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Africa: Experts recommend Transcendental Meditation to solve pressing problems, create lasting peace
by Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Kulwant Singh, Dr. David Leffler and David Shapiro
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19 May 2014
Particularly in Africa, there is a pressing need for simple, cost-effective and easily sustainable treatments for post-traumatic stress (PTS), write Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Kulwant Singh, Dr David Leffler, and David Shapiro in a recent article that has been published by news media in many countries this month. While alerting the worldwide community to this timely need, the authors also identify a solution—suggesting that all Africans, and in particular African militaries, implement the Transcendental Meditation programme, based on the large body of evidence supporting the positive benefits of this alternative approach.
Conclusion of the two-part series.
Please see Part I: General recommends proven approach for relief from stress of war and violence: Media in many countries report
Military personnel in USA, Latin America, Asia, and Africa practice group Transcendental Meditation to increase their performance and resilience, helping them better protect their nations
In recent years, military-related leaders in the USA, Latin America, Asia, and Africa, have applied TM not only because it reduces PTS, but because peer-reviewed scientific papers have confirmed that regular practice produces many other wide-ranging, measurable benefits. These include increased intelligence, creativity; reduced stress and improved health; and more fulfilling and harmonious interpersonal relationships. Most importantly to warriors, TM increases resilience, mental clarity and physical strength as well enhancing mind-body coordination (See Defence and Security Alert, Vol. 4, Issue No. 8, pages 34-39). Also, from a practical standpoint, the TM program is easy to do and has no religious philosophy attached. For nearly sixty years it has been taught to millions of people (including schoolchildren and their teachers) around the world from every race, cultural background, religion, ethnicity and educational background.
Numerous studies show that TM uniquely calms the stress of tense, burnt-out, anxious, and depressed people. In particular, a 2013 meta-analysis of 10 controlled studies found that TM significantly reduced anxiety, and the higher the anxiety level, the greater the reduction.
Over 350 research studies on TM have been published in 160 peer-reviewed academic and medical journals. The peer-reviewed process ensured that this evidence-based research met the highest standards. No other stress-reduction program has comparable research support. The American Heart Association, in a Summary Paper, said 'the Transcendental Meditation technique is the only meditation practice that has been shown to lower blood pressure.'
Retired U.S. Army Reserve Colonel Brian Rees, M.D., M.P.H., primary author of the previously mentioned Congo studies and veteran of five tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, says that Transcendental Meditation ''provides the mind and body with a unique state of 'restful alertness' that reduces deeply-rooted stress and improves brain function.''
In 2011, the David Lynch Foundation and African PTSD Relief co-sponsored an initiative to make the Transcendental Meditation program initially available to 10,000 Africans suffering from PTS. We support this initiative. Any organization, whether a school, business, or a military, would be pleased to know that its members are operating free of PTS. They would also want to be more effective and efficient, whether during war or peace. We recommend that TM be put on military training programs because it brings out the best in any individual, and any military would be pleased that its warriors are working at their optimal levels.
The TM evidence-based research tells an objective story pointing to a simple, fast, and cost-effective solution for not only conquering PTS, but to help alleviate many of Africa's other pressing problems. Achieving lasting happiness and peace--both inner and outer, that's what we all want for all African people, sooner, if possible, than later.
The authors urge African leaders to adopt this evidence-based program.
*Note: A table listing the American Psychological Association's twenty DSM-5 symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) along with the scientific research conducted on the Transcendental Meditation program published in peer-reviewed scientific journals addressing each of these symptoms/criteria is available online at: http://www.davidleffler.com/tm-reduces-twenty-symptoms-of-ptsd
About the authors:
Major General (Ret.) Kulwant Singh, U.Y.S.M., Ph.D., leads an international group of generals and defense experts that advocates Invincible Defense Technology. He was awarded the Uttam Yudh Sewa Medal, the second highest decoration for senior officers during operations in Sri Lanka as part of IPKF (Indian Peace Keeping Force).
David Leffler, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Center for Advanced Military Science (CAMS). http://www.StrongMilitary.org/. He served as an Associate of the Proteus Management Group at the Center for Strategic Leadership, US Army War College. Dr. Leffler is the author of ''A New Role for the Military: Preventing Enemies from Arising - Reviving an Ancient Approach to Peace.'' He is on Twitter.
David Shapiro, M.A., is Founding President of African PTSD Relief (Twitter: AfricaPTSRelief, YouTube video), an Iowa, US non-profit, charitable corporation dedicated to reducing PTS across Africa by teaching the Transcendental Meditation program to individuals or groups with PTS or at risk of getting PTS. He is a co-author of the two research studies on TM and PTSD in Uganda. For information on African PTSD Relief or to implement a program, please contact David Shapiro at email@example.com.
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