Retired Naval Officer leads meditation groups for veterans

Rene Protacio
Honolulu, Hawaii

From very humble beginnings in the Philippines, I was accepted into the U.S. Navy at Naval Base Subic Bay and served for a total of 26 years, with 13 years as an officer. Since retiring from the Navy, I have dedicated myself to giving back to the military organization because it was instrumental in making positive changes in my life.

After meeting Master Sha in Hawaii three years ago, I have learned soul wisdom and many practical techniques that I could use to help serve veterans. A couple of years ago, I enlisted in a volunteer program to become a mentor to veterans who were involved in the justice system to help them stay on the right path towards recovery from their personal life issues, mostly petty crimes, alcohol, and drugs. I saw their suffering each time they would appear in court. A few months later, I spoke to the Probation Officer at the Veterans Treatment Court and offered my help to ease their pain through various practices and techniques.

I also joined the Vietnam Veterans of America and volunteered to chair their Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Committee. A psychologist and two nurses also came forward to volunteer their time to serve. Twice a month we hold PTSD group sessions at a local veterans service organization. We have introduced meditation and other practices to help the veterans and their families to cope with the challenges of a family member suffering from PTSD. We also plan on introducing this program to the other chapters of VVA nationwide.

After working at the Veterans Center, many more opportunities have opened to my service. I was invited to meditate with the Veterans Treatment Court, Hawaii Army National Guard, Tripler Fisher House, Hickam Air Force Base Community Center, and more. I am currently working on building a relationship with two key people from U.S. Army Schofield Barracks (an Army base with about 15,000 soldiers) and U.S. Marine Corps Base Kaneohe (about 12,000 marines).

Serving in the military opened the door for me and my family to have a better life. I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve the veterans in this way and share the following success stories.

Veterans Treatment Court

The Veterans Treatment Court takes a holistic approach to help provide the resources and treatment veterans need to get healthy, employed, and return to being law-abiding citizens so they can enjoy the freedoms they fought to protect.

I approached the psychologist who administers the veterans’ program and shared about the transformation I have seen with veterans who meditate with me at other centers. A few weeks later, I began leading an ongoing monthly meditation with the veterans using the Divine Soul Song Love, Peace and Harmony and the ancient mantra Weng Ar Hong.

Most of the people in the program are men who have either drug or alcohol-related issues. Many of them suffer from all sorts of pain. After meditating with the instrumental track of Love, Peace and Harmony for about 15 minutes, the majority of the men experienced a sense of calmness, less mind chatter, and some felt heat in their body. One man who suffers from constant pain (rated 8 on a scale of 10) in his left arm, which had been broken previously, reported that his pain went from 8 down to zero after one session.

Read letter from Atty. James Brown, Veterans Treatment Court Probation Officer.

West Oahu Veterans Center

For all too many veterans, returning from military service means coping with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They can have a very difficult time readjusting to life out of the military. Those suffering from PTSD may constantly feel on edge, emotionally numb and disconnected, or close to panicking or exploding.

For over a year, I have led weekly meditations at West Oahu Veterans Center with four small groups (ranging from 2 – 10 people). With the first group, I guide them through a meditation while playing the instrumental track of the soul song Love, Peace and Harmony.

Many of the vets have shared that during and after the meditation they experience a feeling of peace within, relief from stress and for some a reduction of physical pain. Two veterans, who both suffer with PTSD, experienced amazing results. One evening, a man shared that when he arrived for the group, he had a headache and his arms, legs and shoulders were tight due to a stressful day at work. After our 15-minute meditation, he shared that his arms were hanging loosely at his sides, his shoulders and legs were relaxed, and his migraine headache was completely gone. He couldn’t remember the last time he was pain free, having lived with pain for many years. Another man reported very similar results, and that he felt very calm and peaceful with no chatter in his head.

As the number of groups increased to four, I introduced an active meditation chanting the ancient mantra Weng Ar Hong to boost their energy and vibrate the stagnant cells in their bodies. A majority of them experienced very positive results, feeling rejuvenated and relaxed.

   


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