David George, a local Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, said his life was spiraling out of control before he learned Transcendental Meditation.
Operation Warrior Wellness, a division of the David Lynch Foundation that is pushing for widespread use of Transcendental Meditation (TM) in the military, held a forum on Saturday at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Service Center.
The idea is that the 15- to 20-minute meditation sessions lead to reduced stress and relief from post-traumatic stress. With an estimated 95 percent of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans affected by PTSD, the technique — used to help those with ADHD, the homeless, and other at-risk populations — has taken on new importance in the context of combat veterans.
George spoke about how a car bombing that left 61 injured and debris in his back triggered his bout with post-traumatic stress disorder a full two years after leaving the military.
“Something just like, stopped working,” George said. “And whatever, I just dealt with it like everyone else did and functioned as a solider until I got out.”
Two years later, George said he resorted to alcohol and drugs to get through severe bouts with PTSD. His mother feared he would attempt suicide.
He learned TM figuring there was nothing to lose.
“It’s like the car bomb broke me and every time I transcended, it was like the same switch, a switch-back, like this kind of fixed me, even though it was temporary,” George said.
The use of TM by veterans is not new.
Ron Khare, a Vietnam War vet, spoke about it helped reverse the course of his life after he returned home.
“What I realized after Vietnam was there was no future. There were no goals. What most veterans realize is that Memorial Day is not one day a year, it’s every day,” Khare said.
Operation Warrior Wellness is pushing research on the soothing effects of TM for combat veterans in an effort to see the military practice it before soldiers are sent to war.
On Saturday, much of the focus was on discounting myths about meditation.
For more on Operation Warrior Wellness, visit the website.