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Mindful : August 2019
Lieutenant General Piatt (left) checks in with Col. Michael Englis, Cpt. Nathan Held, and 1st Lt. Austin Brown during a Summit Strike exercise involving rocket fires, ground maneuvers, and airspace management. For many service members, the stresses of active duty contribute to post-traumatic stress. By learning mindfulness techniques to “zero the mind” (focus thoughts and emotions on the present), they can make smarter decisions on the field and suffer less from trauma when they return home. Above, Spc. Charlotte Carulli (left) and Pvt. Kelvishia V. Worth take part in mindfulness training with a Resiliency Trainer in the Wellness Center at Fort Drum. stress, he says. One of them is mind- fulness meditation. When Jarman began teaching at VMI in 2015, he worried that cadets would dismiss meditation as a prac- tice unbefitting a warrior. He needn’t have worried. His students see their own role models meditating. “I heard LeBron James does it during games,” one young man says of the basketball star. “It makes me think that I should probably start doing it.” Jarman explains that meditation is not meant to be fun. Focusing on one’s breathing, observing when the mind wanders, and returning attention back to breath requires discipline. It’s like weight-training, he says: “Every time you notice you’re distracted and bring your mind back, you can think of that as a repetition at the gym.” Then it’s time to practice. The cadets sit upright, tuck in their chins, and shift their gazes downward. The room falls silent for five minutes. Afterward, Jarman asks for reactions. “My mind was really good at sneaking getting distracted,” says a cadet. “Not just random thoughts, but thinking about the meditation.” “Our minds are very clever,” Jar- man says. As we try to quiet them, → August 2019 mindful 51