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Celebrities push for transcendental meditation to treat PTSD

A group of celebrities wants to bring transcendental meditation to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

It's the pet cause of filmmaker David Lynch, known best for "Blue Velvet," "The Elephant Man" and the TV show "Twin Peaks." He runs Operation Warrior Wellness and has recruited Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Paul McCartney, Jerry Seinfeld and George Lucas to help him raise money to teach the meditation technique to 10,000 veterans. Lynch promises $500,000 in a matching grant for donations made by Veterans' Day, Nov. 11.

Since the fundraising drive was announced last week, the organization reports it has already received a $200,000 anonymous donation. British comedian Russell Brand, who credits the technique for helping him overcome addiction, started a fundraiser for the organization on crowdrise. He has raised more than $2,800.

Transcendental meditation, often referred to as TM, "allows the mind to simply, naturally and effortlessly transcend thinking and to experience a deep state of restfully alert consciousness," according to the Transcendental Meditation website. (Rumor has it Lucas based the character of Yoda in "Stars Wars" on the creator of TM, Marahishi Mahesh. Check out the similarities in cadence and speaking style.

TM has been shown in a few studies to help reduce symptoms of PTSD in veterans. Still, mantra chanting from a community that capitalizes the word "self," as in "your innermost Self," could be a hard sell to the average soldier or Marine.

In an editorial in the Wall Street Journal this summer, Lynch wrote that with one in five veterans returning from war with PTSD, " clearly there is a need for new, creative approaches" and  TM "is a promising candidate." Operation Warrior Wellness has video testimonials about TM's effectiveness from Eastwood, a WWII veteran and an Iraq War vet.

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