Suicide Prevention Month: A Military Veteran’s Journey into Transcendental Meditation

Nick-e1378511542690I’m a Veteran and a Founder of Stop Soldier Suicide. When our Chief Marketing Officer asked me to write a blog for Suicide Prevention Month, I groaned. I don’t read blogs. But then it hit me, I could write about my recent experience with meditation—Transcendental Meditation (TM).

An old commander once told me, “The first thing out of your mouth better be the ’so what’ or get out of my office.” (I usually left the office). Not here though. The “so what” of this blog is that TM is now an important part of my life. Thanks to the David Lynch Foundation, I was given a scholarship to learn TM through their military program.

Before I go any further, let me give you some context. Being in the Army, I had the honor of serving next to the most incredible people I’ve ever met through two deployments to Afghanistan with the 173rd ABCT. After leaving the military, I co-founded Stop Soldier Suicide with two college and Army buddies, Brian Kinsella and Craig Gridelli.

Before TM, I’d never meditated. On the contrary, I would look through you if you started talking to me about meditation. However, here we are. The bottom line is that one of my best friends, a guy I served next to in combat, signed up and did TM. This guy is a warrior. Airborne-Ranger and all that. Not only is he an exceptional Soldier, but someone whom I trust explicitly. Someone whom I would NEVER think would do meditation. At least what I “thought” meditation was. My buddy told me TM was important to him—that it helps him in daily life, so I gave it a shot. Also Howard Stern of all people, and someone I listen to on the radio sometimes, also praises TM. Who knew?! (See him talk about it here with Jerry Seinfeld.)

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Active duty officer Brandon Jennings uses TM daily.

What is TM?

Honestly, I’m not the guy to give you the pitch. My first reaction was that I felt calm and I didn’t know what to think.

What I can tell you is that it’s simple. It’s logical. Science has backed it up (go to tm.org).

For me, it’s something that I can do to lower my stress. I think that’s why I enjoy it. I don’t like to react and “hope” things will calm down or get better.

Through TM, I can sit down and say, “I’m going to feel better after doing this….I’m going to be pro-active and get after today by being my best and my best isn’t amped up and guns blazing.”

I do TM twice a day. I’m “supposed” to do it for 20 minutes each sitting but I struggle to hit 20. Practice makes perfect, right? I’ve been doing it for a couple months. I sleep better. I think better. I work more efficiently. All in all, I’m really glad I went to the four-class training session.

The whole point of this is to say that I think you should keep your mind open, try new things. You never know, you may be a better person for it. And if you are a Veteran struggling right now with depression, PTS or even suicidal thoughts, maybe TM is the thing for you. Worth a shot at least. Let us know and we’ll see if we can introduce you to someone in your city. You can also check out Operation Warrior Wellness for more.

(Special thanks to Jeff Litwin and Diana Williams, my TM teachers. Thank you!)

 

One response to “Suicide Prevention Month: A Military Veteran’s Journey into Transcendental Meditation”

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Author: Nick Black
Date: September 2, 2015
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