26 November 2010

Filmmaker Introduces Veterans to Meditation

David Lynch is looking to make the world a little quieter.
The filmmaker behind the movies "Blue Velvet" and "Mulholland Drive" is giving $100,000 to launch Operations Warrior Wellness, an initiative to help 10,000 veterans overcome Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other war-related illnesses through transcendental meditation, which he says creates "professional peacemakers."
drawn by Noli Novak
David Lynch
Backed by the likes of actors Clint Eastwood, directors George Lucas and Martin Scorsese, Mr. Lynch will announce the new program next month at a gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In 2005, Mr. Lynch started the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and Peace and since then has donated half a million dollars to help finance scholarships for 150,000 students who are interested in learning transcendental meditation. The foundation has also funded research at institutions such as the University of Connecticut and the University of Michigan on the health benefits of the meditation technique.
Called "Quiet Time in Schools," students and teachers meditate for 10 minutes at the beginning and end of each day. The funds pay to train educators and parents on how to administer and teach the method.
"Soon grades and attendance go up 20% to 30% and suspensions and expulsions go down," Mr. Lynch says. "Instead of giving the kids drugs like Ritalin that just numb them, we give them a technique to reduce stress and focus better."
Mr. Lynch, who is 64 years old, began meditating about 40 years ago using this method, which was introduced to the West nearly half a century ago by Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The technique is typically practiced twice a day for 20 minutes and used to eliminate stress, promote good health and gain deep relaxation.
Adapting the technique for college campuses, elementary schools, after-school clubs and hospital-wellness programs, Mr. Lynch says he has been able to improve academic performance and creativity in students. It has also been taught to men and women in homeless shelters and in prisons.
Now, Mr. Lynch wants to bring this approach to help the thousands of war veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
"These men and women have a lot of honor for what they have been through and don't want to appear weak or admit suffering," he says, pointing to high suicide rates and incidence of PTSD among veterans.
To that end, he says he wants to work through veteran associations and support groups to bring them this meditation technique.
"Clint Eastwood is about as macho as they get and he's been meditating longer than I have," he says. "We're behind this technique and we think it can help veterans reclaim their lives and save themselves, their families and their friendships."

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03 November 2010

Indigenous Grandmothers for Enlightenment

The Indigenous Grandmothers’ Council spoke to over 400 guests
Native American musicians perform a ceremonial song
Grandmother Aama Bombo from Nepal with Grandmother Agnes Baker Pilgrim, spokesperson for the Council, from Oregon
Grandmother Tsering Dolma Gyaltong from Tibet
(Photos by Julia Steinback)
Indigenous Grandmothers visit Maharishi University of Management (MUM) for historic conference

A group of indigenous women representing The International Council of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers visited the MUM campus during the first week of October. In addition to the seven grandmothers representing the Council, thirty-five other indigenous woman leaders came to share their wisdom and culture during the historic International Women’s Conference on “Restoring Balance: The Indigenous Grandmothers’ Call to the Women of the World.”
The grandmothers came from Tibet, Nepal, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. The International Council of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers formed their organization in 2004 to protect their diverse cultures, land, language, and ceremonies through educating children.
“The Global Mother Divine Organization (GMDO) wants to collaborate with these different indigenous women from around the world,” said Vanessa Vidal, National Director of the GMDO, the women’s teaching wing of the International TM Organization. “We have great mutual respect and we share a lot of mutual goals. We all appreciate the important role women play in transforming life on earth to be more enlightened.”
Several of the elders have previously been to MUM and subsequently learned the Transcendental Meditation technique. Some Native American nations, such as the Lakota on Pine Ridge Reservation, are already collaborating on teaching the TM technique in schools, conducting diabetes research, and utilizing sustainable building techniques. Several of the indigenous leaders have also expressed a strong desire to become teachers of the TM technique.
The conference was co-sponsored by the MUM Women’s Institute, a new organization dedicated to supporting women in unfolding their full potential and making significant contributions to transforming life on personal, social, and global levels. A diverse group of over 400 ladies participated in the event representing students, veterans, and people from different cultures. Attendees arrived from as far as California and Florida.
“This event was transforming for all who attended,” said Cathy Gorini, Dean of Faculty at MUM. “Everyone felt the great potential for a group of dedicated women creating world peace.”
For more information on the Indian Initiatives e-mail indianinitiatives@gmdousa.org or visit www.GMDOusa.org.

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