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November 12th, 2012
12:38 PM ET

Operation: Warrior Wellness helps veterans with post-traumatic stress find peace in meditation

Today, we observe Veterans Day, the day to honor the more than 22 million troops who served in our military. But often, the sacrifice doesn't end when the troops come home. For many, there are injuries, physical and mental, that haunt them as they try to return to civilian life.

This morning on "Starting Point," Soledd talks to publisher Russell Simmons and David Lynch Foundation executive director Bob Roth to talk about Operation: Warrior Wellness. It's a project that brings transcendental meditation to the veterans who are experiencing post-traumatic stress.

"I've been teaching transcendental meditation for 40 years, and I've been teaching it 20, 30 years ago to Vietnam vets and even World War II vets, but it's just been in the past years where the understanding that post-traumatic stress disorder is a real epidemic that has no conventional, traditional solution," Roth says.

"It's profoundly effective for giving deep rest, healing the brain, and reducing stress. So, we got approached by a lot of military people and veterans organizations saying, hey, can you offer TM to the vets," he adds.

"Everyone benefits from meditation," Simmons says. "This idea of letting your mind settle is in every religion, but it's also in every spiritual teaching, but also everyone needs to look inside for reflection in order to work outside."

Simmons adds that "operating from a calm space has got to be the greatest gift anyone can be given to teach people how to look inside and to then give from the inside out. I mean, all your happiness sits inside. Every creative idea you have comes from a moment of presence."

Roth says research shows transcendental meditation can promote a 50% reduction in the symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and also reduce instances of heart disease, which is a by-product of PTSD, anxiety and sleep disorders. Roth emphasizes that it can be used in conjunction with psychological treatment.

For more information on the program, visit

Filed under: Meditation • Veterans
April 10th, 2012
02:59 PM ET

Recapturing the American Spirit – Rep. Tim Ryan on the benefits of 'mindfulness meditation'

Imagine if all the politicians in Washington D.C. turned the lights down, took a deep breath and just sat quietly. That's what Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) advocates and practices every day. It's called mindfulness meditation, and it's based on Buddhist principles. He explains it all in his new book "A Mindful Nation."

This morning on "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" Rep. Ryan explains the benefits of meditation in everyday life and how it can be practiced in education and politics.

Filed under: Meditation