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African PTSD study participants gain peace of mind with Transcendental Meditation
by Global Good News staff writer
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19 February 2014
A study of 42 Congolese refugees in Uganda who were suffering from severe post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) found that those practising Transcendental Meditation became non-symptomatic within one month of learning the technique. PTSD symptoms in the control group, which did not initially learn Transcendental Meditation, were assessed using the same PTSD stress test, and were found to have worsened over the same time period.
The project and research were organized by the new non-profit, African PTSD Relief. The organization aims to support the development of similar projects throughout Africa to alleviate widespread PTSD among the population through Transcendental Meditation, and document the effects through further scientific research.
One researcher involved in the first study, which was published in April 2013, recently reported on testimonials compiled from some of the participants who learned Transcendental Meditation. (A second study was published in February 2014, showing even more rapid reduction of PTSD symptoms in those practising Transcendental Meditation.)
In his translation and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita,* published in 1967, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi goes deeply into the significance of Chapter 2, verse 45, explaining that it refers to the process of transcending in Transcendental Meditation, and the central importance of this experience in human life. Maharishi writes, 'Modern psychological theories investigate the causes in order to influence effects. They grope in darkness to find the cause of darkness in order to remove it. . . . Take the mind to a field of happiness in order to relieve it of suffering.'
Transcendental Meditation does exactly that for people who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, the researcher explained. Transcending alleviates the anxiety and suffering caused by PTSD by taking the mind to its silent source beyond all thought, a mental state Maharishi describes as pure consciousness.
One participant in the Ugandan study said with the practice of Transcendental Meditation she feels her mind and body are finally relaxing. Her sleep is improved, and she has calmed down. These results came after only 10 days of practising Transcendental Meditation.
This is not a placebo effect, the researcher said, and it was just the beginning. Since that time the woman has been able to move into a home, and her family has also learned Transcendental Meditation. One of her daughters commented that now she and her siblings are relaxed, in school, and feel more positivity in their lives. In short they are living a happy life.
Esperance Ndozi was among the group of Congolese refugees traumatized by civil war who learned Transcendental Meditation. Before learning the technique, her PTSD symptoms were extreme. After just one week of practising Transcendental Meditation 20 minutes twice a day, she described herself as changed dramatically, as being more relaxed and less anxious, with fewer PTSD symptoms.
As with other refugees in the study, the calm and peace Esperance experienced grew to last throughout the day.
The researcher concluded that although the dire effects of PTSD are 'contagious', so also is the happiness that comes from practising Transcendental Meditation. The PTSD Relief programme in Africa is very important to the health and well-being of the whole continent.
* Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad-Gita: A New Translation and Commentary, Chapters 1-6. (The English-language edition of Chapters 1-6 is available through Maharishi University of Management Press.)
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