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    Quelling demons in a troubled mind with TM



    Story by David White 

    Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center

    When Booda returned from his first deployment to Iraq, he was a changed man … so different, in fact, his mother wouldn’t call him by his nickname.

    Over the years and many deployments, Booda became hardened, a sharp-edged man. Angry. Negative.

    “Any time you receive hazardous duty pay,” Booda said, you’re in a “high-risk situation.”

    Bronsonn “Booda” Taylor retired from the Army in 2017 as a master sergeant, after 25 years. At the time of retirement, he was a geospatial intelligence analyst at Fort Gordon.

    “I was mentally struggling,” he said, “… severe anxiety, depression, PTSD. I was a jerk [with a bad] attitude. Snappy, for years.

    “[I was] taking tons of medications to treat the symptoms. But they were just a Band-Aid, not getting to the real problem.”

    Due in part to the medications and their lack of success in treating his depression and PTSD, Booda sought the help of Eisenhower Army Medical Center’s Traumatic Brain Injury clinic. There he was introduced to Transcendental Meditation as an adjunctive treatment to evidence-based therapies for PTSD.

    TM came to the United States in 1959 by way of India and is a technique for settling the active mind and promoting a state of relaxed awareness through meditation, according to the text books.

    Through Booda’s eyes, “TM [allows] a spiritual connection to the universe, looking at yourself from outside of yourself, objectively.”

    If that sounds like so much mumbo-jumbo, psychobabble, it did to Booda, too. “I thought it was the dumbest thing I ever heard of in my life,” he said.

    “He was skeptical,” said Vernon Barnes, Ph.D., a certified TM instructor, and emeritus assistant professor of Pediatrics, Nursing & Graduate Studies at the Georgia Prevention Institute of Augusta University. He has been involved with introducing TM to more than 250 soldiers at EAMC over the past 10 years.

    Speaking of Dr. Barnes, who was dressed in a suit and tie when Booda was first introduced to TM, Booda asked himself, “Who is the weirdo? I didn’t want to go to the sessions.”

    Booda wasn’t open to accepting the process.

    Barnes told him: “‘You’ll come around. It’ll work.”

    He did go to the sessions and, indeed, one day, it clicked.

    “Everything unfolded like a book,” Booda said. “Now, now, now, maybe I should try out [TM].”

    He saw himself without the roadblocks of his conscious self getting in the way. Rewired to a different direction, as Booda described it. “Almost scripted.”

    “After [one particular] session, I held back, crying, to talk with Dr. Barnes,” he said.

    Booda had had a moment of enlightenment and “fundamental change to
    my mindset.”

    TM is just one of the many treatments available at EAMC’s TBI clinic. Patients at the TBI clinic who want to learn TM can apply and be referred through their treatment provider there.

    TM sessions start every quarter at TBI, said Barnes. The next one begins April 18.

    Today Booda meditates every day, about 20 minutes, and he has experienced growing success as a professional actor.

    Because of the changes TM practice enabled in his life, he had the opportunity to be part of a meditation documentary, “The Portal.” He also will appear in “Burial in Barstow” with Angie Harmon, on the Lifetime Channel. A summer release is scheduled.

    Other roles have included a part as the assistant district attorney in the ION Channel’s recreation of the kidnapping and murder of actor Kelsey Grammar’s sister.

    The daily practice of TM helps Booda keep the demons that kept him from thriving at bay.

    “[Don’t] entertain the lifestyle that got you into trouble in the first place,” he advises. “Separate yourself from the negative things, be it people in your life who are dragging you back down, drugs — prescribed or from a street ‘pharmacist’ — alcohol …

    “Everyone should seek help,” Booda said. “Maybe not TM, but help [in some form.] It’s been extremely beneficial and it worked for me.”

    “There is an initial group session,” Barnes said. “Then a one-on-one session where private, personal instruction is provided, followed by group sessions. Participants are given a simple, effortless technique that helps settle the mind during meditation.”

    Booda said TM has been a large part of the solution to being positive every day, shunning the negative thoughts that no longer get in his way.
    “Everything is a stepping stone,” he said. “It’s an honor to be part of the TBI clinic at Eisenhower.”

    Much credit for his recovery, said Barnes, goes to Booda’s TBI clinic treatment providers.

    Besides, his mother is back to calling him “Booda.” And that’s always a great feeling.



    Date Taken: 02.25.2022
    Date Posted: 03.07.2022 08:32
    Story ID: 415314
    Location: AUGUSTA, GA, US 
    Hometown: AUGUSTA, GA, US

    Web Views: 50
    Downloads: 0