Meditation on War – The Zen path to healing veterans’ trauma

—By Suzanne Lindgren,

Since American soldiers returned from Vietnam, it has been clear that some of the deepest wounds of combat are psychological. Coming home to a land essentially unaffected by war complicates the already disturbing effects of violent battle. Some one in six Iraq veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and, as Joe Piasecki of the LA City Beat reports , some of them are taking a different path to healing: meditation. At a recent retreat at the Zen Center of Los Angeles, Vietnam vet Claude Anshin Thomas taught fellow veterans to confront their trauma by “waking up to how we’ve been affected” and applying full consciousness to the present moment. “What I’m attempting to do,” says Thomas, “is create a safe space where that information will start to become accessible to them.”

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