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Fifth annual Change Begins Within gala honours New York City veterans and first responders
by Global Good News writer

Global Good News    Translate This Article
11 February 2014

Speaking at the 5th annual Change Begins Within gala, Dr John Hagelin, President of the David Lynch Foundation, explained to attendees that the Warrior Wellness programme was established to bring Transcendental Meditation to at-risk populations including veterans and first responders. Currently the Foundation is working with the United States Veterans Administration (VA) medical centres, VA service organizations, military colleges, military bases in 10 states, and with the US Department of Defense to bring help to veterans.

A newly released video presents highlights of the gala, held last December in New York City. See related article: Netherlands: David Lynch Foundation video of Change Begins Within gala screened.

Jake Clark of the Warrior Meditation Project said that they have found a solution. In the last year 82 'warriors' came to their door for help, all at the end of their rope and thinking of suicide. 'If we don't have Transcendental Meditation,' he said, 'there is no way for [veterans] to access their own internal adaptive mechanism on a daily basis. Now we know through research that it is real, it is effective, it's simple, and it works . . . every time.'

One woman veteran who learned Transcendental Meditation shared her feelings about how the practice has helped her: 'To know that something as small of a concept as 20 minutes twice a day, can make me feel like I feel now, that's a gift you can't buy.'

John Rigg, MD, gave a clear perspective on what happens to the brain from exposure to war. 'When you put someone in a situation like a war,' he explained, 'the brain becomes hyper-aroused whether you want it to or not. It is the primitive reptilian brain that is driving our instinctual responses. That part of the brain doesn't understand geography.'

He went on to explain that the cortex, the part of the human brain governing intelligence, understands geography and is able to process the thought that a soldier is back home. Even so, the primitive aspect of the brain remains aroused. That is the true reality of war. These soldiers need help now, he said.

Dr Rigg said they have been teaching Transcendental Meditation to soldiers for about 18 months, with amazing results. He has seen soldiers right after they return from Afghanistan and other deployments. The best result, he said, is if they can learn Transcendental Meditation before the symptoms become really engrained in their personality.

Another veteran, Jerry Yellin, a decorated WWII fighter pilot, told his story. 'I served on Iowa Jima. I flew 19 missions over Japan. I flew with 16 young guys who didn't get home. The war was easy; coming home was hard. If we had two months of the money spent for drugs . . . we could teach Transcendental Meditation to 2,000,000 veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and they could get their life back through Transcendental Meditation, as I did in 1975 when I learned.'

'It is so easy to see the physical wound of the veteran or first responder, and how we help them heal,' said NYC Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano. 'It's so difficult to see their psychological wounds. I can tell you the effects of Transcendental Meditation have been tremendous.' He expressed his deep personal appreciation for the programme, and to those who attended the benefit gala—inviting them to spread the word about the good work the David Lynch Foundation does.

Copyright © 2014 Global Good News Service

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