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 amydala -- 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 it 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."