writings or transcripts of his talks, preferring to work quietly with small groups. This is the first time any details of his teachings or of his life have appeared in print. This book is partly a record of his teachings, and partly also the story of his extraordinary life. Working with well-known spiritual author Steve Taylor – who has attended Russel’s meetings regularly since the 1990s – Russel has created a profound text which will surely become known as a classic of spiritual literature.
Not I, Not other than I is published by O Books, ISBN: 978-1-78279-729-6 (Paperback) £9.99 $15.95.
To promote health and wellbeing in an increasingly stressful world, The American Meditation Institute (AMI) in Averill Park, New York will host its first annual Health & Happiness Conference on Saturday, April 29, 2017 from 10am – 4:00pm at the Hindu Cultural Center in Albany, New York. Led by internationally acclaimed mind/body medicine pioneer Bernie Siegel, MD and AMI founder Leonard Perlmutter, the conference will bring together a faculty of distinguished physicians and meditation researchers to present practical tools to enhance health, creativity, well-being, happiness and success.
“Coping with daily life—family, work, managing emotions—is incredibly challenging in today’s fast-paced, complex, stressful world,” said Leonard Perlmutter. “AMI’s Health & Happiness Conference will give participants from all walks of life practical ideas on how to transform stress and put proven techniques immediately into action to enhance their lives.”
Participants have the opportunity to choose how they will spend the day. Beginner sessions will include Meditation 101, Breath as Medicine, Relieving Stress, and Food as Medicine. Advanced sessions will cover DNA is Not Destiny, Functions of the Mind, and Meditation & The Brain.
“The Health & Happiness Conference will offer something for everyone, no matter your experience level,” said Leonard Perlmutter. “By allow participants to customize their day, they will maximize their experience and emerge from the training inspired and ready to create a happier, healthier, more meaningful life.”
To nourish body and soul, participants will enjoy easy-gentle yoga and a delicious gourmet vegetarian lunch. In the afternoon, renowned keynote speaker Bernie Siegel will share his thoughts on The Healing Power of Love and Leonard Perlmutter will delve deep into the topic of “Using the Mind to Heal the Body.” A lively panel discussion will cap off the day’s events.
Feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and renewed, participants will emerge from the training ready to apply what they learned with these practical tools for healthy living:
- An understanding of how Yoga Science as mind/body medicine can help heal disease, manage addictive habits, and alleviate inflammation, stress and burnout symptoms
- The power to reduce negative thinking and other symptoms of stress and burnout through AMI meditation and mantra science
- Access to contentment, discrimination, will power, creativity and energy through a daily practice of AMI Meditation and diaphragmatic breathing
- How to incorporate long-term strategies for healthy lifestyle choices using Yoga Psychology
- An understanding of the principles of Ayurveda and Epigenomics (DNA is not destiny!)
- The ability to identity and employ yogic practices to enhance the immune system
- The ability to recognize the physiological benefits of Easy-Gentle Yoga (exercises for lymph system detox, joints, glands, muscles and internal organs)
- The ability to use Food as Medicine (Diet and Nutrition) to maximize personal well being
- An understanding of how AMI Meditation and the practice of meditation-in-action can change the neural pathways in the brain
About the Speakers
Leonard Perlmutter, AMI?Founder “The Mind Can Heal the Body” and “Who am I?”
Leonard is a noted philosopher and author of The Heart and Science of Yoga®. He is a direct disciple of Swami Rama––who, in laboratory conditions, demonstrated that blood pressure, heart rate and the autonomic nervous system can be voluntarily controlled. Leonard has presented courses at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the U. S. Military Academy and The New York Times Yoga Forum with Dean Ornish MD.
Bernie Siegel, MD “The Healing Power of Love”
Bernie is an acclaimed mind/body medicine pioneer who has worked throughout his illustrious career to help patients heal. As an intuitive Yoga scientist and surgeon, Bernie embraces a philosophy of living and dying that stands as a beacon of clarity for today’s medical ethics and spiritual issues.
Beth Netter, MD, MT “Breath as Medicine” and Panel Discussion
Beth is a holistic physician and acupuncturist in Albany, NY. A graduate of the University at Buffalo’s School of Biomedical Sciences, she completed her residency in anesthesiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Beth serves as Chair of AMI’s Department of Medical Education.
Mark Pettus, MD “Epigenomics/Inflammation/Allostatic Load” and Panel Discussion
Mark is a board-certified internist and nephrologist currently serving as Director of Medical Education and Population Health at Berkshire Health Systems, and Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at UMass Medical School. Mark is the author of The Savvy Patient and It’s All in Your Head.
Susan Lord, MD “Food as Medicine” and Panel Discussion
Susan graduated from Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and is in private practice in Great Barrington, MA focusing on prevention and treatment through mindful living and lifestyle changes. She served as Director for the Food as Medicine program at the Center for Mind/Body Medicine 1996-2007.
Anthony Santilli, MD “Relieving Physician Burnout” and Panel Discussion
Tony received his medical degree from the University at Buffalo, having completed his fellowship at Weill Cornell University and his post graduate training at Brown University. He is board-certified in Pulmonary and Critical Care medicine and practices in Schenectady and Amsterdam NY.
Prashant Kaushik, MD Panel Discussion
Prashant received a Bachelors of Medicine & Surgery degree from the All India Institute of Medical Services. A?board-certified Rheumatologist, Prashant serves as Lead Rheumatologist at the Albany VA Medical Center, Associate Professor, Dept. of Internal Medicine, Albany Medical College.
Sara Lazar, PhD “Neuroplasticity: The Effect of Meditation” and Panel Discussion
Sara is an instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and an Associate Researcher in the Psychiatry Department at Mass. General Hospital. A leading neuroscientist in the field, her team was the first to show how meditation and yoga influence brain structure and human behavior.
Mary Helen Holloway, AMI-MT “Meditation 101” and Panel Discussion
Mary is a graduate of Meditational Therapist Certification Program. Drawing upon an intuitive understanding of mind/body medicine, she currently teaches all levels of meditation courses, actively lectures to civic, medical and religious organizations, serves as Director of AMI’s Yoga of Medicine Program.
Jenness Cortez Perlmutter Panel Discussion
Jenness has studied Yoga Science and practiced meditation since 1977. She is the co-founder and faculty member of AMI and a direct disciple of Swami Rama of the Himalayas. She graduated from the Herron School of Art, and is a world-renowned artist.