How To Stop Violence in Iraq

130314222818-71-iraq-war-horizontal-galleryThe sectarian violence in Iraq is difficult for Westerners to understand. It is a deep-seated ideological and religious difference that keeps these two groups of people at odds with one another. Although it is difficult to understand there is a method that has been tried and tested before that has eased the tension of these groups and should be implemented again. Obama recently pledged, in reference to the sectarian violence in Iraq, “I don’t rule out anything…my national security team is looking at all the options.” One option to consider that has been tried before is Invincible Defense Technology (IDT). This technology has been proven effective and is a way to efficiently end the fighting in Iraq. The problem is, the president must get the Iraqi army on board with IDT. The approach reduces stress and violence in a way that has been proven by over 20 studies and tested by foreign militaries. After 25 years of research conducted in countries in places like the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, all signs seem to point to the effectiveness of this approach. IDT works by calming the insurgent groups source of power, i.e. stress, civil unrest, frustration, etc. In this way, IDT get rid of the “fire” that causes people to behave in ways that make them want to take up arms and fight. They are preemptively affected so that they do not have the rage to fight in the first place. The reason these uprising happen is due to decades of injustice like poverty, hunger, or other civil unrest or unhappiness with no mobility or hope. IDT reduces stress so that people can think about their problems more thoughtfully and rationally and less emotionally. To administer this kind of intervention they would use a special part of the military known as the Prevention Wing of the Military to use IDT to reduce the stress of an entire population so that they can find other ways to deal with their problems. This is particularly important to deal with issues that may eventually become violent, as in the case of Syria and Iraq. Since IDT has been proven to work, it may be time to start planning for implementation.

The Spiritual Brain

leadNeurotheology is the study of the brain and how it interacts with religion. It is a field that tries to use science to explain religion and why so many flock to it. Dr. Andrew Newberg recently released a book on the subject, titled, The Metaphysical Mind: Probing the Biology of Philosophical Thought. In it he says that “everyone philosophizes” because we all speculate about what is going on in our lives, like a conflict with a coworker or even the purpose of living and being on this planet. It can be exciting to philosophize and come up with ideas about being or even having mystical experiences. Newberg explains in his book that our everyday concerns and our big spiritual questions are essentially the same neurological process. He also found that thinking about these big questions of a spiritual nature can increase both our mental and physical health.

Newberg is really one of the first people to every delve into looking at religion, faith, and spirituality, scientifically. He is a pioneer of neurotheology. He started his research in 1990 by scanning peoples brains while they meditate. He chose this spiritual practice for the ease of monitoring it. He expanded his research to scanning the brains of Buddhists, nuns, atheists, Pentecostals speaking in tongues, and Brazilians practicing psychography (interpreting messages from the dead through handwriting.) The action in the brain really depended on what kind of practice was happening. If there was prayer or meditation involved the frontal lobes (the area of attention, modulating behavior, and expressing language) were activated. For practice that included surrendering will in a sense, like speaking in tongues, the frontal lobe activity decreases and activity is higher in the thalamus, which is responsible for controlling the incoming sensory information for many parts of our brains. This indicates that when speaking in tongues, the speech does not come from the same place as normal speech patters. This information has served as proof for believers and non-believers look for neurological explanation. Newberg is careful to consider both sides and writes of the field that “an ardent atheist, who refuses to accept any aspect of religion as possibly correct or useful, or a devout religious person, who refuse to accept science as providing any value regarding knowledge of the world, would most likely not be considered a neurotheologian.”

The Positive Affects of Energy Medicine

05122014_ReasonsEnergyMedicine-300x200There are many alternative medicines, or non-western medicines available. If you feel that you want to heal yourself without the aid of a hospital stay or pills and surgery there are other options available. Energy healers or spiritual teachers have been helping many with issues of mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual pain and suffering. Seeking help from an energy healer can leave you feeling healthier than you were before and restored to a more normal state of being. The best part about this type of healing practice is that you can eventually learn to heal yourself.

Energy medicine used to be a taboo practice but it has been increasingly becoming mainstream. Seeking help from an energy healer is how many practice the medicine. The idea behind the practice is that there is energy that exists all around each and every one of us on multiple fields. Each person has their own energy field that responds to what is going on in our bodies and so if you change your energy field is can have a change with what happens in your body. The energy field around you is tested through chakras, or the focal points of energy in your body that are connected to the field of energy. A healer looks for distortions or irregularities in your chakras and can increase your energy flow and get rid of negative energy to heal you. Clearing your chakras can be done through meditation, journaling, and finding ways to stay grounded in nature. Energy medicine can heal your entire being and it also can be used as preventative medicine to prevent certain physical symptoms from developing. There are also zero negative side effects from pursuing this kind of energy healing treatment. Often times the practice of energy medicine will interact with your spiritual and emotional self and there may be a release of tears or anger or frustration, but every result of the practice of energy medicine is positive. It heals from within and can encourage joy, relief, a light spirit, a sense of freedom, and physical and emotional rebirth.

TM for War Victims in Africa

Transcendental-Meditation-BenefitIn the United States, we understand what it is like to have veteran return home from the Iraq and Afghanistan with post-war trauma like PTSD. The continent of Africa has also been plagued with wars as over the past 20 years, 18 African countries have been engaged in war. This means that war trauma has affected not only soldiers, but citizens and it is estimated that as many as 100 million Africans have been victims of war and the violence and sexual abuse it brings and therefore suffer from post-traumatic stress. Therefore, PTSD is an epidemic on the continent and has caused many Africans from living the most productive and healthy lives they can. If PTSD is not treated it can lead to violent or self-destructive behavior, depression, alcoholism, anxiety, unemployment, and suicide. In the United States these symptoms are often deal with using physician prescribed drugs and therapy. These options are not available to many Africans because of the shortage of psychologists and psychiatrists in the area.

An option for those in African countries affected by PTSD may be transcendental meditation. The technique has been through many peer-reviewed studies and they all show great benefits to those suffering from post-war trauma. TM is an evidenced-based solution and has frequently outperformed other healing techniques by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, among other PTSD symptoms. TM has already been used effectively in the Congo, demonstrating that it is effective in the African region. A retired U.S. Army Colonel, Brian Rees, M.D., M.P.H. was the primary author for the Congo study and notes that TM, “provides the mind and body with a unique state of ‘restful alertness’ that reduces deeply-rooted stress and improves brain function.” Without access to psychologists and psychiatrists, Transcendental Meditation is a proved effective way to help treat those ravaged by war throughout Africa and around the world.

Transcendental Meditation Health Benefits

Transcendental Meditation is on the rise. Some high powered executives use it to focus at work and practicing the meditation for just twenty minutes a day, twice daily has helped people lose weight, thrive at work, and lessen their risk of heart disease. There are many positive health benefits to practicing transcendental meditation and more and more are discovered. Big names are talking about the benefits of practice like Oprah, Heather Graham, Russell Brand, Dr. Oz, and the American Heart Association.

To practice transcendental meditation you sit quietly twice a day for twenty minutes while silently repeating a mantra. There have been over 350 studies to confirm that this will have a positive impact on your life.

One proven positive benefit is that this type of meditation can amp up your workout. You will find you have more energy, increased focus, and a better night’s sleep each night. It also will give you a higher threshold for discomfort and pain, which may allow you to push through at the end of a hard workout.

Transcendental-meditation-for-heart-healthThis type of meditation can lower your blood pressure and decrease your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. It will also lower your risk of heart disease, according to a study published in the journal, Circulation.

Transcendental Meditation can also help you to lose weight by decreasing stress. The less stress you have in your life the less cortisol your body will produce, resulting in less stress eating. The meditation also helps to suppress food cravings because you will be in a more balanced mental and physical state. You will know how to listen to your body more acutely and can recognize the difference between hunger and anxiousness.

A study concluded that TM can help improve relationship because after meditation you have a higher appreciation of others. A certified TM teacher in New York City, Rachel Katz says that, “by strengthening synaptic connections in the brain, TM helps us to gain patience, be a better listener, and see more value in others and our relationships.”

These are just a few of the many positive benefits of transcendental meditation. If you want to give it a go, visit to find a certified teacher to get you started. After you are trained you can practice on your own and use this technique to help you in your daily life.

Transcendental Meditation Helps with PTSD

Untitled-3Transcendental Meditation has great benefits for people in high powered, high stress positions, but it has also been found to help those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). After Michael Ortiz retired from a long career as a State Trooper and an undercover DEA agent he wasn’t the same. He was experiencing paranoia, extreme flashbacks, was hypersensitive to stress, and had trouble sleeping. He was a classic case of PTSD. His highly stressful job left him in a sorry state after he retired. Ortiz case is not unique. Over 836,000 male and female police officers in the United States are negatively affected by the traumatic experiences of their work environments.

However, there may be a solution to help police officers in this country deal with their stress and their disorder. Transcendental Meditation TM programs are beginning to be implemented specifically for police officers to help them overcome their stress-related health problems. TM can help relieve the symptoms of PTSD, Ortiz and his wife Deborah attest to the effectiveness of the meditation program. Over six million people of all ages, religion, and nationalities have learned Transcendental Meditation techniques over the past 50 years and many have reported experiencing less stress and increased clarity of mind. It allows those affected by stress and some more extreme PTSD to have a break in their symptoms and to come to a permanent solution.

Meditation on Wall Street

140307075614-business-meditation-620xaWorking on Wall Street involves a lot of stress. A job in the financial world involves long hours and high stakes deals. To help improve the health of employees many firms are using Transcendental Meditation techniques. This type of meditation takes you to a quiet place in your mind using by speaking a silent mantra. It is helpful for Wall Street workers because it can help you think in a clear and focused way, while reducing anxiety.

The David Lynch Foundation has had many calls for their $1,000 intensive course on Transcendental Meditation techniques. Many Wall Street Firms offer the course to their employees so that they will be better equipped to handle stress. This movement has taken off and gained a lot of momentum over the past few years. The executive director of the David Lynch Foundation and a Transcendental Meditation teacher, Bob Roth, said, “Two years ago, there were only one or two firms interested in the corporate program, now there are 30 or 40 companies and more expressing interest all the time.”

Firms that manage hedge funds and capital firms have shown the most interest. Some firms like Third Point’s Dan Loeb have even come out publicly with the fact that they are utilizing the program to help their employees with meditation practices. Transcendental Meditation techniques help employees with situations around them. It helps keep those on Wall Street more level headed when the market has bumps, instead of reacting rashly or operating with a crowd mentality.

Transcendental Meditation Significantly Reduces PTSD Symptoms in African Refugees in Only 10 Days

This is lead author Col. Brian Rees, MD, MPH, US Army Reserve Medical Corps

This is lead author Col. Brian Rees, MD, MPH, US Army Reserve Medical Corps

Civilians in many African countries have seen some terrible things throughout their lives; some have experienced the threat of violence or death, and many have witnessed the abuse, torture, rape, and murder of loved ones. As a result, for example, many Congolese that have left their homeland and now reside in refugee camps in Uganda are experiencing the terrible effects and symptoms of sever post traumatic stress disorder (more commonly known as PTSD).

New research shows that Congolese war refugees who have learned the Transcendental Meditation technique had showed a significant reduction in post traumatic stress disorder in just 10 days, according to a study released in February’s issue of Journal of Traumatic Stress (Volume 27, Issue 1, 112-115).

According to the study, “Significant Reductions in Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in Congolese Refugees within 10 days Transcendental Meditation Practice,” eleven subjects were assessed after 10-days and again after 30-days of TM practice. After merely 10-days, PTSD symptoms dropped by roughly 30 points.

“An earlier study found a similar result after 30 days where 90% of TM subjects dropped to a non-symptomatic level. But we were surprised to see such a significant reduction with this group after just 10 days,” said study author Brian Rees, MD, MPH. The study participants were tested using the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for Civilians (PCL-C), which rates the severity of PTSD on a scale of 17 to 85. A score below 35 means that the symptoms of PTSD have been abated.

Eleven Congolese refugees who had been tested three times over a 90-day period on the PCL-C, which rates the level of PTSD on a scale from 17 to 85, began with an average score of 77.9. They learned Transcendental Meditation within 8 days of the third test and after 10 days their average score dropped to 48, which was highly clinically significant. They were retested 30 days later measuring an average score of 35.3. With scores below 35 considered non-symptomatic, they were practically symptom free.

Eleven Congolese refugees who had been tested three times over a 90-day period on the PCL-C, which rates the level of PTSD on a scale from 17 to 85, began with an average score of 77.9. They learned Transcendental Meditation within 8 days of the third test and after 10 days their average score dropped to 48, which was highly clinically significant. They were retested 30 days later measuring an average score of 35.3. With scores below 35 considered non-symptomatic, they were practically symptom free.

Initially, the subjects at the beginning of the study had an average PTSD score of 77.9. After merely 10 days of practicing TM techniques, their PTSD score dramatically dropped to an average score of 48, considered statistically and clinically significant. Thirty days later the subjects were again tested and were found to have an average PTSD score drop further to an average 35.3 – meaning that they were nearly symptom-free.

“What makes this study interesting is when we tested them in the 90 days before they began the TM technique, their PTSD scores kept going up,” said coauthor Fred Travis, director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management. “During that period their scores were rising, from 68.5 at the beginning to 77.9 after 90 days. But once they started the Transcendental Meditation technique, their PTSD scores plummeted.”

Generally, during TM technique practice, one experiences a deep state of restfulness and alertness. Repeating this experience for 20 minutes twice a day cultures the nervous system to maintain settled mental and physical functioning for the rest of the day. This helps to minimize disturbing thoughts and memories, sleep difficulties, and other adverse PTSD symptoms.

Esperance Ndozi was one of the Congolese refugees traumatized by the civil war. The 35-year old mother of 5 was part of the group of refugees that learned TM. Before learning the effortless technique, Esperance couldn’t find relief from a flood of dark disturbing memories. She could hardly sleep. After a week of meditating 20-minutes twice a day she describes increasing relaxation and relief from PTSD symptoms. “Your mind, your body relaxes. You feel you are out of the outside world. You are just in your peaceful world. No negativity. It doesn’t come near me now.” Like other refugees in the study the calm and peace grew to last throughout the day. Watch the video below:

Ringo Starr ‘Tribute Concert’

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m a huge Beatles fan. I grew up during Beatle-mania, and have always been largely into the peace/love/harmony message that they always successfully shared in their songs. My favorite album is Rubber Soul, and my favorite song off the album is “Drive My Car”. Who doesn’t love that song?

Ringo-StarrOn January 20th, Ringo Starr will receive the “Lifetime of Peace and Love Award” from the David Lynch Foundation. The award will be presented as a part of an event taking place at the El Ray Theater in Los Angeles, and will include a tribute concert featuring Joe Walsh, Ben Harper, and Dave Stewart, amongst others.

The event will be raising money for scholarships to teach the Transcendental Meditation technique to at-risk youth in under-funded schools, veterans with PTSD, women who have been victims of domestic violence, and homeless and incarcerated individuals.

Ringo has been a long-time proponent and supporter of Transcendental Meditation technique, and had studied under the tutelage of the founder of the TM program, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the late 1960s. In Ringo’s book, Postcards from the Boyshe writes that he still meditates with the same mantra that Maharishi gave him when he first started, and that the time he spent studying with Maharishi was “one of the best experiences of my life.”

In 2009 Ringo reunited with fellow Beatle, Paul McCartney in a benefit concert for the David Lynch Foundation held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

During the press conference preceding the concert Paul talked about their TM practice:

“It’s a life long gift. You know it is something that you can call on at any time. Now it’s actually come into the main stream. We (Ringo Starr and I) think it’s a great thing.”

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Season of Giving and Receiving

It’s wonderful that through Christmas, we designate this season as the “season of giving”. However, we need to commit to dedicating the course of our lives to the concept of giving, making it a permanent feature in society, and in our individual personal lives. provides a great post of an excerpt from the newly published book Transcendental Meditation: The Essential Teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi which is dedicated to this important aspect of life.

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