The Asheville Center for Transcendental Meditation (“TM”) is offering scholarships for veterans throughout Western North Carolina to enroll in a specialized training course called “Meditation for Stress Reduction and Resilience.” The scholarships are supported by a recent grant from the David Lynch Foundation’s “Operation Warrior Wellness” initiative, which has partnered with veterans’ organizations, Army and Marine bases, VA medical centers, and military colleges across the country to deliver meditation training to veterans, active-duty personnel, and military families in need.
David Lynch is an acclaimed filmmaker and creator of the current Showtime television series Twin Peaks: The Return. His philanthropic foundation, The David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace, was established in 2005 to sponsor training in the Transcendental Meditation technique for at-risk populations such as inner city students and military veterans.
“We have a growing group of local veterans who practice the TM technique,” says Asheville TM teacher Jane Pitt. “Some people may believe that meditation is superfluous or a luxury, but we often work with people for whom reducing stress and anxiety is a matter of life or death. After veterans learn this meditation, we get responses ranging from ‘I can finally sleep at night,’ to ‘It saved my life.’”
Pitt cites scientific research studies showing the TM technique effective for reducing symptoms of PTSD, decreasing anxiety and depression, and improving sleep. She describes TM as an evidence-based, non-religious form of meditation that has been taught steadily in WNC since 1971. The TM technique is generally practiced for 10 to 20 minutes twice a day, sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. “It gives the body profound rest and relaxation, promotes healthy brain functioning, and enlivens the mind’s creative potential.”
The scholarships provide partial or full funding, awarded case-by-case and based on individual need. The TM training for veterans involves a 20-hour course over 16 weeks.
“After a person has learned the technique, they can practice successfully on their own,” says Pitt. “But the program includes a lifetime of free follow-up and support.”
Interested veterans can inquire by calling (828) 254-4350 or by attending a free introductory talk at the Asheville TM Center, offered every Thursday at 6:30 p.m., 165 East Chestnut Street, Asheville, NC 28801.