​Meditation in the Military

Issue #162 – Monday, ​April 22, 2019

​Eight months before he deployed to the Middle East, an enlisted man in the U.S. Navy, named Corey, started using Holosync.

We received a very powerful thank you letter from Corey, crediting our audio technology with helping him handle this situation “like a champ.” (Please see his note to us in “This Really Happened” below.)

As Corey states, Holosync taught him how to control his inner feelings and thoughts.

I was really moved by this story. So when our Mind Power editor, Kyla Merwin, brought my attention to a recent study on the power of mindfulness and meditation in military situations…

...I was “all systems go” on a story for this week’s issue.

I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t had–or doesn’t currently have–someone they love serving in the armed forces somewhere across the world.

I think you’ll find Kyla’s essay very powerful...and perhaps even hopeful.

Cheers,

MaryEllen Tribby

Centerpointe CEO

​P.S. One of the most powerful ways in the world to combat stress, increase focus, achieve your goals and overcome obstacles...

...is Holosync. Learn more in the “Check It Out” section below.

Seriously, this will change your life!


​Meditation: The Newest Military Might

​​by Kyla Merwin, Mind Power Editor
Centerpointe ​Research Institute

​I come from a military family. Boot camp graduation portraits adorned my grandmother’s living room walls. Serious faces on stick-straight postures, framed by the stars and stripes, said to all who entered there:

We mean business.

Grandfather, father, uncles, cousins, and my brother the marine (with his big brown “doe” eyes) all helping defend a nation.

So when a New York Times article on meditation and the military landed in my email inbox a few weeks ago…

...I was fascinated (and excited). 

The New York Times article led me to a research paper, recently published by the University of Miami.

What they discovered by testing mindfulness on an elite unit of special forces was (in a nutshell) great news to many hardcore military leaders: 

​Mindfulness Makes Better Soldiers

​Here’s how mindfulness improves performance:

  • Higher reasoning when making command decisions
  • Better discernment of key information
  • Decreases likelihood of overreacting
  • Aids soldiers in chaotic situations
  • Enables fewer cognitive errors
  • Boosts attentiveness
  • Increases focus
  • Calms the mind
  • Reduces stress

Mindfulness and meditation have also been shown to help soldiers dealing with anxiety, panic attacks and other…

...symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

While it was terrifc to find this “news above the fold” in a legacy news source such as the New York Times, Buddhists and mystics from all over the globe have spent centuries practicing (and touting)…

...the power of mindful meditation.

​It certainly made a believer out of Lt. Gen. Eric Shoomaker, M.D., 42nd Army Surgeon General and former commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Command, who said:

“Mindfulness training may provide the best prospect for success in demanding work.

“As more people are engaged in critical roles and tasks in which attentiveness and working memory play keys to ensuring safety…mindfulness training is emerging as a powerful tool." 

As powerful, as was cited in the New York Times article, as it is ancient.

​The Science of Meditation

​People have been practicing mindfulness through meditation for thousands of years. It is thought of as “the easy way” by mystics and Buddists the world over. But for many, meditation and mindfulness all sounds a little too “woo-woo.”

So, let’s just demystify this phenomenon, shall we? 

Here’s the biology behind meditation:

Stressful situations trigger a Fight or Flight response in your brain. Which is a good thing when the building is on fire. Your limbic system kicks in, your heart rate goes up, your pupils dilate, and you scoop up the kids and the dog (and maybe your laptop)...

...and you exit the building RIGHT NOW. 

Thank you limbic system!

But when something happens to cause you stress–external from you but not life threatening– the limbic system shouldn’t be calling the shots. In fact, when the threat isn’t “clear and present” danger…

...your limbic system will most likely make things worse.

In these other stressful (non life-threatening) situations, you want your prefrontal cortex to be in charge. Your “PFC” is the seat of executive function in your brain. It controls rational, intentional thinking.

This example, taken from the New York Times article, demonstrates how mindfulness allowed a commander of the coalition forces in Iraq, Maj. Gen. Walter Piatt, to…

​…“reduce conflict by better understanding.”

​Maj. Gen. Piatt underscored that point, describing one delicate diplomatic mission in Iraq that involved meeting with a local tribal leader. Before the session, he said, he meditated in front of a palm tree, and found himself extremely focused when the delicate conversation took place shortly thereafter.

“I was not taking notes. I remember every word she was saying. I wasn’t forming a response, just listening,” he said. When the tribal leader finished, he said, “I talked back to her about every single point, had to concede on some. I remember the expression on her face: This is someone we can work with.”

In the end, he said, mindfulness allowed him to “reduce conflict by better understanding.”

“I’m not saying, be soft,” he added. “I’m saying, understand how compassion and empathy can be used for real advantages.”

​Witnessing

​Here at Centerpointe, our founder, Bill Harris, developed what he called Nine Principles of Conscious Living. Among those principles is the strategy of Witnessing.

Witnessing is our word for mindfulness, and it means, specifically:

Watching with complete acceptance and curiosity all of your thoughts feelings and actions.

Here’s how Bill explained it:

The act of stepping aside to watch helps create conscious awareness, because it keeps you from becoming lost in the feelings or behaviors, or your mental analysis of them. 

It makes it much more difficult to continue suffering. 

This watching needs to be done, however, without attachment to the outcome. In other words, you must curiously watch what is happening — not to change anything, but just to notice what is happening. 

The ability to step aside and watch yourself as you feel and act is an acquired skill that takes time and practice to develop, but it will totally change your life

​Acceptance

​Every feeling you have has a “charge.” Whether it’s positive, neutral or negative, you can assign a charge to each and every feeling, and thought, that you have.

Your goal in acceptance is to move the negative emotion into a neutral, or perhaps even positive, state of mind.

Important: This doesn’t mean you have to like it. It doesn’t mean that what is happening doesn’t require attention. It just means that you are accepting the situation for what it is.

Which is good, because you can’t turn back time and un-make it. You can fix it, you can make amends for it, you can change it for the future, or you can just let it go.

Once you stop fighting “what already is,” you can address it constructively.

​Try it For Yourself

​The next time you’re feeling angry or resentful about something that someone else said or did:

  1. Pause for a moment and take a deep breath to calm your breathing and slow down your thoughts
  2. Observe yourself as you would an interesting stranger, with detached curiosity
  3. Notice where the sensation of anger “lives” in your body
  4. Watch the negative feelings dissipate automatically

See how all those negative thoughts on the “hamster wheel” of your brain just melted away?

Now, the anger or resentment might pop back up 10 seconds later. But that’s ok. Just repeat the process over and over.

The more you practice this, the better you will get at it, until it becomes your natural response to negative emotions.

As long as you’re in this heightened state of awareness, you can’t be angry (or hurt or vengeful or sad). 

​THIS is "the easy way," as the Buddhists have been promising for millennia.

​Of course, practicing meditation on a regular basis aids this process exponentially. (If you’re interested, I encourage you to “check out” a powerful meditation tool below, called The Holosync Solution.)

​A Weapon for Peace

​Perhaps most optimistically, if not ironically, meditation/mindfulness can be seen as a “weapon” for…

...peace, compassion and understanding.

In the same way Maj. Gen Piatt said that mindfulness allowed him to “reduce conflict by better understanding,”other military leaders are seeing long term…

...benefits of meditation and mindfulness in the area of global politics.

Commander Tim Boughton, for example, is a decorated officer for service in many combat zones, a PTSD survivor and–since he experienced the benefits of  meditation first hand–a trustee of the Oxford University Mindfulness Center.

Quoting Mr. Boughton from that same New York Times article:

​“The amount of brain power it frees by not being trapped in the past or the future is incredible,” Mr. Boughton said. “The military is seeing the mass benefits of this.”

What he means is that mindfulness is often associated with peacefulness. But, he added, the idea is to…

...be as faithful to compassionate and humane ideals as possible given the realities of the job.

Speaking just for me, I believe heartily and hopefully in the power of mindfulness to bring more peace to the world, the country, and to…

...the rough and rugged territories of my own brain.


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Wise Words


This Really Happened

​To my friends at Centerpointe,

I don't think that I can ever repay you for growth that I've gained from your products. I am forever in your debt. Forever. Seriously. 

I'm in the United States Navy. I bought Holosync because the Navy let me know that I’d be deploying to Bahrain in the Middle East. 

Everyone in the military has imagined the worst at one point. 

But thanks to all of you at Centerpointe, I'm handling this situation unlike I’d ever imagine myself handling it. [I have] the energy I need to change for the better. And thanks to Holosync I'm handling [this] like a champ. 

I know everything is going to be fine. 

You have really taught me how to control my inner feelings and thoughts. I'm not an expert yet but I'm getting better every day. I don't know what I would have done without your help. 

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. You and everyone at Centerpointe. You are all family to me now.

~Corey, US Navy

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